The ninth annual Black Solidarity Day Conference theme is “The Black Renaissance: Revive, Reclaim, Rejoice,” which student chair Christina Carr said revolves around students’ originality.
“We're thinking a lot about creativity, innovation, being yourself, confidence,” Carr said. “There's always a theme around anti-racism in the Black Solidarity Conference, so we're keeping that as well.”
According to Carr, students will attend speeches, education sessions led by faculty and entertainment, including a New Orleans line band and a Black history dance concert. Students will also lead roundtable discussions with other students, guiding the conversation.
Keynote Speaker Alex Bohannon ’17 was the founding president of the university’s Black Student Union. He said he catered his speech to the theme and the needs of the attendees.
“I will be discussing what it means to be a advocate, a person committed to making the world a better place, while balancing those efforts with being true to yourself and embracing all the things that come with being a human,” Bohannon said. “The original purpose was just to provide students with an opportunity for all attendees, natural students, with an opportunity to really be lifted and to be validated.”
The conference, hosted by the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education, focuses on anti-racism, specifically for non-Black participants who want to learn more about power, privilege and how to be better allies, according to the event website.
“We're making space for Black students and educating allies, as well,” Carr said. “In thinking about privilege, I think that a conference like this tackles all those different things and does it in a really fun way that's really encouraging for people who may not be taking courses about this.”
Bohannon said conferences like these are important for marginalized identities to feel seen, especially as college students.
“Undergrad is a place where you really become who you will be, and you learn sort of the foundational pieces, not just … from a curricular place, not just in terms of your major or minor or whatever. But in terms of just, you learn the person who you want to be, you learn who you really are, you are challenged in a way that should facilitate growth for you. And conferences like these only aid in that development,” Bohannon said.
The Black Solidarity Day Conference will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Feb. 24 and registration is free for all university students, staff and faculty.