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Loyola’s Karson Institute to celebrate first anniversary with events Oct. 28

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Loyola University Maryland’s Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice celebrates its one-year anniversary with a series of in-person and virtual events on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021.

The Institute aims to provide a space for researchers, students, social justice workers, and activists to come together to research, discuss, debate, and explore answers to America’s most urgent questions on inequality, injustice, and racial inequity. Karsonya “Kaye” Whitehead, Ph.D., associate professor of communication, African, and African American Studies, is the founding director of The Karson Institute.

“As we celebrate our first year and begin to turn our attention toward year two, my goal is for the Karson Institute to become an internationally recognized and respected authority on teaching and discussing these important topics,” said Whitehead. “I would like us to be inwardly focused as we continue to challenge our students to think and talk about racism, injustice, and our collective responsibility to dismantle these systems of oppression, and outwardly focused as we look to challenge our community to engage in these conversations with us. I want us to think beyond our borders and start talking about what peace and social justice look like in places like Palestine or Haiti, Afghanistan or South Africa.”

Anniversary events include:

  • An opening plenary conversation, Baltimore vs. The World: America’s Roots/Racism& Activism, a conversation between New York Times-selling best author D. Watkins and Whitehead, will be held from 9-10:30 a.m. in McGuire Hall. The conversation will also be livestreamed.
  • A reception, Kupcakes for Karson, featuring giveaways will be held on the Academic Quadrangle from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 
  • A Koffee and Konvo lunchtime event, the Long Eye of the Civil Rights Movement, with Karson’s Senior Research Fellows, Judge Billy Murphy, Esq. and Dr. Van Gayton, will be held from 1-2 p.m. in Sellinger VIP and via Zoom. For more information contact Courtney Carroll,
  • A director’s wine and cheese reception will be held from 2:15-3:15 p.m. in the 4th Floor Program Room.
  • A tree planting ceremony and closing exercises will be held from 3:30-4:30 p.m. near the Fernandez Center.

Over the past year, Whitehead has led the Institute in conversations with thought leaders around the country, including Dr. Anthony Fauci. Her COMloquium talk with Dr. Fauci marked the first time that he sat down and spoke specifically about the impact of COVID-19 on the Black community. This interview was viewed more than 45,000 times and shared across social media platforms.

Additional guest speakers over the past year have included, Ibram Kendi, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-winning author and Macarthur Fellow; Lisa Snowden-McCray, managing editor and Baltimore editor of The Real News Network; Alice McDermott, novelist, writer, and former Richard A. Macksey Professor of Humanities at Johns Hopkins University; Dr. Lawrence Brown, founder of The Black Butterfly Academy and author of The Black Butterfly: The Harmful Politics of Race and Space in America; Kweisi Mfume (D), U.S. Representative, 7th Congressional District; Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott; and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Leonard Pitts, among others.

More about the Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice

Using Baltimore as a lens and healing justice as a framework, The Institute researches issues, collects and houses resources, and trains students and faculty on how to actively address racial trauma and violence; anti-racism and anti-blackness; and systemic oppression.

The Karson Institute is comprised of three Centers—the Center for Public Engagement, the Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Center for Research and Culture—and they are all fully functioning. In August 2021, the director’s position was elevated and refined to broaden the impact of the Karson Institute’s work throughout the University.

A steering committee of Loyola faculty members and community leaders provides support and resources through the Institute. Steering committee members include Cheryl Moore-Thomas, Ph.D., acting provost and vice president for academic affairs; Rodney Parker, Ph.D. acting chief equity and inclusion officer; Stephen Fowl, Ph.D., dean of Loyola College of Arts and Sciences; Raven Williams, director of ALANA Services; John Kiess, Ph.D., associate professor of theology; Rev. Timothy Brown, S.J., associate professor of law and social responsibility and special assistant to the president for mission integration; Kevin Atticks, Ph.D., Apprentice House director; and Martha Wharton, Ph.D., diversity professional and school counselor at Mercy High School.

Visit the Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice website for more information.