Mercer University is honoring Black History Month with a number of in-person and online events in February. The celebrations kick off Feb. 1 with a student event hosted by campus activities board QuadWorks on the Macon campus.
Dr. Ansley Booker, director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives at Mercer, said the plethora of programs and events will provide virtual and face-to-face opportunities for all Mercerians to learn, be engaged and be exposed more to Black history.
“This is a great time to celebrate the achievements of African American/Black persons and their critical role in U.S. history and to just keep in mind why we celebrate these monumental times in U.S. history,” she said. “This is an opportunity to show solidarity, to show support, to show allyship during this time while participating in a plethora of events. We will have some great speakers and some great discourse throughout the month. I think these are going to be great conversation starters.”
Dr. Booker said Black History Month is near and dear to her. Her mother was an educator and made sure her childhood books focused on Black inventors, which became the topic of Dr. Booker’s Ph.D. dissertation, based upon the book Hidden Figures.
Black History Month is an opportunity to reflect on the historic moments and contributions of African Americans and to “be a part of living history” today, she said.
Here are some events planned on Mercer’s campuses and online. Want to add your campus event to this list? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Fill out this form to have your event included on Mercer’s online calendar.
Black History Month Kickoff
When: 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Feb. 1
Where: Connell Student Center lobby
Details: QuadWorks will have free stickers and wristbands available for students, as well as raffle tickets for an air fryer that will be given away at the American Feud event on Feb. 9.
Mercer Social Justice Book Club meeting
When: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 4
Details: Participants will discuss the book Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington. Dr. Laura Simon, assistant professor of sociology at Mercer, will be the guest speaker.
When: 7-8:30 p.m. Feb. 9
Where: Connell Student Center, Conference Room 1
Details: Students can compete for prizes in this “Family Feud”-style trivia game hosted by QuadWorks. There will be exclusive giveaways including beanies to the first 25 attendees, and the winner of the air fryer raffle will be announced. Sign up in advance to compete.
Alumni Bear Talk with Rosalyn Brown
When: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 9
Details: Rosalyn Brown is the chair of the diversity committee for Women in Pensions Network, which recently started a collegiate arm. She will discuss her plans to get more diverse women involved in the industry. The event is presented by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives.
Sickle Cell Disease Virtual Forum
When: 7 p.m. Feb. 11
Where: Virtual, hosted on Microsoft Teams
Details: This event, hosted by the American Red Cross of Georgia, aims to encourage Black students and those connected with historically Black colleges and universities to become lifelong blood donors. The guest speaker will be Dr. James R. Eckman, Emory University emeritus professor of the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology.
Minority Student Success Conference
When: 3-5 p.m. Feb. 12
Where: Presidents Dining Room in the University Center and online
Details: Sponsored by Mercer’s Office of Minority Affairs, this impactful learning experience is designed to motivate, educate and empower minority students at Mercer. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Keith E. Howard, dean of graduate studies at Mercer. The event is open to Mercer faculty, staff, students and alumni. Register online.
Conversations on Race and Racism
When: 5:30-7:30 Feb. 15
Where: Willingham Auditorium and Zoom
Details: The moderator for the event will be Dr. Beverly Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College and a clinical psychologist known for her expertise on race relations and as a thought leader in higher education. The first 100 in-person participants will receive an autographed copy of her book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race. The event is sponsored by Mercer School of Law, Student Affairs, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, QuadWorks and Minority Mentor Program.
When: 10:20-11:20 a.m. Feb. 17
Where: Hawkins Arena
Details: For this annual Mercer tradition, prominent Mercerians are invited back to the University to speak about their time at Mercer and how it shaped their life. The guest speaker for this year’s program will be Dr. Kirk Nooks, president of Gordon State College and a Double Bear.
Race and Identity in Criminal Justice
When: 6 p.m. Feb. 19
Where: Zoom, link will be provided after registration
Details: Hosted by the Black Law Student Association, the event will feature panel discussions with attorneys and judges and be moderated by Dr. Booker. The first panel will focus on social justice, race and what the criminal justice system looks like today. The second panel will discuss criminal justice reform and what steps the justice system needs to take. The registration link will be listed soon on the Mercer Black Law Student Association’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man
When: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Feb. 24
Details: This panel discussion, hosted by the Mercer African American Alumni Network with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives, is based upon the book and YouTube series by Emmanuel Acho. Panelists will be Sam Oni, a 1967 graduate and one of the first Black students to enroll at Mercer, and 2002 Mercer graduate Dr. Christopher Holmes, an educator, author and consultant. Mercer alumnus Ken Blair will serve as the moderator.
Film screening of “Skin” for the Africana Film Series
When: 6:15 p.m. Feb. 24
Where: Stetson Hall, Room 251
Details: This event is sponsored by Mercer’s Africana studies program and hosted by Dr. Chinekwu Obidoa, associate professor of global health and Africana studies. It’s the second event in a film series that explores a variety of contemporary and historical topics across Africa and aims to expose the Mercer community to facts and features about Africa. It’s open to students in all colleges and disciplines, Mercer faculty and staff, film lovers, and anyone interested in learning about Africa and its significance to their identity or seeking a more accurate understanding of the world. The final film screening will be “93 Days” on March 24.
Alumni Bear Talk with Dr. Quentin Stubbs
When: 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25
Details: Dr. Stubbs, a 2001 Mercer graduate, is the Texas regional navigation manager for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and an adjunct professor for the University of Houston with Clear Lake and Houston Community College. The theme of his talk is “Voices in Democracy.” The event is presented by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives.
When: 5-7 p.m. Feb. 26
Where: Cruz Plaza
Details: Students can enjoy free food, giveaways and learn about Black organizations on campus. A limited quantity of T-shirts will be given away.