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Gannon University Presents its Spring 2021 CHESS Speaker Series

Published: 02/23/2021

Gannon University presents "Racial Justice: Be the Change."

Gannon University presents "Racial Justice: Be the Change."


Gannon University’s College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences is presenting its Spring 2021 CHESS Speaker Series, which continues the conversation around racial injustices and offers insight into bringing meaningful change. 

The series is a continuation of the Fall 2020 CHESS Speaker Series and is titled Racial Justice: Be the Change. This series was developed in response to increasing attention on widespread protests and advocacy. During this event series, national and local speakers offer valuable insights and engage Gannon and surrounding communities in dialogue and advocacy around issues of racial justice. This year-long examination of the issues and their possible solutions can inspire many to be the positive change needed in the world today.

The first event is this series, Where Do We Go from Here? Howard Thurman, MLK and the Beloved Community Today, will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23. C. Anthony Hunt, prominent interpreter of both Howard Thurman and Martin Luther King Jr., and author, pastor and theologian, will present the promise of Dr. King’s “Beloved Community” in light of the perils of COVID-19 and structural racism. Panelists of Erie respondents will be moderated by Rev. Charles Mock, M.Div., pastor of Community Missionary Baptist Church and former president of Inter-Church Ministries of Erie County, a sponsoring partner in this presentation.

Register in advance for this webinar at: https://bit.ly/3u5a7GW

The full schedule of events is listed below. Register in advance for events that are free and open to the public at gannon.edu/speakerseries

> Thursday, Feb. 25 | 7 p.m.
> Ain’t I a Woman!
Multi-talented actress Shinnerrie Jackson, a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, heads this one-woman theatrical performance where she plays historical figures Fanny Lou Hammer, Clementine Hunter, Sojourner Truth and Zora Neal Hurston. Jackson has headlined this show in performances all across the country.


> Tuesday, March 2 | 7 p.m.

> A Conversation with Samantha Fuentes: Uplifting the Voices of the Silenced Samantha Fuentes will speak on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy that took place on Feb. 14, 2018 when a gunman wielding an AR-15 entered the school and fired on students, faculty and staff. Seventeen people lost their lives, and many others were wounded. Fuentes was among the injured in the Parkland tragedy. While fortunate to be alive, she is still battling the physical and mental ramifications of that day. Despite these tragic events, Fuentes is committed to delivering a poignant message in today’s conversation: to make sure that no child or adult is devastated by senseless and preventable gun violence ever again. This event is sponsored by Aetna and Crime Victim Center.

> Wednesday, March 10 | 7 p.m.
> Madam Vice President: How the Election of Kamala Harris Changes – and Doesn’t Change – the State of Race in America, and Why the Push for Diversity and Representation Across all Levels is Still Crucially
Daniella Gibbs Léger, executive vice president for Communications and Strategy at American Progress, will analyze the implications of the election of Vice President Kamala Harris. Léger has written for Essence, thegriot.com, and Huffington Post and has served as a special assistant to the president and director of message events in the Obama administration. This event is sponsored by the Gannon Honors program and School of Public Service and Global Affairs. 


> Wednesday, March 24 | 7 p.m.

> Mobilizing for Health Equity
This event, co-sponsored by the Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences, features emergency physician and founder of Advancing Health Equity Uché Blackstock, M.D. Blackstock is committed to advancing equity in health care and addressing racial health inequities. Her work has been featured on the national scale in publications and in the news media.

> Friday, April 16 | 7:30 p.m.
> 44th Gannon Writing Awards Program: Featuring Distinguished Poet Sherwin Bitsui
Sherwin Bitsui is the author of three books of poetry and the winner of the 2010 PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Writers Award. He has been published in Narrative, Black Renaissance Noir, American Poet, The Iowa Review, and LIT, among others. “...The only way to read Bitsui is to trust his poetic momentum and embrace his brilliant work.” – Booklist.