Black Community Initiatives

Our mission with Black Community Initiatives is to seek to uplift Black people and communities at the University of Denver. We are guided by the question, “How can we ensure that Black-identified faculty, staff, and students not only choose DU but also feel a profound sense of ownership and belonging here?” We strive to make the University of Denver a destination for Black community members to thrive by providing access to resources, community engagement, and programming that celebrates Black life, culture, and history. As an initiative, we are dedicated to addressing the specific challenges Black communities face by promoting restoration, justice, and equity. We work to educate the larger university community and create opportunities for Black students, faculty, staff, alumni, and external community members to connect, engage, and build relationships that foster success.

As part of its DEI action plan, DU continues to commit resources to address its historically inconsistent and uneven support of our Black community members. The primary goal through these efforts is to weave an inclusion of Black people and all they bring throughout the University’s culture and structures. Our intention is that members of our Black communities can unapologetically bring their full and authentic selves to the institution and thrive while being vital parts of the growth and excellence of the University of Denver. We endeavor to create space for them to do so both individually and collectively, now and into the future. 

John Robinson-Miller, IV, M.E.d.

Associate Director of Black Community Initiatives, DEI

John Robinson Miller

Husband. Son. Brother. Uncle. Friend. Mentor.

John Robinson-Miller IV (he/him) is the new Associate Director of Black Community Initiatives at the University of Denver. As an inclusion educator, he seeks to develop an affirming environment for others to build their understanding of cultural humility. He also utilizes his ancestral radical Black imagination to advocate for the liberation of minoritized communities within systems of oppression.

John's professional philosophy is centered on the Ubuntu proverb, “I am because you are and, since you are, therefore, I am.” As a person-centered, intersectional practitioner, he is passionate about Black identity, organizational transformation, immersive programming, and integrating the Arts into his practice. His life motto is “Adinkrahene. AYA. Sankofa.” (Lead. Endure. Remember.)

Originally from Charleston, SC, John gains his foundation from the strong Black women throughout his life. John holds a master’s in higher education administration and a bachelor’s in psychology with a concentration in arts entrepreneurship, both from North Carolina State University. Before this role, John brings a wealth of experience from Duke University, North Carolina State University, Elon University, and the University of Colorado Boulder.

Any questions can be directed DU.BCI@du.edu

  • September 9th, 2023, 12:00pm - 3:00pm: Welcome Black Cookout!
    Photo DU community members at the Welcome Black Cookout event

    Pull up on us at the Welcome Black Cookout! Join us on September 9 from 12 PM - 3 PM for food, fun, and music in DFRV 195. We invite students (undergraduate & graduate) students, faculty, staff, and alumni to help us welcome the new Black community members to campus.

  • April 27th, 2023, 4:00pm - 6:00pm: Black Faculty and Staff Mixer
    BCI Mixer

    Join us for our collaborative Black Community Initiatives & Black @ DU Mixer for Black-identifying faculty and staff on April 27, 2023, from 4 - 6 PM at the Vicki Myhren Gallery (our on-campus art gallery). This event is designed to provide an opportunity for Black-identifying faculty and staff to connect with one another, build community, and learn more about what DU has to offer.  

    This mixer is designed to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus by creating a space for Black-identifying faculty and staff to celebrate their accomplishments and empower one another to create positive change within the university. 

    Happy hour refreshments (including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages) and heavy Hors d’oeuvres will be provided. We look forward to seeing you at this exciting event! 

  • April 7th, 2023, 11:30am - 1:00pm: My Beautiful Black Hair
    Black love hair

    April 7th, 2023 

    11:30am - 1:00pm 

    Burwell Center 120 

  • March 30th, 2023, 4:00pm - 6:00pm: Black Faculty and Staff Mixer
    BCI Mixer

    Join us for our collaborative Black Community Initiatives & Black @ DU Mixer for Black-identifying faculty and staff on March 30, 2023, from 4 - 6 PM on the Community Commons fourth floor rooftop. This event is designed to provide an opportunity for Black-identifying faculty and staff to connect with one another, build community, and learn more about what DU has to offer. 

    This mixer is designed to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus by creating a space for Black-identifying faculty and staff to celebrate their accomplishments and empower one another to create positive change within the university. 

    Happy hour refreshments (including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages) and light hors d’oeuvres will be provided. We look forward to seeing you at this exciting event! 

  • March 20th, 2023, 7:30pm: Greenwood: A Century of Resilience
    NCIPA

    Partnering with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Newman Center is proud to host Dr. Alicia Odewale, African Diaspora Archaeologist and Anthropology professor from the University of Tulsa, as part of our National Geographic Live speaker series on March 20th at 7:30pm. Dr. Odewale will be speaking on the attack on Black Wall Street in Tulsa’s historic Greenwood district.  It will be a powerful presentation that focuses on restorative justice and how archaeology can be used to reclaim a narrative.

    A reminder that students/staff/faculty are eligible for $15 tickets to all Newman Center Presents presentations. Please take a look and let me know your thoughts.

    https://newmancenterpresents.com/event/aliciaodewale/?event_date=2023-03-20 

  • February 25th, 2023, 8:00am - 3:00pm: Black Male Initiative Summit

    We are pleased to announce the 13th Annual Black Male Initiative Summit (BMIS) “I am the MASTER of my FATE: Identity, Leadership, Service”, Saturday, February 25, 2023 from 8:00am – 3:30pm in Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science (RSECS) Building at the University of Denver. The core objective of the Summit is to address the values of positive mentoring, identity development, leadership and academic achievement in the lives of our young Black males.

    Through a series of workshops, rising ninth through 12th grade students will be engaged in Black male identity development, guidance and support around academic success at the high school level, while fostering leadership within their families, schools and communities.  Educators, community leaders and partners will leave with an increased awareness and understanding around the necessity of providing our young Black men with mentors, support systems and networks as they matriculate at secondary and post-secondary institutions.  In addition, we aim to have the young men realize their role as strong, positive leaders, role models and mentors.

    Summit Registration: https://udenver.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6fWwB6jT13OMLz0

    Encourage your student to register no later than Friday, February 11, 2023 to confirm their attendance. Please direct any questions to BMIS@du.edu, and learn more about the BMIS at https://studentaffairs.du.edu/first-generation/black-male-initiative-summit-bmis

    ADULT LEARNING TRACK OPPORTUNITY:

    We will also be offering an Adult Learner Track for Adult Educators, School Leaders, Counselors, Community Members, and Leaders, as well as, parents/guardians: https://udenver.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_56aGujRdpUqPVzg . Space is limited!

  • February 21st, 2023, 12:00pm - 1:15pm: Lunch & Learn, Coping and Self Care in the Age of Recorded Police Violence
    Lunch and Learn 2 graphic

    Police enacting violence on the Black community is not a new phenomenon, yet the proliferation of both images and recordings of such incidents have increased with our access to bystander recordings and body camera footage. This opens up questions for us as Black individuals regarding how we engage with these videos, what it looks like to navigate the traumatizing aspects of them, and what self care and coping looks like in the midst of Black solidarity. This event is apart of the 2023 Black History Month Celebration.

    February 21st, 2023 

    12:00 - 1:15 PM 

    Community Commons 1700

    Register here!

  • February 14th, 2023: 11:00am - 1:00pm: Celebrating Black Love, People, and Culture
    Black Love Day Graphic

    Join the BCI Team in the Community Commons as we honor the love, people, and cultures from across the African Diaspora. We will have our "Black Love" Photo Booth, quick activities, and some sweet treats! Come stop by our table to learn and celebrate with us!

    February 14th - Valentine's Day 

    11:00am - 1:00pm 

    Community Commons Table 2

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Black Community Initiatives Video Playlist

Visit the BCI YouTube page to watch all past recorded events! 

Visit the BCI Playlist here

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Black Community Initiatives Newsletter Sign Up

The BCI bi-weekly newsletter is the place to find upcoming programming and events hosted by BCI or with Black community members in mind. You can also learn more about our other community engagement and educational opportunities.

Sign up now!

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DEI Action Plan

Building support specifically for our Black community is IMPACT AREA 4 for the DEI Action Plan

View the DEI Action Plan here