By Lauren Wethers (LA ’15, *16)  

Three of the lecturers from Fridays at Newcomb (from left to right): Dr. Ebony Perro, Jacqueline Thanh, and Amy Brittain

Three of the lecturers from Fridays at Newcomb (from left to right): Dr. Ebony Perro, Jacqueline Thanh, and Amy Brittain

After transitioning to an entirely virtual program during the earlier months of the pandemic, Fridays at Newcomb resumed a regular in-person schedule for the 2021-2022 school year. Tulane students, faculty, and staff enjoyed hearing from speakers with expertise on a wide variety of topics, spanning from feminist analyses of horror films to elevating the voices of survivors of sexual violence.

Dr. Ebony Perro, Professor of Practice in the Tulane English department, provided space for audience members to discuss and process their anger at the end of a difficult fall semester. Her talk, entitled “‘Why You Always Gotta Be So Mad?’: Advancing Conversations About Black Girl Rage Through Black Women’s Literature” explored both representations of rage and demonstrated its utility, guiding listeners to understand just how powerful their own righteous anger can be.

The schedule also included community leaders like Jacqueline Thanh, the Executive Director of VAYLA New Orleans. Thanh, whose work focuses on health equity, survivor advocacy, and intersectional direct service, delivered a presentation that gave attendees the tools to begin to understand how to create positive social change within their communities, with a specific focus on supporting immigrants and communities of color.

And as travel slowly resumed, the series hosted experts from outside of New Orleans, including Amy Brittain, a Washington Post reporter. Brittain, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, discussed lessons learned from her podcast “Canary: The Washington Post Investigates.” The podcast, a seven-part series following the decision of two women to come forward with sexual assault allegations against high-ranking figures, created an access point to start a difficult conversation about what it takes to come forward with allegations and what happens after.

Despite interruptions caused by hurricanes and continued pandemic restrictions, the talent of the sixteen different speakers created a series that was educational, moving, and engaging. As the program continues to grow, we are looking forward to inviting more speakers who can open our minds to something new at the end of each week.