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UW’s Black Studies Center to Launch Cultural Competent Summer Forum Series

June 11, 2021

The University of Wyoming’s Black Studies Center will host two virtual events as part of its inaugural Cultural Competent Summer Forum Series.

“Each virtual event will utilize culturally relevant pedagogy paradigms to ignite courageous conversations concerning race in America,” says Fredrick Douglass Dixon, director of UW’s Black Studies Center.

The first event, a mini-symposium, will take place Friday, July 2. “What to the Slave’s Children is the Fourth of July?” is free and open to the public. To RSVP for the event, email Dixon at

The mini-symposium will create discussions that reexamine the implications and vestiges of one of Frederick Douglass’ most famous speeches to deconstruct the phenomenon of current exclusionary educational policies in America, Dixon says.

The mini-symposium schedule is as follows:

-- 9 a.m.: “Deconstruction of the Neoconservative Movement to Erase Critical Race Theory from Public Education.” Panelists are Rashid Faisal, a principal internship coach at Columbia University; Coiette Gaston, a history lecturer at Prairie View A&M University; Anika Simone Johnson, director of equity and inclusion at the University of Rochester; Jeffrey Lee, a K-12 educator in Philadelphia; and David Stovall, a professor of criminology, law and justice at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Darrell Jackson, a UW professor of law, will moderate.

-- 10:30 a.m.: “Strategies to Teach the Harsh Realities of American History.” Panelists are Khalid el-Hakim, founder and curator of the Black History 101 Mobile Museum, and Abul Pitre, a professor and chair of the Department of Africana Studies at San Francisco State University. Timberly Vogel, the Black Studies Center’s director of community outreach, will moderate.

-- Noon: “Dissecting the Importance of Frederick Douglass’s ‘What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?.’” Panelists are Adam Green, an associate professor of American history at the University of Chicago; Kalvin Harvell, a sociology instructor at Henry Ford College; Khalilah Watson, an assistant professor of English at Olive-Harvey College; Julian Williams, an equity program manager at the Partnership for College Completion; and Raymond Winbush, a research professor and director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University. Dixon will moderate.

The second event, a book study, will begin Thursday, July 8, and continue every Thursday through Aug. 5. UW’s Black Studies Center and Advising, Career and Exploratory Studies (ACES) will offer the five-week study of “How to be an Antiracist” by Ibram Kendi. Dixon will facilitate each weekly discussion. To register for the free book study, go here.

“This book study will provide a platform for UW administrators, faculty, staff and others to ignite and engage in courageous conversations that introduce strategies and tactics on how to become an anti-racist,” Dixon says.

The virtual meeting schedule is:

-- July 8, 10-11 a.m.: Book study introduction and discussion of introductory chapter.

-- July 15, 10-11:30 a.m.: Discussion of chapters 1-5.

-- July 22, 10-11:30 a.m.: Discussion of chapters 6-10.

-- July 29, 10-11:30 a.m.: Discussion of chapters 11-14.

-- Aug. 5, 10-11:30 a.m.: Discussion of chapters 15-18.

In addition to the weekly sessions, participants will be invited to join a weekly online discussion board to continue conversations about the reading each week.

For more information about the book study, email Ben Herdt, manager of academic advising for ACES, at

“The fundamental goal of the Cultural Competent Summer Forum Series is to introduce alternative concepts and worldviews regarding the term anti-racism outside of the dominant Eurocentric curricula to the University of Wyoming, the larger Laramie community and beyond,” Dixon says.

For more information about the series, email Dixon at

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