The annual chicken and juice celebration
The Black Family Luncheon, also known as The Chicken and Juice Celebration, is an opportunity to connect with Black Faculty, Staff and other students.
February 26, 2023
Shanice Robinson is a first-generation college student who attended SF State in 2010. One of her first realizations about her new school was there were not many people that looked like her, so she struggled making friends and finding her community — until Chicken and Juice.
From her experience, attending Chicken and Juice is the reason she was able to connect with other Black faculty on campus, and why she declared Africana Studies as her major.
“I met students that look like me, talk like me, and it was very welcoming and affirming,” Robinson said. “And I’ve been attending ever since I’ve been here since 2010.”
Chicken and Juice is a Thanksgiving-like event where SF State students and faculty commune together. It was created by Dr. Wade Nobles after the establishment of the College of Ethnic Studies.
As an alumni and current lecturer at SF State, Robinson said she hopes Chicken and Juice provides students with a larger network.
“I hope they walk away knowing that Black faculty and staff are here to support them and that their fellow student clubs and organizations, they’re also here too,” Robinson said. “We have so many affinity spaces, over 250 plus student clubs, organizations, but we’re not very visible to the public.”
Although Chicken and Juice is a popular event in the Department of Africana Studies, Robinson believes it should be further amplified to the public.
“We do what we can as a Black faculty and staff to push it to students, as many as we can. But I think we need university support where it can be on the university website, it can be on Gather Experience and be sent out in a campus memo,” Robinson said. “I think that would be very helpful because there’s a lot of people here but how many people don’t know about this.”
Professor and Department Chair of Africana Studies, Dr. Abul Pitre, said this was his first time attending Chicken and Juice since he began teaching during the pandemic, so this provided an opportunity for him to get to know students and those who work on campus.
“There’s a lot of people that I’ve never met on campus before and we’re kind of seeing each other for the first time, some face-to-face, some people, you know, I’ve spoken to via email, via Zoom,” Pitre said. “But here is more of a community in person where we can just kind of network, meet each other and just relax and be in an environment where we’re not having the strain of academia or work.”
Chicken and Juice even hit home for Pitre.
“It’s almost a festive kind of environment,” Pitre said. “It reminds me of being at home in Louisiana, where we have Mardi Gras and we have the different parades and whatnot, a time for people to just come and enjoy the community of being together.”
The event is a good place for students to network and eat good food, but Pitre says it’s more of a place for unity.
“This is a space to create, most of all I think a unity among the Black people on campus because the power is in unity,” Pitre said. “Because when one of us is sick, we are all sick and so I think this is the significant thing that I see in this kind of coming together as a group.”
Isabella Martinez-Bernal, a fourth year double majoring in communications and race and resistance, and overseer of Greek Life, attended Chicken and Juice for the first time.
“I love getting to know other people through school events and things like that and showing up for [other] students that helped organize it, especially right now during Black History Month,” Martinez-Bernal said.
The event proved to be a way for her to contribute to unity among her peers and support her friends.
“I think community is important, especially during college life, it’s something that I strive for, and finding it here on campus has been really important to me, and I think I’ve successfully found community,” Martinez-Bernal said. “I think it’s important just to highlight it because it helps uplift each other and we have the shared identity of being college students.”
Kaylah Webb Wade, a second year student double majoring in broadcast and electronic communication arts and biology, said the food brought her to the event, but also the opportunity to celebrate Black History Month.
“Honestly, the food brought me, because we’re college students we’re always looking for something, and then on top of that it’s Black History Month, and might as well see new Black faces,” Wade said. “I make it a goal of mine to know every single black face on campus because there’s really not that many of us if you really look at the percentages and the demographic here on this campus.”
Wade said networking is important to her because it can be an avenue to change, especially being Black.
“Networking is important and kinfolk stick together for sure. So like if we foreal did that we could change a lot of different things,” Wade said. “We’re really the blueprint of different things that are in this world.”