School Meeting Brings Attention to Women’s History Month

Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Students listen to Aisha Fukushima on Wednesday, March 17 during the school meeting. 

Aisha Fukushima was the featured speaker at a March 17 school meeting, which was held virtually for students, faculty, and staff. Fukushima is a performance lecturer, justice strategist, singer/songwriter, and RAPtivist (rap activist). She founded RAPtivism (rap activism), a hip-

hop project spanning 20 countries and four continents, which amplifies universal efforts for freedom and justice.

Fukushima is a multilingual, multiracial African-American Japanese woman who has given lectures and performances everywhere from the United States to France, Morocco, Japan, Germany, England, South Africa, Senegal, India, Denmark, and beyond. Her appearance is part of Mercersburg’s commemoration of Women’s History Month.

"The Women's History Month planning committee is excited to introduce Aisha Fukishima to our community,” said Alexandra Patterson, director of library services. “In our conversations about speakers, it was clear that we wanted someone who offered an engaging take on intersectionality. We also wanted to ensure the program was fun, and Fukishima's raptivism promises to be just that!"

Fukushima’s RAPtivism work has been featured in or on Oprah Magazine, TEDx, KQED Public Television, The Seattle Times, TV 2M Morocco, and The Bangalore Mirror. Her tour highlights include performing for audiences of more than 20,000 in Nepal, speaking with the president of Estonia about the power of music to create change, and sharing stages with the likes of Bernie Sanders, Angela Davis, Emory Douglas of the Black Panthers, KRS-One, Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride, and the Isley Brothers.

As a public speaker, Fukushima combines the art of performance and lecture. In her speeches, she links themes such as hip-hop, global citizenship, empowerment, feminism, and cultural activism with live musical performance. She was the first non-Native person to deliver a keynote address at Montana’s 2012 Schools of Promise Conference for Indigenous youth and has presented at diverse venues that include Stanford University, Yale Law School, Duke University, Osaka University, the National Conference On Race and Ethnicity (NCORE), People of Color in Independent Schools (POCIS) conferences, and several TEDx events, among others.

Aisha Fukushima
Photo by Dimitri Moore

As part of the school’s Women’s History Month programming, Kelly Jensen of Body Positive Yoga offered a yoga class for students during the evening of March 17.

On Thursday, April 1 at 7 p.m., Head of School Katie Titus P ’20, ’23 will give a talk on what it's like being Mercersburg's first female head of school.