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Conference Explores Racial Justice in the 21st Century

September 23, 2019

In October, St. John Fisher College and Nazareth College will co-host the National Association of African American Studies and Affiliates regional conference. Scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 3 through Saturday, Oct. 5, the three-day conference will explore a wide array of diversity-related topics under the theme, “Creating Racial Justice in the 21st Century.”

Logo for the National Association of African-American Studies and Affiliates

The National Association of African American Studies and Affiliates (NAAAS) brings together scholars and community organizations to discuss a broad range of diversity, equity, and inclusion topics that center the African, African-American, Latinx, Native American/Indigenous Peoples, and Asian/APIA experiences across disciplines.

Faculty and staff from Fisher and Nazareth have joined together to organize and host the conference, led by co-chairs Dr. Arlette Miller Smith, associate professor of African American Studies and English at Fisher, and Dr. Lisa Durant-Janes, associate vice president for academic affairs and professor at Nazareth.

The event begins with a keynote address on Thursday, Oct. 3, by Dr. Keith Jenkins, vice president and associate provost at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Thursday’s sessions, which take place at Nazareth, include exhibitions and vendors, panel discussions, and concurrent individual research presentations.

Fisher will host Friday’s events and workshops, which feature a special set of programming exploring the life and work of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. Those programs include a discussion led by Dr. Timothy Kneeland and a performance by AKWAABA titled, “Family and the Freedom Struggle: Perspectives from Frederick Douglass, Anna Murray Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Sojourner Truth, and Betsy Bailey.” Dr. Carolyn Vacca, Fisher professor and Monroe County historian will moderate a panel conversation that features Deborah Hughes, CEO of the Susan B. Anthony House; David Shakes and Barbara Blaisdell, historical actors and scholars; and muralist Shawn Dunwoody and sculptor Olivia Kim, both of whom have created works that commemorate Douglass. At 6:15 p.m., Dr. Ann Marie Fallon, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, will host a Dean’s Reception in the O’Keefe Ross Gallery in the Skalny Welcome Center.

The conference returns to Nazareth on Saturday for another series of workshops and panel discussions.

Register for the conference online or email for more information.