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Awardee Spotlight: Rasaan Booker

Rasaan Booker, the 2018 African American Studies Departmental Awardee, speaks about his academic and personal life. Hear about how he defines activism and his involvement.

person holding an award certificate posing for photograph

“It’s also really important to be able to conceptualize how past events, legislation influence the present.”

Rasaan Booker  |  2018 Departmental Award Recipient

What is your major/minor and current standing (Junior, Senior, etc.) and why did you choose your field of study?

Rasaan Booker: My major is History and my minors are African American Studies and Social Justice; I am currently a senior and my target graduation is Fall 2018.  I chose History because I think it’s fascinating and I think others would too if they realized how much information is out there that they did not know. It’s also really important to be able to conceptualize how past events, legislation influence the present.

What are some activities you are involved in outside of your studies? How did you become interested in them?

Booker: Outside of my studies, I’m deeply involved with music and art. I regularly attend open mics and writing workshops at Young Chicago Authors. I write raps, poems, and act. I just finished a remounting of No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, written by Dr. Eve Ewing and Nate Marshall, where I played Haki Madhubuti. My debut EP is currently in the works. I got involved in performance art through productions at church as a kid and really just trying to find my voice.

How would you define activism? Would you consider yourself an activist?

Booker: Activism is organized and active dismantling of oppressive power structures. Activism is a space that I’ve drifted in an out of. Most of my activism has been within a literary sense, co-teaching writing workshop for youth combating voicelessness and helping to cultivate righteousness dissent.