(New Orleans/pm) – For decades, Xavier University of Louisiana has been dedicated to educating and offering equitable opportunities for historically underrepresented groups of students. Xavier’s Center for Equity, Justice and the Human Spirit (CEJHS) will host “The State of Black Education: Solutions to Achieving Educational Equity” summit on the university’s campus on September 29, 2023, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom. The forum was developed to spark dialogue about solutions for promoting Black excellence among minoritized children. Funded by the Kellogg Foundation, one of the summit’s main objectives is to provide resources and support educators and visionaries to ensure the creation of better educational opportunities for Black children in New Orleans.
The summit will focus on solutions to repair educational systems and issues surrounding underserved groups and communities historically lacking access to quality education. It will address the imperative nature of schools and community leaders working towards institutional and cultural changes to close systemic gaps hindering access and equity throughout the city’s educational landscape. It also offers an opportunity for the general public to learn, engage, and advocate alongside CEJHS.
“This event is the culmination of 18 months of activities sponsored by our center, including a meet and greet and webinar focusing on Black male educators and educational equity scholars engaging in a year-long investigation of educational hegemony that serves as an obstacle to educational advancement for culturally marginalized youth,” said Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji, CEJHS director.
The event is free to the public and includes a keynote address given by Dr. Bettina Love, the William F. Russell Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and author of the bestseller “We Want to do More Than Survive.” Following the address will be a panel moderated by Dr. Jimmy Caldwell, an associate professor in the Division of Education at Xavier, the panel will host several speakers: Krystal Hardy Allen, founder and CEO of K. Allen Consulting, an international education and management consulting firm; Dr. George Noflin, assistant professor and director of Call Me Mister at Louisiana Tech University; and two Xavier alums, Dr. Ryan DeRousselle (‘10, ‘16, & ‘20), Executive Director of School Quality at Lake Forest Charter and an assistant coach for Xavier’s men's basketball team; and Dr. Ashonta Wyatt(‘14 & ‘19), Principal Consultant for the A. Wyatt Solutions Group. Dr. Rashaad Anderson, director of Call Me MiSTER, associate professor, & national expansion coordinator at Metropolitan State University and the MiSTERS will also be present as special guests.
“As a featured panelist and alum of the illustrious Xavier University, I am humbly honored to engage in solution-based discourse regarding the state of Black education,” said Dr. Ashonta Wyatt. “I welcome such a critical and imperative conversation as I believe children, particularly Black children, deserve educational spaces that value their lived experiences and work to affirm their humanity.”
Xavier’s CEJHS was founded in 2018 as a vital space for scholarly research and community-driven change. The first of its kind at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), the center develops programming to shift oppressive policies and practices in education, criminal justice, and environmental sustainability.
CEJHS honors the faith and principles of Xavier’s foundress, St. Katharine Drexel, by utilizing the university as a place to uplift the human spirit and advance the creation of a more just and equitable society through shared learning and education. The center seeks to enhance an understanding of systemic inequities, heal the historical wounds from racism, and uproot conscious and unconscious biases that can limit equal access to a quality education, advancing Xavier’s mission to build a more just and equitable society.
“It is an honor to return to Xavier University, where it has always felt like home. Speaking at the Black education summit reminds me that home is not just where we come from; it’s where we’re headed,” said Dr. Ryan DeRousselle. “Advancing Black education and equity is the compass that guides us forward, and it’s an honor to share this journey with the community.”
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