NIU Center for Black Studies welcomes community for conversations

Center for Black StudiesRecent national unrest due to gun violence continues to remind the community of the need to understand differing perspectives and the necessity to work together toward social justice, equity and open dialogue about racial issues.

“Given the 24/7 nature of social media and the immediacy of news, it was important to create ongoing opportunities for the NIU community to have a safe space to discuss their feelings on these issues and join efforts to explore solutions,” said Vernese Edghill-Walden, senior associate vice president for academic diversity and chief diversity officer in the Division of Academic Affairs.

In addition to the Diversity Dialogues and other campus-wide conversations, NIU’s Center for Black Studies will host a Fellowship and Dialogue from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each Wednesday starting July 20 at the center’s classroom, 621 W. Lincoln Hwy.

“Solutions begin at the community level,” NIU President Doug Baker said. “This opportunity builds on the work we’ve been doing to encourage dialogue and create an inclusive environment.”

As part of its role as a place where students, staff and faculty members can engage in a culturally conscious manner, the CBS is offering a safe and respectful space for anyone who needs to reflect, or connect with others, around social justice and equity issues, said Gena Flynn, new director of the CBS.

Flynn added that visitors can use the space for creative expression or active dialogue. The format is flexible and facilitated dialogues or other events might be added as current events dictate. While it might not be a structured environment, she said, it’s a space to form a sense of community.

“It is important to be civil and respectful while having brave conversations about societal inequities and what NIU can do to challenge these practices,” Edghill-Walden said.

For more information, call (815) 753-1709 or email CenterBlackStudies@niu.edu.

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