Muslim Leadership Lab at Dwight Hall at Yale Celebrates Black History Month Programing

The Muslim Leadership Lab at Dwight Hall at Yale has hosted a range of prominent university events this winter that sit at the nexus of Muslim life, community, Black intersectionality and dialogue surrounding Black feminism. The leadership program hosted three events: The Third Annual Lecture Honoring the Life and Work of Betty Shabazz & Malcolm X on the 56th Anniversary of His Assassination, Over a Black Coffee: Talking with Sister Betty & Brother Malcom, and the 2021 Ivy Muslims Conference.

Muslim Leadership Lab’s (MLL) annual lecture series began in 2019 to remember Betty Shabazz and Malcolm X and to engage broader communities on their continued legacies. MLL’s first lecture this semester, led by Dr. Donna Auston, Anthropologist and Professor at Rutgers University, highlighted the contributions of three Black Muslim women leaders: Louise Little, Ella Collins, and Betty Shabazz. 

MLL’s second Black History Month program, Over a Black Coffee: Talking with Sister Betty & Brother Malcolm, featured students from Dartmouth, Stanford, Columbia, and Yale who shared their reflections on remembering, reflecting, and connecting the legacies of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, and what their conversations would be like with the two Muslim figures if they were alive today. 

“We structured the programs to look at justice in a multidisciplinary way,” said Abdul-Rehman Malik, Associate Research Scholar and Lecturer in Islamic Studies and Director of Muslim Leadership Lab at Dwight Hall. “My aspiration is that the Muslim Leadership Lab will model what a conversation on gender-justice looks like.” 

More coverage of Muslim Leadership Lab’s events can be found in the Yale Daily News article, “Annual lecture honors three Black Muslim women leaders,” written by Simisola Fagbemi. 

The first of its kind at an Ivy League school, the Muslim Leadership Lab gives participating cohort students an opportunity to engage with ideas, tools, and practical training that will allow them – as young changemakers and leaders – to more fully engage with other like-minded, diverse emerging leaders to create lasting change for social, political, and economic justice.

The Muslim Leadership Lab seeks to build community-based leadership from within Dwight Hall at Yale, empowering students to build programs and networks of compassion, justice, and resilience. This spring, more than a dozen cohort members will engage in seminars exploring effective community conversations for social justice.

About the Author

Lydia Burleson

Lydia Burleson served as the Communications and Alumni Engagement Associate for Dwight Hall at Yale, Center for Public Service and Social Justice from June 2021-June 2022. A first-generation low-income student from rural Texas, Lydia graduated from Yale cum laude in 2021 with a degree in English and a nonfiction creative writing concentration. During her college years, Lydia increased awareness of marginalized voices with the public writing she did for The Yale Daily News and the Yale Admissions office. Her Dwight Hall experiences included free college advising with student-led member groups REACH and Matriculate. Dwight Hall empowered Lydia to uplift other disadvantaged students and to increase access to education for people who might not have otherwise received these resources. She is currently completing an English PhD at Stanford University with a Knight-Hennessy Fellowship.