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Save the dates: Feb. 16-17

38th Annual Black World Conference to examine confluence of Covid-19, movement for racial justice. Featuring Michael Eric Dyson (N.Y. Times, ESPN), Academy Award nominee Terrence Blanchard.

By Cory Phare

February 3, 2021

Black World Conference promo flyer2020 saw a convergence of health and social crises – and their intersection has inspired the theme of the 38th Annual Black World Conference, “The Black Lives Matter Movement in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic.”

Taking place Feb. 16-17 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., the two days of programming span the fields of media, health and social advocacy, all set against the backdrop of Covid-19.

“The legacy of this long-running event is a sacred responsibility to take on. … We’d started planning the conference before the pandemic hit, and when the protests followed, it was apparent we needed to have this conversation,” said Devon Wright, Ph.D., assistant professor of Africana Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver, who is heading up the event.

Keynote speaker Michael Eric Dyson is a New York Times and ESPN contributor, best-selling author and academic who will lead a discussion based on his recent “Long Time Coming: Reckoning With Race in America.”

Additionally, Academy Award-nominated jazz trumpeter Terrence Blanchard (Best Original Score, “BlacKkKlansman”) will close out the conference Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. with a session on activism through music, moderated by Elizabeth McLean Macy, Ph.D., assistant professor of ethnomusicology. This event is part of the Department of Music’s Music, Race & Social Justice Series.

Other topics for the 38th Annual Black World Conference include the impact of the pandemic on the African American population through the lens of systemic racism and “Colorado Black Activism 101,” a panel discussion on local history and how to get involved. Also, Africana Studies and Urban League scholarship recipients will be honored at the conference.

The University’s downtown location and mission-driven history of advocacy, reinforced by the Board of Trustees’ commitment to engaging in anti-racist work, situate it well for leadership in these areas, Wright noted.

“MSU Denver should be seen as the cutting-edge, flagship place on the front lines of issues around diversity, equity and inclusion,” he said. “This is what we do as scholars, and the Black World Conference is where these kinds of conversations happen.”

The 38th Annual Black World Conference runs from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Feb. 16 and 17. Zoom information will be posted on the conference website. No RSVP required.

Topics: Academics, Community, Diversity, Events, Excellence, Inclusion

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