Daily News

Elms College to Host Seventh Annual Black Experience Summit on Feb. 23

CHICOPEE — Elms College will host its seventh annual Black Experience Summit in celebration of Black History Month on Friday, Feb. 23 from noon to 4 p.m. This in-person event, which will take place in the college’s Veritas Auditorium, is hosted by the Elms College President’s Office and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

For the second consecutive year, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield is co-sponsoring the summit.

“Forging Democracy: Black Womanhood and the Long March for Civil Rights” is the theme for this year’s summit. “We will explore the pivotal and foundational role that Black women have played in forging, defining, defending and preserving the very fabric of U.S. democratic ideals and practices,” said Jennifer Shoaff, chief Diversity officer at Elms College.

The summit’s two keynote speakers — Brittney Cooper and Kellie Carter Jackson — were interviewed in the documentary Stamped from the Beginning, which is currently streaming on Netflix. Excerpts from the documentary will be presented as the speakers share their scholarship and lead thoughtful discussions during the summit.

Cooper is professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling book Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower, and has written columns for several national publications, including the New York Times, TIME, Ebony, and Marie Claire.

Jackson is the Michael and Denise Kellen ’68 associate professor in the Department of Africana Studies and the chair of Africana Studies at Wellesley College. She is the author of the award-winning book Force & Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence, and her essays have been featured in the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Boston Globe.

“The purpose of the Black Experience Summit is to create an atmosphere where meaningful dialogue can transpire, based on evidence and scholarship, about relevant issues affecting the Black community. This year’s theme is particularly pertinent considering the crucial role that Black women have played in our nation’s history, and in civil rights, for generations,” Elms College President Harry Dumay said. “We are privileged to have Brittney Cooper and Kellie Carter Jackson as guest speakers, and I look forward to the engaging and powerful discussion to come.”

During the summit, Lyrical Faith, a Black American educator, activist, and poet, will present a spoken-word presentation.

The free event is open to the public. Click here to register.