To the Big Yellow House on the corner of Professors Row,
You’ve been a place of comfort for me when I wanted to cry, laugh, commune with others, or bask in the joy that exists in being Black and a Jumbo. Thank you for being a space where Tik Toks are spontaneously made, where Pearl bakes cakes for us all to enjoy, and where “late-night Capen” takes place. Thank you for being home.
My introduction to the Africana Center started in late August 2016 when I did Students Quest for Unity in the African Diaspora (SQUAD) pre-orientation. Those couple of days helped me understand the support that was available to me as a Black student on campus. From sitting in the lounge learning from seniors my first year, to making gingerbread cookies with my advisory group my second year, to sitting with Dom and chatting about life my senior year, these walls have been a source of comfort and joy.
The center introduced me to people who have and continue to hold me up, organizations I am proud to be a part of -shout out to my love the Caribbean Student Organization - and a legacy I am proud to carry. It wasn’t until the 50th anniversary celebration of the Africana Center, in October 2019, that I realized the great importance of being a Capen House resident and Black Jumbo. I loved speaking with the alumni and hearing about their Tufts and post-Tufts experiences, but what stuck with me the most was meeting the founders of the center. To see the people who paved the way was emotional, encouraging, and also humbling. It helped me realize that Black Jumbos throughout the years are people dedicated to connecting and lifting one another up.
It has taken a lot of time to process that the way in which we said goodbye was rushed and so now I reminisce of our time together through Snapchat memories and photos that I’ve scrapbooked. On March 13, 2020, we had our parting words. It was a cloudy day and the air was gloomy. What hurts the most about senior spring ending in this way is that I’m usually not the best with goodbyes. I must say, the sliver of light in all of this is that I know this is simply until next time.
One of the greatest gifts I’ve received within the four walls of Capen House are my lovely housemates. I remember there was a day when Pearl said, “Kella, you’re home! You’ve been gone all day.” That’s when it hit me that I love my housemates. I had literally seen them perhaps an hour before, but like a real family, we always look out for and check in with each other. Housemates, thank you for being such a fun loving group of people that never ceased to amaze me. Though we’d fight about who left their dishes in the sink or clothes in the dryer, it was always love. I appreciate all of you and your desire to be your best and impact others. In short—I miss y’all. I am excited to see you all once again, and hopefully soon! To the Big Yellow House on the Corner of Pro Row, thank you for being a place where I have been able to connect with myself and others. Thank you for being a source of light.