LUAG@Lunch: ICRES Lehigh Student Activism Archive with Kevelis Matthews-Alvarado '21 & Rei Ukon '21

April 29, 2022 12:00PM to 1:00PM
LUAG Main Gallery

Lehigh Student Activism Archive is a foundational part of the Institute on Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (ICRES) at Lehigh University and was created and curated by former student activist and co-founder, Kevelis Matthews-Alvarado.  ICRES is an intellectual and creative laboratory engaging in anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-colonialist research, learning, teaching, and transformative action.

The Institute on Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (ICRES) was developed through the collaborative efforts of student and faculty leaders  on campus following demonstrations ignited by the university’s systematic abuse of a black female professor and her consequential lawsuit. Ultimately, activism is at the core of the foundation, structure, and mission of the Institute on Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. See About page for more information.

LUAG@Lunch is a student-led series featuring informal discussions around a variety of topics. Join us as Lehigh students share their insights and personal perspectives about great works of art in Lehigh’s permanent collection.

KEVELIS Matthews-Alvarado '21 is an Afro-Latinx scholar, activist, artist, and Lehigh alum from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Kevelis holds both a BA (2020) in Africana Studies and Health, Medicine, & Society and a MA (2021) in English from Lehigh University. At Lehigh, Kevelis was the President of the Black Student Union, a gryphon (resident assistant), staff member at the Pride Center, a LUSSI student guide for first-generation students, Martindale scholar, teaching assistant for the hip-hop theater class Act like you Know, and cofounder of the Institute on Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (ICRES). During their time at Lehigh, Kevelis earned a myriad of different awards. Additionally, ever since their first semester at Lehigh, Kevelis has been working as a student-activist and has been involved in organizing various student-led movements which sought to disrupt and address Lehigh’s institutional violence against its marginalized students, faculty, and staff. Following the protest of the institutional mistreatment of a black woman professor, in 2019, Kevelis and other student leaders met with Dr. Alang and Dr. Jimenez-Garcia who would go on to propose and eventually build what would become the Institute on Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at Lehigh University. Ultimately, for Kevelis, their research, scholarship, and art are inextricably connected embodiments of activism.

Kevelis is currently working as a pre-doctoral research associate (2021-2022) at ICRES, continuing their work with the development of the student activism archive and corresponding narratives.


Rei Ukon '21 is a queer and trans Japanese collage artist with a fascination for the hidden, spiritual world. Their works reflect a journey of understanding the relationships that make up our lives and towards inner peace. Specifically, collage has been a healing medium to them. The act of taking an existing material to create from imagination mirrors the experience of holding queerness and transness together in forging identity. Each tear in a piece of paper represents a process of letting go and embracing imperfections while awaiting the unique surprises each tear can offer. Rei's personal experience with art making inspires them to share its transformative nature with others. Through workshops and classes, Rei aims to cultivate safe spaces for creation. Currently, Rei is a Teaching Artist at the Banana Factory, Lehigh University Art Galleries, and the Art Establishment. For more info visit: https://reiukon.wixsite.com/myart.