Honoring Black History Month
Dear DU Community,
In our continuing effort to recognize and honor the diverse community at the University of Denver, this month we celebrate Black History Month. Over the past year, the United States has continued to grapple with its racial reckoning. At the University of Denver, we commit and affirm the uncomplicated refrain “Black Lives Matter” even as others have questioned and rejected it. Anti-Black racism is real. As an institution dedicated to serving the public good, we must recognize that our pathway to excellence in science, arts, business, government, and human services has depended, and will continue to depend, on the contributions of our Black and African American peers.
The genesis of Black presence and participation in U.S. life as we know it can be traced to the enslavement and genocide of African peoples. Despite this painful history, Black and African American peoples have made the U.S. what it is through their perseverance, resilience, talents, character, and wisdom. The excellence of Black artists and athletes, scientists and social thinkers, visionaries, and revolutionaries are an integral part of the U.S., and indeed the global, experience. We have all marveled at the soul-stirring words of Amanda Gorman and the amazing power of Serena Williams and Hank Aaron. Our lives are made better by the scientific contributions of Katherine Johnson, George Washington Carver, and Shirley Ann Jackson. The success of the U.S. experiment in democracy is sustained by the contributions of Justice Thurgood Marshall, voting rights activist Stacey Abrams and U.S. Representative John Lewis. As we contemplate our collective history, we are reminded that Black history is U.S. history and human history. In acknowledging this reality, we understand that all futures are inextricably connected.
Black History Month is a dedicated time to recognize the contributions of Black peoples to the world. But it is also a time to reflect on the historical and contemporary injustices perpetrated against an entire race and imagine a world that should be different. We are just months removed from nationwide protests demanding justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. We are still coming to terms with the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on the lives of Black people due to structural discrimination. Black and African American communities continue to struggle in the grips of unjust criminal justice and education systems that continue to diminish the lives and opportunities of their people. These are systems that require re-imagining and re-building and we all share in that work.
Repairing historical harm begins by recognizing it. It was in 1915, almost half a century after the abolition of slavery, that historians Carter G. Woodson and Jesse Moorland celebrated what was then termed “Negro History Week.” In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, asking for the public to “seize an opportunity to honor the often-neglected achievements” of Black people. At the University of Denver, we challenge you to do precisely that.
This month we hope you will spend time learning more about the Black experience by attending and participating in the various events we are organizing to honor and celebrate Black History month, including the Diversity Summit programming. As a university dedicated to the public good, it is incumbent on all of us to listen with empathy, learn with purpose and create with inclusion at the center of our thinking.
Jeremy Haefner, chancellor
Mary Clark, provost and executive vice chancellor
Todd Adams, vice chancellor of student affairs
Ann Ayers, dean, Colorado Women's College
Leslie Brunelli, senior vice chancellor for business and financial affairs
Paul Chan, vice chancellor for legal affairs and general counsel
Vivek Choudhury, dean, Daniels College of Business
Karlton Creech, vice chancellor for athletics, recreation and Ritchie Center operations
Andriette Jordan-Fields, Black community experience coordinator
Andrei Kutateladze, dean, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Jerron Lowe, interim vice chancellor for Human Resources and Inclusive Community
Michael Levine-Clark, dean, University Libraries
Fritz Mayer, dean, Josef Korbel School of International Studies
Amanda McBride, dean, Graduate School of Social Work
Michael McGuire, dean, University College
Danny McIntosh, dean, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Renea Morris, vice chancellor for marketing and communications
Nancy Nicely, senior vice chancellor and chief of staff
Stephanie O’Malley, associate vice chancellor for government and community relations
Haluk Ogmen, interim dean, Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science
Valerie Otten, vice chancellor for university advancement
Karen Riley, dean, Morgridge College of Education
Todd Rinehart, vice chancellor for enrollment
Tom Romero, interim vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion
Shelly Smith-Acuña, dean, Graduate School of Professional Psychology
Bruce Smith, dean, Sturm College of Law
Gary Starling, interim vice chancellor and chief information technology officer
Talking Race, Taking Space: Building and Sustaining a Recognized Black Community at DU
Heritage Months Initiative in partnership with C+V:
In honor of Black History Month, Dr. Andriette Jordan Fields, DU's Black Community Experience Coordinator, will host a conversation with Stephanie O'Malley, Associate Vice Chancellor for Government Relations and Community Affairs, Allana Forte, Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer & Legal Counsel at Jacksonville University, and Matthew Solomon, President of the DU Black Student Alliance. They will speak from their lived experiences and expertise about race, space, and how to build and maintain a recognized Black community at DU.
Thursday, February 11, 2021 | 11:00am-12:00pm
Visit the Heritage Months Website
The University of Denver is committed to living our values of diversity and inclusion. Our community and institutional success is dependent on how well we engage and embrace the rich diversity of our faculty, staff, administrators, students and alumni.
With that shared value in mind and in partnership with Human Resources & Inclusive Community (HRIC), the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI), The Cultural Center, and the Staff of Color Association (SOCA), we will celebrate the identities and histories of members of the DU and world communities. Each month we will feature a staff or faculty member and a student in recognition of each heritage month, along with an event to honor one another and learn about our unique differences.
Propose a Program or Highlight a DU Community Member for Heritage Months
The University of Denver is committed to living our values of diversity and inclusion. We recognize that our community and institutional success is dependent on how well we engage and embrace the rich diversity of our faculty, staff, administrators, students, and alumni. With that shared value in mind, throughout this academic year, we plan to publish a series of articles to celebrate cultural and ethnic heritage months. In partnership with Human Resources & Inclusive Community (HRIC), the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI), The Cultural Center, Community + Values (C+V), and the Staff of Color Association (SOCA), we will feature a staff or faculty member and a student in recognition of each heritage month, along with an event to honor one another and learn about our unique differences.
Also, if you are aware of any events that are happening on campus or have an idea for Heritage Month events, we'd love to hear about them and promote them campus-wide.