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.
Meet DU's Black Community Experience Coordinator
Dr. Andriette Jordan-Fields is a Womanist Ethicist and a graduate of the University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology joint PhD program. She earned her PhD in Religion and Theological Studies concentrating in Social Ethics. Her dissertation title is, “Why Does the Caged Bird Sing? A Phenomenological Analysis of the African American Clergywomen and Her Plight in Black Churches: An Ethical Dilemma”. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of ethics, womanist/feminist studies, Black Church, critical race theory, and postcolonial studies with an overall approach to the study of social ethics that engages wide-ranging issues of moral agency, cultural memory, ethical accountability, and social justice.
Dr. Jordan-Fields earned a Bachelors of Science in Political Science from Tuskegee University (Tuskegee, Ala.), a Masters of Public Administration from Northeastern University (Boston, MA), and Masters of Arts in Social Change from Iliff School of Theology (Denver, CO). In addition, she is a Denver 2019 HERS Institute graduate where she received transformational leadership development specifically for women in higher education.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail, April 16th, 1963
Reflecting on Dr. King's words and in response to what inspires her to this work, Dr. Jordan-Fields states, "I believe that we cannot allow the atrocities of injustices and murders of African American youth, women, and men such as Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tamir Rice, Elijah McClain, Nina Pop, Tony McDade and so many more to continue to go unchallenged. The systemic racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and hatred will continue to flourish if we silently standby. I believe it is our responsibility to stand for justice and equality for all because until we are all free from the 'isms' of the world, none of us are free. As Audre Lorde posited 'Our silence will not protect us…' "
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-FOCAfirstname.lastname@example.org to join the listserv and receive notifications.
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.
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.
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
Past and Upcoming Events
January 20th, 2022, 11:30am - 12:30pm: Heritage Months: Securing Justice: Q&A & Call to Action after MLK Jr. Day
Our panel will reflect on Representative Leslie Herod’s MLK Day speech from January 17th and have a Q & A to analyze what we can do as individuals and a community to inspire change. Join us to reflect and discuss a call to action at DU and beyond and to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 20th, 2022
11:30am - 12:30pm
Click here to learn more and register!
January 17th, 2022, 4:00 - 5:30pm: The Security of Justice; MLK Celebration
SAVE THE DATE!
Join us for DU's Inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrating the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America.
We are honored to have Representative Leslie Herod join us as a speaker for this event. Alongside conversation, there will also be a myriad of performances; including DU's Multicultural Choir.
In collaboration with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, this event will promote a community service component that will include a book donation drive. The books will be distributed to unhoused children in the local Denver community.
Sponsored by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission
Date: January 17th
Time: 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Location: Newman Center Main Stage
January 14th, 2022,10:30am: Dance Theatre of Harlem
On Friday January 14th at 10:30, The Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts will be hosting a matinee performance with the world famous Dance Theatre of Harlem; A singular presence in the dance world, the group was founded in 1969, moved to action by the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. Through performances and community engagement, the company carries forward their message of “empowerment through the arts for all.” The 17- member, multi-ethnic company performs forward-thinking repertoire that uses the language of ballet to celebrate African American culture.
Tickets are just $5
Register: Click Here
*(note, several of the questions are only applicable for school groups, please mark n/a)
January 7th - 8th, 2022: Black History Tomorrow
On January 7th and 8th, 2022, DU's Black Community Initiative, in partnership with the Denver Art Museum, will be hosting a day and a half workshop. This will be for visual artists and poets of color between the ages of 15-17 (or 18 but still in high school) here in Denver and will be hosted at the Denver Art Museum's newly renovated Martin Building.
This professional development workshop will be centered around the topic of Afrofuturism. We will use Afrofuturism as a starting point and an opportunity to imagine and depict how the students would like to construct their own futures. After learning from Denver artists, the students will then have the opportunity to create their own art. After attending this workshop, the students will have a stronger understanding of how their contributions will shape the Black History of Tomorrow.
This art will then be curated and displayed at DU's student gallery in the new Community Commons building for the month of February. On February 3rd, we will celebrate the opening of the gallery by inviting the poets to perform their works in a poetry slam at the gallery. Each artist that is invited to participate in the gallery/poetry slam will receive a $100 honorarium for their contributions.
As we begin the long-overdue tradition of celebrating the contributions of Black Americans here at the University of Denver, we want this to be something that is engaged with our local community. This event will be just one of many of our celebrations during the months of January, February, and March and we are working hard
Black History Tomorrow Art and Poetry Workshop
Who: Artists of Color in Denver Ages 15-17 ( or 18 but still in high school)
What: Professional Development Workshop on the topic of Afrofuturism
Where: Denver Art Museum Martin Building
When: January 7th (4pm - 7pm) & 8th (10am - 6pm)
October 21st, 2021, 6:00 - 7:00pm: Expanding the Table for Justice
University of Denver's Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion has teamed up with the Black Student Alliance, Black Graduate Student Association, and ACLU of Colorado (American Civil Liberties Union) for a community conversation to learn about the issues that impact you and your communities. Expanding the Table for Justice is a statewide listening tour organized by ACLU of Colorado to gather feedback about the pressing issues that are occurring throughout the state and the change that Colorado communities hope to see.
When: Thursday, October 21st @ 6-7p.m.
Where: University of Denver - Community Commons #1600
What: Food, drinks, and group conversation!
RSVP: Click here!
October 20th, 2021, 4:00 - 7:00pm: Black Community Mixer
On behalf of DU's Black Community Initiatives and Black@DU, we invite you to the upcoming fall quarter event, the Black Community Mixer!
Come join us for food, drinks and live music! We hope to see you all there!
Date: October 20th
Time: 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Location: CCOM Roof Top
Rsvp: click here!
October 19th, 2021, 4:30 - 5:30pm: Multicultural Choir Info Session
Calling all singers! Join us for the upcoming Multicultural University Choir information session. Together, will we hold a conversation regarding the duties, details and audition process for the group. The chosen choir members will have the opportunity to sing at the MLK event, happening January 17th, 2022.
Date: October 19th
Time: 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Location: Community Commons RM#3700
RSVP: Click here!
Please feel free to reach out to Professor Roger Holland and Dr. Andriette Jordan- Fields for additional information:
Fall Quarter, 2021: Emotional Emancipation Circles
EEC groups will be held again in Fall, 2021
June 18th - 20th, 2021: Denver Juneteenth Music Festival
- DATE: June 18, 2021 to Jun 20, 2021
- SCHEDULE: June 18, broadcast and kickoff BBQ; June 19 and 20 street festival; see online for details
- COST: Free entry, vendor prices vary
Hang out in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood and celebrate Juneteenth, marking the end of slavery and African American independence in the U.S. Enjoy live music, dance, food, vendors, and an award ceremony highlighting individuals who have made a positive impact in the community. The festival will have a broadcast element online and socially-distanced in-person events.
June 17th, 2021, 5:00pm: Juneteenth Day of Reflection, The Water Connects
Juneteenth: Day of Reflection event, The Water Connects, on Thursday, June 17th, at 5pm at the Community Commons Patio and Grand Forum.
This event is in partnership with Vicki Myhren Gallery, Black Graduate Student Association, Black Community Advisory Board, and Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
The Water that Connects is an event celebrating the end of slavery in America and acknowledging our ancestors' hardships. Thank you for joining us.
Nathalie Dieujuste, a PhD student in the Psychology Program at DU, is being featured in the American Psychological Association's Monitor monthly Magazine!
Please view the APA article for additional information.