Black Community Initiatives

The University of Denver tremendously values its Black community. As the higher education sector grappled with the ongoing pandemic of racial violence across the United States brought into national spotlight in 2020 with the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and numerous others in 2020, the University continued to forge forward in refining and developing ways to best recognize, care for, and support Black students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community partners. As part of its DEI action plan, DU is committing resources to address its inconsistent history and uneven, ongoing support of our Black community members. The goal through these efforts is to continue weaving an appreciation of Black people and all they bring throughout the University’s culture, with the hope that members of our Black community 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 both individually and collectively, now and into the future.

On this page:

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

  • January 16th, 2023: 2:30pm - 4:00pm: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Commemoration

    The University of Denver's Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion's 2022-2023 theme is: “Justice in Action”. This theme has concrete connection to the work and legacy of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.  Over the course of our time together we have asked speakers and performers to engage their reflections (whether through word or performance) on the lasting legacy of MLK’s directive -- Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

    January 16th, 2:30pm - 4:00pm 

  • January 27th, 2023: 7:30pm: A.I.M by Kyle Abraham

    The NYC based dance ensemble celebrates Black culture, family and community. They will be performing their latest work, “An Untitled Love”, which is set to the music of R&B legend D’Angelo. This creative piece pays homage to the complexities of self love and Black love, while serving as a thumping mixtape. It’s going to be an electric performance.

    Location: Gates Concert Hall

    January 27th, 7:30pm

    Register here!

    * Students, staff and faculty use password DUST for $15 while they last!

  • February 1st, 2023: 7:30pm - 9:30pm: Lamont Wind Ensemble

     February 1

     7:30pm - 9:30pm

     Newman Center for the Performing Arts, Gates Concert Hall

    Tickets: $5 for reserved parterre seats, or FREE general admission
    Complimentary parking

    Streaming link

    On February 1, the Lamont Wind Ensemble and DU's Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion present a concert in celebration of Black History Month and the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The program includes a work by Michael Daugherty called "Rosa Parks Blvd," which celebrates Rosa Parks and features soloists Richard Harris, Greg Harper, and Pete Ellefson. The centerpiece of the concert is Joseph Schwantner's "New Morning for the World Daybreak of Freedom." It features guest conductor Wesley Broadnax and guest narrator Charles Moore.

  • February 7th, 2023: 12:00pm - 1:15pm: Lunch & Learn, Everyday Policing of Black Bodies in Public Space
    Lunch and Learn 1 graphic

    In this lunch and learn, Dr. Byron will begin by framing a brief historical picture of the centrality of racial inequality in U.S. public accommodations during the 1900s (e.g., Chicago Race Riots, Freedom Riders, Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-ins). He will then connect these events to the Civil Rights Era struggle to pass a lesser-discussed section of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title II). Finally, he will end by revealing the societally legitimized ways that racial policing persists in public accommodations and offer theoretical insights about why Black bodies, in particular, remain unfairly subjected to mistreatment in these spaces.  

    February 7, 2023

    12:00 - 1:15 PM

    Community Commons 1700

    Register here!

  • February 9th, 2023, 6:00pm: Women's Basketball Annual Unity Game

    WOMEN'S BASKETBALL VS NORTH DAKOTA


    Event Date: Thursday, February 9, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    Facility: Hamilton Gymnasium

    Purchase Tickets 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

  • February 16th, 2023: 5:00pm: Black Table Talk

    Black Table Talk, or BTT, is an space for folx across the DU community to come together and unpack meaningful conversations essential to the Black experience through a Black perspective. This is open to undergrad, graduate, faculty, staff, and community members.

    February 16th 

    5:00pm 

    Chambers Center 150 

  • 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 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!

bci

Black Community Initiatives Video Playlist

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

Visit the BCI Playlist here

bci

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

DU's Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Affinity Groups & Organizations

  • Staff of Color Association (SOCA)

    Staff of Color Association Officers

    • Co-Chair: Rosalynn.Feagins, Rosalynn.Feagins@du.edu, 303.871.2793
    • Co-Chair: Katia Miller, Katia.Miller@du.edu, 303.871.3474
    • Secretary: Fatima Rezaie, Fatima Rezaie@du.edu, 303.871.7540
    • Treasurer: Josiah Dunn, Josiah.Dunn@du.edu, 303.871.4721
    • Webmaster: Tremayne Fisher, Tremayne.Fisher@du.edu, 303.871.2446
    • Membership & Recruitment: Rufina Hernandez, Rufina.Hernandez@du.edu, 303.871.7726
    • Social Chair: Celinda Miranda-LaBella, Celinda.Miranda-LaBella@du.edu, 303.871.3945
    • Staff Advisory Council Liaison: Vacant
    • Office of Diversity and Inclusion Liaison: Vacant

    Please visit the SOCA webpage for more details 

  • Faculty of Color Association (FOCA)

    The DU Faculty of Color Association (FOCA) is a voluntary empowerment and advocacy group composed of faculty members from under-represented racial and ethnic groups within the University community. Meetings are held monthly on alternating Tuesdays and Wednesdays - send an email to DU-FOCA-subscribe-request@du.edu to join the listserv and receive notifications.

    Co-Chairs: Apryl Alexander and Brain Gonzales

  • Association of Sisters in Higher Education (ASHE)

    Association of Sisters in Higher Education (ASHE) supports, empowers, and mentors Black women at the University of Denver through cultural fellowship, enrichment, and an exchange of ideas. The group is not exclusive to black women; therefore we value and welcome all women faculty and staff at the University of Denver. However, the core focus of group discussions, activities, and initiatives will be issues that are germane to black women.

    Co-Chairs: Yasmaine Ford, Yasmaine.Ford@du.edu and Natley Farris, Natley.Farris@du.edu

  • Black@DU

    The mission of Black@DU is to provide an atmosphere of cultural and social networking among Black staff and faculty at the University of Denver. This organization is dedicated to improving the quality of the Black experience at DU by fostering a campus climate that is inviting, unified, encouraging, and promotes upward mobility. Black@DU exists to enhance communication and champion diversity, inclusion, opportunity and social justice—while challenging racism within the University.

    Co-Chair: Nashwa Bolling (Nashwa.Bolling@du.edu) & Effley Brooks (Effley.Brooks@du.edu)

  • Sistah Network

    Sistah Network

    Sistah Network is committed to helping Black women who are graduate students at the University of Denver contend with the pervasive challenges they face related to graduate student socialization and academic persistence. Examples of community development include two meetings per quarter, quarterly writing workshops, faculty and resource connections, and defense practices.

    Liaison: Anthea Johnson Rooen, Anthea.Johnson@du.edu

  • Black Student Alliance (BSA)

    The University of Denver's Black Student Alliance is an organization dedicated to promoting cultural awareness and solidarity on campus. One of our organization's main focuses is to foster the personal development of our membership, and to encourage them to become active community contributors.

    President: Mathew Solomon

  • Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA)

    The Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) at the University of Denver (DU) was founded on 18 February 2011. It is a student organization by, for, and about graduate and professional students at DU who identify as Black and/or African American. 

    President: Cory Jackson

  • African Students United (ASU)

    The mission of ASU-African Students United is to create a space to celebrate educate, and participate in the understanding of the many rich, diverse cultures of Africa. Through African cultural events, we will introduce multiple features of African food, dance, music, etc. The organization's purpose is to serve African students and allies at the University of Denver to create an inclusive institution. We plan to make an impact on the outside African community through service projects, community outreach, etc. We also encourage college seeking African students to seriously consider making DU their new home. This would help Du create a space where cultural diversity is truly present on campus. African Student United (ASU) ultimately aims to make this a celebrated and appreciated identity on campus.

  • Excelling Leaders Institute (ELI)

    The Excelling Leaders Institute (ELI) seeks to create an open and inclusive campus environment for students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds as they transition to DU. ELI is a four year leadership development and community-building program that focuses upon and accentuates the strengths of all participants.

    Please visit the ELI webpage for more details 

     

  • Black Alumni Affinity Group (BAA)

    Affinity Groups at DU are a great way to stay connected in an area of personal interest. Groups are organized specifically around a special interest or unifying purpose.

    The African American Alumni Association or "A4" exists for the purpose of recognizing and upholding the value of higher education while honoring the history and legacy of African Americans. Our goal is to promote lasting connections among Black alumni, students, staff and faculty. We value a sense of shared community and giving back to the world by affecting the future.

    Membership in A4 is open to DU alumni, staff, faculty and students (past and present) who identify as African American, Black, or as people of African descent, including, but not limited to, people from North America, South America, the Caribbean and Africa.

    President: Theo Chapman

  • Black Law Students Association (BLSA)

    Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA)
    The goal of the Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA) is to provide assistance for incoming students of color and promote an atmosphere that will facilitate learning by all students. We sponsor and cosponsor numerous events featuring speakers covering a wide range of topics including minority participation in law firms, public interest concerns and other relevant legal issues. We also participate in mentoring programs and support various community activities. BLSA provides academic, social and emotional support.

    President: Aron Assefa

    Please visit the BLSA webpage for more details