Mishereen Ellis, director of multicultural student engagement at University of Dubuque
February 9-13, 2015 will mark the third annual African Heritage Week at the University of Dubuque. The week-long cultural experience, sponsored by the University’s Office of Multicultural Student Engagement, will showcase the history, experiences, and culture throughout the African diaspora.
This year’s African Heritage Week will focus on dissecting the concept of “whiteness” and its effect on blacks throughout the diaspora historically and presently and will engage attendees in thought-provoking dialogues and opportunities for introspective self-reflection. The programming could be seen as controversial by some, but absolutely necessary by others. Sometimes it’s important to push the boundaries and to be fearless when seeking to bring about radical change in an environment. Knowledge and better understanding is the first step towards bringing about social change and that is what this year’s African Heritage Week programming is pursuing.
Weeknight events are free and open to the public, and will culminate with the Heritage Celebration Banquet on Friday evening. Visit the website to learn more.
Monday, February 9
Panel Discussion – “Understanding Whiteness and its effect on society”
6:00 p.m., Blades Chapel
This event will include a panel of varied opinions on what is the concept of “whiteness” and in what ways it has and continues to impact society and the black experience. We will address questions such as what present-day examples show that the “creation of whiteness” has continuing implications, etc.
Tuesday, February 10
Unpacking Tim Wise
7:00 p.m., Severance Hall – Room 102
This event will be further discussion of the presentation by internationally acclaimed anti-racist speaker, Tim Wise, that took place on February 3.
Wednesday, February 11
What can Les Miserable teach us about race in America and more?
6:00 p.m., Blades Chapel
Mark A. Schmidt, MSW, MA, discusses common themes and philosophies in Les Miserable that can help to explain America’s current struggle with race and criminal justice and steps we can take to resolve such issues.
Thursday, February 12
Viewing & discussion of the film “Dear White People”
7:30 p.m., University Science Center, Goldthorp Room 105
“Dear White People” is a 2014 satirical drama film written and directed by Justin Simien. The film focuses on African American students attending an Ivy League college in America. “Dear White People” is based on director Justin Simien’s experience as an African American student attending Chapman University – a predominantly white, private university. The ensemble cast is made up of four characters that reflect four different categories of African American identity.
Friday, February 13
5:00 p.m., Blades – Chapel
The annual Heritage Banquet will be a culmination of the week’s events. There will be light hors d’oeuvres and storytelling by students, faculty, and staff.