CUNY Students, Alumni, Faculty, and Staff Invited to 2023 Black Lives Matter Summit at LaGuardia Community College

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (April 12, 2023) — Students, alumni, faculty, and staff from throughout the City University of New York (CUNY) are invited to the 8th Annual Black Lives Matter Summit at LaGuardia Community College/CUNY. This year’s theme, “Uplifting Black Youth Through Community Engagement,” features students, activists, educators, artists, entertainers, actors, legal experts, and psychologists from LaGuardia, CUNY, and beyond. Events begin on Friday, April 21 and will conclude on Thursday, April 27 with a call to action for attendees.

The Black Lives Matter Summit was organized by a committee of faculty and staff co-chaired by Kyle Hollar-Gregory, Esq., assistant professor of Criminal Justice, and Rachel Romain, Student Life Manager. Romain oversees two peer mentoring programs at LaGuardia, the Black Male Empowerment Cooperative (BMEC)—part of the CUNY Black Male Initiative, and CREAR Futuros (College Readiness, Achievement and Retention)—an initiative of the Hispanic Federation and CUNY.

“We would like people who attend the Black Lives Matter Summit to come away with a greater understanding about the values that may embody a diverse community,” said Professor Hollar-Gregory. “We hope that students learn that understanding culture and black history is necessary for community development, and for combatting the racism, discrimination, and poverty that plagues black communities.”

On Friday, April 21, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. in E-500 (no RSVP necessary), a pre- BLM Summit event will feature Tanya Katerí Hernández, the Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law, discussing her new book, Racial Innocence: Unmasking Latino Anti-Black Bias and the Struggle for Equality. LaGuardia’s Casa de las Américas is hosting the discussion.

A keynote address will be given by James L. Motley, youth and development speaker, at the official BLM Summit Kickoff on Monday, April 24, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. in the Little Theatre. Wendy Nicholson, executive director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for LaGuardia, will serve as moderator. Additional remarks will be given by Dr. Jonathan Quash, University Executive Director for the CUNY Black Male Initiative, LaGuardia Provost Dr. Billie Gastic Rosado, and Dr. Fay Butler, interim associate dean for student success at LaGuardia.

On Tuesday, April 25, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. in the Little Theatre, filmmaker Cheray O’Neal will present “Weep Not,” her short film that deals with topics of child abuse. Content of the film may be emotionally challenging. The viewing will be followed by a panel discussion with Ms. O’Neal and psychotherapist Earl O’Brien, MHC-LP, moderated by Professor Hollar-Gregory. Then from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. in MB-10 (limited space; first-serve basis), Ms. O’Neal will lead a workshop for attendees to examine issues in the film through creative writing exercises.

On Wednesday, April 26, 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., a webinar (Zoom) will examine “The Different Faces of Blackness,” discussing the common, yet disparate heritages of the African diaspora and their descendants from West and Central Africa who were enslaved via the Atlantic slave trade. Speakers will include Dr. Ryan Mann-Hamilton, co-director of Casa de las Américas and associate professor of Anthropology, Latin American and Caribbean Studies at LaGuardia; Dr. Maria Delongoria, Interim Associate Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs at Queens College; and Dr. Judith Marie Anderson, associate professor of Ethnic and Race Studies at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). Dr. Sultan Jenkins, professor of Natural Sciences at LaGuardia, will moderate.

On Thursday, April 27, a discussion on “Violence Facing the Black Community” will explore the effects of targeted violence specifically towards young men and women of color. The experiences of queer and trans youth of color, who disproportionately experience violence, will be highlighted. Panelists will include Dr. Maurice Vann, assistant professor of Social Welfare at the CUNY Graduate Center; Tiffany McFadden, adjunct professor at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College; and Dr. Kirk “Jae” James, clinical assistant professor and director of the DSW program at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work. André Ford, High School Equivalency Program Specialist for the CUNY Fatherhood Academy at LaGuardia Community College, will moderate.

RSVPs are requested for the BLM Summit events, with the exception of the pre-BLM summit event on April 21. In-person events will be held on the LaGuardia Community College campus, located at 31-10 Thomson Ave. in Long Island City, Queens ( click here for Maps & Directions). Some events will be held via Zoom. ASL interpreters will be present at all summit events.

The summit is co-sponsored by LAGCC Student Affairs, LAGCC’s Casa de las Américas, CUNY’s Black Male Initiative, and the Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center.

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LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), a Hispanic-Serving Institution, located in Long Island City, Queens offers more than 50 degrees and certificates, and more than 65 continuing education programs to educate New Yorkers seeking new skills and careers. As an institution of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his advocacy of underserved populations. Since 1971, LaGuardia’s academic programs and support services have advanced the socioeconomic mobility of students while providing them with access to a high quality, affordable college education.


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