The Center for Inclusion is now up and running in Founders Gallery. Sarah Napoli has stepped in to develop what will be “a center that will o er regular programming that promotes social justice, intercultural dialogue and active allyship.” According to Napoli, “the center will serve as a resource center for students to dialogue on hot button issues and have access to resources.”
Sarah Napoli grew up in the South Side of Chicago, as well Northwest Indiana; she grew up in a low-income household. This gave her the will to push through all the gang violence and become a first generation college student. Napoli stated how she felt like a “lost puppy” when entering college due to her parents not knowing and not being able to financially support the idea of college. While she was getting her bachelor’s degree in theater from Butler University in Indiana she discoveredcher passion for cultural anthropology.
Napoli began her journeyvin cultural anthropologyvby studying how to use
the arts to talk about social issues. It wasn’t until after college that she travelled and did international work. In early 2000, Napoli began her Masters in Social Justice at Vermont School of International Training. Napoli was a Social Justice educator in the mid 2000’s and has done several works in the Social Justice Program at the University of York, England.
When the position was opening for the Center for Inclusion, Napoli was living in England. She knew she wanted to come back, Napoli stated, “Then the election happened in the fall of last year and I had already seen what was happening to the country and that gave me the desire to come back to the States.” Napoli had an idea that she wanted to move to New York and work in the city with different communities. Manhattanville College intrigued her because she liked the idea of starting a department from scratch and making it her own. Napoli had heard that this idea for the Center was proposed from a student on campus and all the work she had done to get this center up; that inspirited her and now she is the director of the Center for Inclusion.
Napoli has discovered a way of bringing two of her favorite things in the world together, social justice and hip hop. She believes that the Arts has a way of speaking about social injustice without violence and for a person that comes from a community of gang violence and white supremacy activity, violence is not what she advocates for. She wants the Center for Inclusion to not be solely on race and culture but have an emphasis on inclusion. Inclusion being race, culture, sexuality, and religion. Napoli states how she recognizes how she’s done work focusing on just culture but that the injustices go beyond culture. She has felt a warm welcome from staff from the different departments offering their full support to her and students have come by to speak to her about how they can get involved with the center.
On Sept. 20th, 2017, The Center for Inclusion will have their kick-o at the Reid Castle with guest hip hop artist, Jay Smooth. Smooth is a cultural commentator, famous for Ill Doctrine web video series. He is also the founder of New York City’s hip hop radio program, Jay Smooth has been part of many programs that Napoli has held, even in England. The kick-o will follow with a performance by Latin Fusion, the Latino and Afro- Caribbean dance team on campus and end with a Q and A open to students.