‘Black-ish’ and ‘Grown-ish’ star Yara Shahidi is coming to UConn


Yara Shahidi attends the 25th annual SAG Awards – Silver Carpet Roll Out at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

SUBOG is bringing actress, activist, model and college student Yara Shahidi to UConn during Winter Weekend to talk to students in correlation with the upcoming Metanoia: “Youth For Change.”

During Shahidi’s last few years in high school, she became an incredibly involved in activist, especially regarding voter registration. Her initiative Eighteen x 18 was founded in response to Donald Trump’s election, with the goal of informing and registering teens to vote. Its #WeVoteNext Summit this past September brought together teenage delegates from every state to share their stories and explain why voting and making their voices heard is so important. These stories included a boy who wanted to promote gun control because of gun violence at his school and a girl whose family had moved to the U.S. so their mother could vote and have a say in her life.

“We vote for not only ourselves, but for ‘all sons and daughters’ and every layer and intersection of identity,” Shahidi said on her intiative’s website. “We vote for each other.”

Members of SUBOG’s Concert Board attended ComplexCon in November to gather more information about this year’s UCONNIC music festival.

“This allowed SUBOG to network with a wide variety of people in different industries and advocating on UCONN’s behalf,” Arnell Lee, eighth-semester communications and Chinese major and vice chair of event logistics on the SUBOG Concert Board, said in an email. “Throughout the convention, SUBOG members Stacy Filosa and Arnell Lee had the opportunity to have a conversation with Shahidi where they exchanged contact information.”

Lee said SUBOG heard Shahidi speak about her opinions on women’s empowerment, education and diverse representation at ComplexCon. After hearing these, SUBOG knew students would benefit immensely from partaking in this sort of conversation. According to Jacob Stockman, fourth-semester marketing major and outreach chair on the SUBOG Concert Board, SUBOG is the first programming board to bring Shahidi to speak on a college campus.

According to Lee, Shahidi will be led in conversation by Milcah Sajous, an eighth-semester human development and family studies major and member of SUBOG. Sajous will ask Shahidi questions regarding diversity representation, education, social justice, women’s empowerment and her acting career. SUBOG hopes students will be inspired by Shahidi’s passion and accomplishments, especially considering she’s only 18 years old.

“Yara is a student herself, who is our age, and she has accomplished so much,” Stockman said in an email. “She is someone students can relate to, and connect with on a more personal level. Hearing her speak about how to enact change will help students see that impacting the world for the better is not too far out of anyone’s reach.”

Tickets are free for UConn students and available for pickup at the box office at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 4. Shahidi will be speaking in Jorgensen Theatre Feb. 9, at 6 p.m.

Rebecca Maher is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rebecca.maher@uconn.edu.

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