BGSU Black Issues Conference to focus on future

BOWLING GREEN, O.—African-American successes and challenges will be highlighted at Bowling Green State University’s 12th annual Black Issues Conference (BIC) Saturday, Feb. 12, in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. A goal of the event is to help students overcome racial, sexism, socio-economic and other forms of oppression.

The conference theme, “The Content of Our Character: Overcoming Oppression and Moving Forward,” was selected by the planning committee, which consists of 10 undergraduate students and a group of graduate students. Conference panelists, including BGSU faculty, administrators and alumni as well as visiting speakers, will also be incorporating a subtheme, “Learning from the Past, Living in the Present, Leading in the Future,” to expand on the message.

“[The panelists will share] lessons learned in their academic and professional careers, providing anecdotes on how our students may better prepare themselves to meet the challenges of today and the future,” said conference organizer Chad Coates, a graduate assistant in the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Members of the BGSU community will be presenting a variety of workshop sessions during the conference. Participants include BGSU Trustee Col. John E. Moore Jr., (USAF, Ret.); Dr. Dafina Stewart, an associate professor in the Department of Higher Education and Student Affairs; Dr. Shannon Cochran, an instructor in the Department of Ethnic Studies and Africana Studies; Ashley Baker, BGSU director of Student Athletic Services; J. David Reeves from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and national president of Blacks in Government, and attorney Walter Madison.

Guest speakers will be holding concurrent sessions covering a range of topics such as “Identity Crisis: I’m Black,” “24 Reasons Why African-Americans Suffer,” and “African-American Women Entrepreneurs” in various rooms throughout the union.

The luncheon keynote speaker will be Rev. Jamie Washington, president and founder of the Washington Consulting Group. He will speak on “One More River to Cross: Intersections of Race, Religion and Sexual Orientation.” Washington is also the president and founding faculty member of the Social Justice Training Institute and has served as an educator, administrator and consultant in higher education for over 26 years.

“Dr. Washington will offer his thoughts and wisdom as related to preparing leaders for a more socially just future,” Coates said.

The conference is open to all members of the BGSU community. The public is also free to attend, but registration is required. An optional lunch in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom in the Union can be reserved and purchased with a meal ticket, $5 for BGSU students and $10 for administrators, faculty, staff and off-campus guests.  To reserve a meal ticket, contact Coates at chadc@bgsu.edu or at 419-372-9645.

Registration for the conference will begin at 9 a.m., followed by concurrent sessions in the morning and afternoon, ending with a panel discussion from 3-4:15 p.m. in the Union Theater.

“Overcoming oppression and moving forward will require intentional ‘Learning from the Past, Living in the Present, and Leading in the Future,’” Coates said. “Leadership for the next round will require a level of work that will move us beyond a color blind society to engaging what we really see across all differences.”

The conference is a diversity initiative sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs in partnership with the Black Student Union. For more information, contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at 419-372-2642.

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(Posted February 08, 2011 )