Feb 8, 2008 – Black Awareness Month 2008 will be celebrated at the University of Utah February 10 through 29 with the theme: The Struggle for Human Rights: The Black Experience in the U.S. and the Diaspora. The celebration includes an array of panels and conference activities, as well as performing and visual art highlighting the celebration theme.
Pastor France A. Davis of the Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City will offer the keynote address. Davis is a prominent religious and community leader, as well as an activist for human rights. Forrest Crawford, Ph.D., professor of education, Weber State University will also address the celebration attendees and will speak on “The Power of Unsung Heroes.” Davis and Crawford were instrumental in the push to make the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. an official holiday in Utah.
“While the national conversation is about transcending or not seeing race, Black Awareness Month re-interjects that racial identification is still important to many people. The significance of Black Awareness Month lies in its ability to remind us of the importance of issues pertinent to African Americans in North America and particularly Utah,” states Ed Buendia, director of the Ethnic Studies Program at the University of Utah. Karen Johnson, Ph.D., assistant professor of education, and chair of Black Awareness Month 2008 activities adds, “It is crucial to recognize the concerns and struggles of the continental Africans, as well as African Americans in this country and this state. It is important to recognize that African Americans, continental Africans, and Blacks in the diaspora struggles are intertwined.”
Black Awareness Month 2008 programming includes:
(All events are located at the University of Utah except as noted with *)
“The Wisdom of Our Years: Stories of African American Utahns, presented by the Utah Chapter of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society (Calvary Baptist Church, 1090 S. State St, SLC, UT, 3:00 pm*)
“The Struggle for Human Rights: The Black Experience in the U.S. and the Diaspora,” Pastor France A. Davis (Carlson Hall, Durham Room, Noon)
“The Power of the Unsung Heroes,” Forrest Crawford, Ph.D., professor of education, Weber State University (Olpin Union, Saltair Room, Noon)
Panel Discussion: “African American Students and Education, A Human Rights Issue,” (Olpin Union, Saltair Room, Noon)
Panel Discussion: “African Refugees and Human Rights,” (Carlson Hall, Durham Room, Noon)
Panel Discussion: “Jena Six, A Human Rights Issue,” (Olpin Union, East Ballroom, Noon)
“Hats as an Expression of Worship and Regalia: African American Women and the Wearing of Church Hats.” Karen A. Johnson, Ph.D., assistant professor of education, U of U, Crowns Exhibit Lecture Series (Utah Cultural Center, 1355 West 3100 South, West Valley City, 1:00 p.m.*)
“Harlem Gospel Choir,” Presented by Kingsbury Hall, 7:30 p.m. (801) 581-7100, http://www.kingtix.com/
“Black Butterflies: Empowering Black Girls to Live Their Legacy.” Lynette Danley, assistant professor, U of U, (801) 581-5888 (Olpin Union, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.)
Black Awareness Month 2008 is underwritten by the University of Utah’s Ethnic Studies Program, A.K.A. Sorority, Upsilon Beta Omega Sororities, The Black Butterflies Program, The Utah State Office of Black Affairs, and American Express. The program features local scholars, educators, and activists discussing a range of issues spanning from the Jena Six case to the status of African groups who have resettled as refugees in Utah. The University of Utah’s Black Butterflies Program will also offer a special one day conference for African American and African girls, (8th-12th grade), that emphasizes building their inner strength, self efficacy, and empowerment.
Black Awareness Month activities were planned in collaboration with the Kingsbury Hall presentation of the Harlem Gospel Choir on February 22, and the organizers of the Salt Lake Community College Crowns Exhibit Lecture Series held at the Utah Cultural Center.
For more information about the University of Utah Black Awareness Month 2008 activities please call Susan Brass, University of Utah Ethnic Studies Program, 801-581-5206 or visit http://www.diversity.utah.edu/.