‘Black Lives Matter’ Inspires Three-Day Focus on Social Justice

In 2017, the Black Lives Matter movement raised national attention for social justice that spanned from the streets to NFL football fields.

That theme now calls everyone to Minnesota State Mankato campus for three days in February as national speakers join the 42nd annual Dr. Michael T. Fagin Pan African Student Leadership Conference.

The focus of the Feb. 7-9 conference in the Centennial Student Union seeks to build student leaders and provide an opportunity to discuss issues that affect Black people. The conference is free for University students, faculty, and staff.

“Vindicating the Suffering of Our Ancestors and Earning the Respect of Future Generations,” is the theme for this year’s Pan African Conference and features speakers who are leading the way in advocating social justice.

These year’s conference opens Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 5:30 p.m. in Ostrander Auditorium with a stage reading of There Are Other Worlds.” Set in the 1990s, There Are Other Worlds, tells the story of Amri Akenyemi a mother serving 15 years in prison for the murder of her daughter’s molester. The performance is free to Minnesota State Mankato students.

Keynote speaker for this year’s conference is Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr., Civil Rights Movement activist and authority of the strategy on nonviolent social change. His address is Friday, Feb. 9, at 5:45 p.m. in the CSU Ballroom. 

The impressive list of speakers throughout the conference include:

  • Mawuli Mel Davis, Civil Rights attorney providing legal support to Black Lives Matter and primary organizer for the “Respect Black Life” march following the acquittal of George Zimmerman: Thursday, Feb. 8, 9:45 a.m., CSU Ballroom
  • Charlene A. Carruthers, a Black, queer feminist community organizer and writer with over 10 years of experience in racial justice, feminist and youth leadership development movement work: Thursday, Feb. 8, 12:30 p.m., CSU Ballroom.

  • Damon Davis, author of the documentary, “Whose Streets?”, which tells the story of protests from the perspective of Ferguson, Mo., activists after police killed Michael Brown in 2014; Thursday, Feb. 8, 4 p.m., CSU Ballroom.

  • Paris Hatcher, Black, queer feminist whose work leading organizations has helped amplify the leadership of marginalized communities and advance such causes as gender justice and sexual health, and M. Adams, who presented before the United Nations for the Convention of Eliminating Racial Discrimination, and also authored the intersectional theory in Why Killing Unarmed Black folks is a Queer issue: Friday, Feb. 9, 10 a.m.,  CSU Ballroom
  • Bernadeia Johnson, former Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent, Friday, Feb. 9, 5 p.m., CSU Ballroom

The Pan African Conference is named in honor of Dr. Michael T. Fagin, an emeritus professor and Pan African leader. Dr. Fagin has served and been a member of the Minnesota State University Mankato (MNSU) community for over 45 years.

REGISTER NOW: It takes less than 5 minutes to register.

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