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Winning the Race Archives - News and Events

Civil Rides bikes through campus for awareness

By | Community, Delta Center, President, Winning the Race | No Comments

Delta State University hosted Civil Rides on campus April 5-6 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Civil Rides was a three-day group bicycle ride from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Mississippi. The trek followed the civil rights footsteps of King.

The purpose of the ride was to raise awareness around persistent rural poverty in America, just as King did with the Poor People’s Campaign. Additionally, the event advocated for racial justice and healing, and created a space for racial discourse and dialogue.

Civil Rides was organized and sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Together for Hope, and Out Hunger. Participants in the ride came from Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and Mississippi.

Delta State also sponsored the campus visit as a post-conference activity linked to Delta State’s annual Winning the Race race relations conference, which took place March 26-27. Along with WTR, other campus sponsors included the DSU Quality Enhancement Plan, DSU Diversity Committee and Delta Center for Culture and Learning .

Delta State hosted the riders for a meet-and-greet opportunity on April 4, along with a reception and information session in the Baioni Conference Center. Dr. Jason Coker with Civil Rides shared a summary of their efforts, and participants were shown student videos created at the Lens Collective workshop, housed on campus by the Delta Center for Culture and Learning.

On April 5, the university provided the riders with a nutritious breakfast, followed by a press conference at the Student Union as a sendoff for the bikers as they continued their 200-mile journey.

Following the press conference, Civil Rides bikers, Delta State riders, and President William N. LaForge got on their bikes for a ceremonial exit from campus. Participants took off from the Student Union and traveled down Court Street into downtown Cleveland.

The group finished at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum with a celebratory festival.

Dr. Temika Simmons, co-chair of this year’s Winning the Race conference, said the event was a fitting followup to the race relations conference.

“It was an honor to partner with Dr. Jason Coker, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and Out Hunger in support of Civil Rides,” said Simmons. “Many of our students come from the communities the rides are intended to support. The Winning the Race conference is committed to continuing its work within and beyond Delta-area communities by partnering and supporting area initiatives that seek to combat racial inequities, fight for social justice, and to improve the condition of our communities. It was a privilege to host Civil Rides in commemoration of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We look forward to continuing this partnership in the fight against rural poverty.”

For more information on Civil Rides, visit https://www.civilrides.com.

To learn more about Winning the Race, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/winning-the-race.

Delta State completes successful Winning The Race conference

By | Winning the Race | No Comments
Photos, clockwise from top left: keynote speaker Kevin Powell; Delta State President William N. LaForge; Delta Music Institute student Jerion Keyes; participants of the local high school leadership forum.

 

Delta State University recently wrapped up its fifth annual Winning the Race conference, its award-winning race relations conference, held March 26-27.

This year’s conference, “Intersectionalities in Action: The Quest for Equity, Access, and Justice,” was presented in partnership and with support from Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council.

Delta State University President William N. LaForge closed the event by thanking co-chairs Dr. Temika Simmons and Dr. Charles Westmoreland, and by encouraging others to continue the imperative dialogue ignited at the conference.

“Delta State remains committed to core values and principles of equality,” LaForge said. “We proudly celebrate our multicultural identity and heritage every day. It’s not just black and white issues. It’s the full canvas of issues in society today — race, gender, sexual identity and preference, ethnicity, age, background, class struggle, poverty, education, social justice. We have 134 international students looking in at what we are doing today. These are truly global issues of great importance, but they are also truly local.”

And on an international level, the conference was watched via livestream by Perm State University in Perm, Russia, and by Delta State faculty and staff traveling in China. In addition, a German radio station visited campus to record part of the conference.

LaForge said if the dialogue changed even just one mind or heart, then the program was worthwhile.

“Let us grow and mature responsibly and together in this sphere of thought and activity as people of good will, to foster understanding, to be change agents, and to ensure — by our actions — that no one divides us, and that all of us understand the importance of working for a future in which all views and people are understood and valued, and in which we share the abundance of the opportunities this world presents us. That means a new Mississippi, and that’s up to us.”

Simmons, who was thrilled with the quality presenters, said the conference did an excellent job of highlighting places of equity exist in Mississippi.

“This conference is a good example of how we can better understand the racial undertones in everything we do,” said Simmons. “We want to be intentional about the racial implications things like who has access to healthcare and education — and provide the opportunity for people to be expressive of who they are, absent of stereotypes. That’s what this conference is supposed to do, to let people know that they can’t fight for equity without knowing where spaces of equity are.”

Westmoreland, co-chair with Simmons, said the hard work will not stop after the conference closing.

“Winning the Race remains active throughout the year thanks to the outstanding work of our Sustainability Committee,” said Westmoreland. “Through this committee, WTR has been able to establish partnerships with Delta State and off-campus entities to promote continued dialogue on race relations, and building more inclusive and equitable communities.”

“Next week, we are proud to be involved with Civil Rides, which is a three-day bike trek from the steps of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Mississippi, that follows in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to raise awareness around persistent rural poverty in America, and advocate for racial justice and healing.”

WTR also works closely with the Delta State Diversity Committee and Quality Enhancement Plan to sponsor and coordinate events on campus. Westmoreland encouraged all campus and community entities to contact WTR with ideas about future events that can advance the conversations on race, inclusion and equity. These efforts will be ongoing.

Conference programming highlighted the various ways in which race and race relations intersect areas of daily lives — from politics, economics, health and housing, to education, entertainment, art and science.

Keynoting the affair was Kevin Powell, a political activist, poet, writer and entrepreneur. Powell is widely considered one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary and hip-hop voices in America.

Also keynoting a conference luncheon was civil rights activist Dave Dennis, who participated in the first Freedom Bus ride from Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi in 1961. Dennis was also a key figure in voter registration efforts during the 1964 Freedom Summer.

A community gathering on March 25 officially kicked off the schedule with an open house and press conference at the Amzie Moore House Museum and Interpretive Center in Cleveland. The occasion honored local civil rights leaders, veterans and their families.

LaForge spearheaded the first conference in 2014 as an innovative academic symposium with a focus on engaging, promoting and rekindling conversations in hopes that Delta-area communities can move toward greater equity, forward thinking and reduced racial tensions.

In recognition of this work, the university received the 2014 Civil Rights and Social Justice Award accepted by LaForge at the fourth National Civil Rights Conference in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

For more information, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/winning-the-race/.

QEP announces slate of March events

By | Academics, Community, Faculty/Staff, QEP, Winning the Race | No Comments

Delta State University’s Quality Enhancement Plan recently announced a full schedule of events for the month of March.

The highlight event, the fifth annual Winning The Race Race race relations conference, takes place March 26-27. Registration for the award-winning conference is now open at: http://www.deltastate.edu/winning-the-race/registration.

The conference is free and open to the public thanks to generous donations from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Mississippi Humanities Council, campus groups,and individuals. Registration is required for all conference attendees. Online registration is open until March 12. Registration after March 12 will take place on site, March 26-27, at the Bologna Performing Art Center.

Featured speakers and breakout sessions include keynote speakers Kevin Powell and Dave Dennis, a concert by Marco Pavé, a Delta State faculty forum and sessions focusing on education, community, culture, social justice, civil rights, law and economic opportunities. For more information, contact Dr. Temika Simmons at tsimmons@deltastate.edu or Dr. Chuck Westmoreland at cwestmoreland@deltastate.edu.

Other upcoming events include:

March 1-31 – Donation Drive for Domestic Violence Shelter
·         Donation boxes for Our House, Inc., a domestic violence center in Greenville, Mississippi, have been placed on the first floors of the Union, Kethley, Jobe, Kent Wyatt and the Roberts-LaForge Library. The goal of the project is to collect toiletries, paper products, bedding, non-perishable and non-expired food, and cleaning supplies to support Our House’s efforts.
·         Event sponsor: DSU QEP
·         For more information, contact Alexas Hayes at ahayes@deltastate.edu

March 7 – NO MORE Week
·         From NO MORE website: NO MORE is dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault by increasing awareness, inspiring action and fueling cultural change. NO MORE unites and strengthens a diverse, global community to help end domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse. Launched in 2013, NO MORE brings together the largest coalition of advocacy groups, service providers, governmental agencies, major corporations, universities, communities and individuals, all under a common brand and a unifying symbol in support of a world free of violence.
·         NO MORE Selfie Station from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the DSU Student Union, first floor
·        ” The Mask You Live In” film screening at 6 p.m. at Baioni Conference Center.  The film follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while navigating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.
·         Event sponsors: Upsilon Delta Delta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and DSU QEP
·         The events are free and open to the public.
·         For more information, contact Linda Stringfellow at lstringfellow@deltastate.edu

March 5-9 – The Pulsera Project

·         The Pulsera Project is a Fair Trade nonprofit organization that empowers and educates people in the U.S. and Central America through pulsera sales. Pulseras are hand-woven bracelets. Student and teacher volunteers raise funds that benefit fair trade jobs, worker rights, sustainability and education, while learning about the culture, lives and struggles of Central Americans. The Pulsera Project’s goal is to create a more just and colorful world by encouraging conscious consumerism and social enterprise.
·         To learn more about pulseras and support artisans, visit: H.L Nowell Union, first floor, March 5 -6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and  Kethley 235, Language Lab, March 7-9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
·         Event sponsor: Division of Languages and Literature
·         For more information, please contact Sylma Ferreira at sferreira@deltastate.edu

March 14Professional Development Webinar: “Social Justice, Diversity & Inclusion in 2018 & Beyond: Use Context Before Content to Engage Across Differences”

·         Scheduled for 1 pm at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for Teaching and Learning Lab in Ewing 239
·         From webinar summary: “As a result of this webinar, you will be able to effectively assess and engage present dynamics on campus, with your organizations, teams, offices, etc. – help ensure the success, satisfaction and persistence of all students on campus; utilize the five components of context – be able to more effectively engage when dealing with issues of difference; and help your teams and others on campus to become “unstuck” in areas of difficult dialogue, conflict and resistance – critically assess, strategize and engage content matters that are impacting your campus.”
·         The event is open to DSU faculty and staff.
·         For more information, contact Michelle Johansen at mjohansen@deltastate.edu

Coming soon…
·         April 3 – The Clothesline Project
·         April 4-5 – Civil Rides, a three-day trek from the steps of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, that follows in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to raise awareness around persistent rural poverty in America and advocate for racial justice and healing
·         April 5 – Sammy O. Cranford Memorial History Lecture featuring Dr. Stephen Berry, Gregory Professor of the Civil War Era in the Department of History at the University of Georgia. Berry’s lecture will explore his innovative digital history project, “CSI: Dixie.” https://csidixie.org/
·         April 10 – Equal Pay Day event

Winning the Race returns to campus March 26-27

By | Community, Diversity Committee, President, Winning the Race | No Comments

Delta State University’s award-winning race relations conference Winning the Race returns to campus for a fifth year on March 26-27.

This year’s conference theme, “Intersectionalities in Action: The Quest for Equity, Access, and Justice,” is presented in partnership and with support from Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council.

Conference topics will highlight the various ways in which race and race relations intersect areas of our daily lives — from politics, economics, health and housing, to education, entertainment, art and science.

The inaugural program, spearheaded by Delta State President William N. LaForge in 2014, was designed as an innovative, academic conference with a focus on engaging, promoting and rekindling conversations in hopes that Delta-area communities can move toward greater equity, forward thinking and reduced racial tensions.

In recognition of this work, the university received the 2014 Civil Rights and Social Justice Award accepted by LaForge at the fourth National Civil Rights Conference in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

“I am looking forward to Delta State’s fifth annual Winning the Race conference with great anticipation,” said LaForge. “This year’s program will center on the themes of equity, access and justice — key ingredients of the notions of fairness and opportunity that should be equally available to all in our society. Discussions about the intersection of these issues will hopefully lead to ideas and actions that will help improve race relations and understanding across the board in the Delta.”

The 2018 schedule will continue the critical dialogue about current issues related to education, social justice and community healing, while highlighting opportunities for sustained community action, awareness and mobility.

“In planning this year’s conference activities, planning committee members have worked hard to focus on creating opportunities for attendees to better understand how race intersects and impacts various areas of our collective and individual lives,” said Dr. Temika Simmons, conference co-chair and director of Delta State’s new Local Government Leadership Institute. “Conversations about race are not reserved for people of color only. They are conversations that we must all become comfortable with in order to dismantle the attitudes, systems and inequities that marginalize groups, inoculate stereotypes, separate communities and breed hate.”

Simmons said the conversations and points of actions scheduled for presentation at this year’s conference are as relevant now as they have always been.

“We challenge the entire Delta State campus and Mississippi community to join us again in March as we continue this work to improve our campus, the Delta community, and the state of Mississippi,” she added. “With help from the Mississippi Humanities Council, we will again host a high school leadership forum with a unique message and activities for area high school students. In addition, we will provide opportunities for professional development credits for teaching and counseling professionals in our efforts to continue to push the conference initiative beyond dialogue to tangible action and outcomes.”

Dr. Chuck Westmoreland, conference co-chair and associate professor of history, is looking forward to another conference of meaningful discussions.

“By fostering dialogue on race relations and providing a platform to discuss solutions to the challenges we face, Winning the Race performs a valuable service not only to the Delta State campus and the broader Mississippi Delta, but to our state and beyond,” said Westmoreland. “Sessions will feature distinguished activists and scholars who will explore the myriad of ways race intersects with other identities such as gender, class, region, nationality and sexuality.”

“Above all, we want conference attendees to know that they have a vital role to play in the many pressing issues and conversations of our time,” added Westmoreland. “Each year, I am most excited to take part in and observe the Q&A following each session and the overall interactions between conference attendees. These moments are where we take the ideas explored in the various sessions and apply them in our ongoing work to build more equitable and inclusive communities.”

A highlight speaker for the 2018 conference is Kevin Powell, a political activist, poet, writer and entrepreneur. Powell, one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary and hip-hop voices in America today, is a native of Jersey City, New Jersey.

Raised by a single mother in extreme poverty, he managed to study at Rutgers University thanks to New Jersey’s Educational Opportunity Fund. Powell has gone on to author 12 books, including his newest title, “The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood.”

His writings have also appeared in CNN.com, Esquire, Ebony, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, ESPN.com and Vibe Magazine, where he worked for many years as a senior writer, interviewing diverse public figures such as Tupac Shakur and General Colin Powell.

Powell has lectured extensively, both domestically and abroad, on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with notable and well-regarded national appearances, including on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Later this year, he will publish a biography of Shakur, the late rapper and controversial American icon.

Conference organizers are also proud to welcome civil rights activist David “Dave” Dennis. A participant in the first Freedom Bus ride from Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi in 1961 and 1964’s Freedom Summer, Dennis served as co-director of the Council of Federated Organizations in Mississippi. Raised in Louisiana by sharecropper grandparents, Dennis worked closely with Bob Moses and Medgar Evers in Mississippi in the 1960s.

While conducting voter registration workshops throughout the South, a bout with bronchitis prevented Dennis from riding in the car with the three civil rights workers he was training — James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman — the night they were killed by Ku Klux Klan members on a back road in Neshoba County, Mississippi. Dennis would go on to speak at Chaney’s funeral. He currently serves on the advisory board for the Andrew Goodman Foundation, whose vision is that “young people will become active, engaged citizens who ensure a peaceful, just and sustainable future.”

Also speaking is novelist Nick White, a native Mississippian, Delta State alumnus, and author of the novel “How to Survive a Summer.” White is an assistant professor of English at Ohio State University’s MFA program in creative writing. His short stories, poems and essays have appeared in a variety of places, including The Kenyon Review, Guernica, The Hopkins Review, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, Lit Hub, and elsewhere. His short story collection, “Sweet & Low,” will be published later this year.

In addition to stellar speakers, leaders from around the state and nation will facilitate breakout sessions covering intersections across various topics related to social justice, civil rights and law, economic opportunities, education and community, and culture and community.

Additional activities include a poster competition for college students, a special presentation by Memphis hip-hop artist Marco Pave, and artistic and academic presentations by campus faculty, staff, students and members of the community.

The university will kick off this year’s conference with an open house and press conference on March 25 from 2-6 p.m. at the Amzie Moore House Museum and Interpretive Center located at 614 S. Chrisman Ave. in Cleveland, where local civil rights leaders and veterans will be recognized and honored.

Conference activities will begin on campus at 8 a.m. on March 26 in the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State. Conference updates, registration and additional information are available at http://www.deltastate.edu/winning-the-race/.

“We are especially thankful for the generous support of Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council,” said Westmoreland. “Their kind contributions enable us to make this conference a forum where many voices are heard and all are welcome.”

Registration for the event opens Feb. 1 at http://www.deltastate.edu/winning-the-race.

For questions, or more information, contact Simmons at tsimmons@deltastate.edu.

Winning the Race returns March 27-28

By | Academics, Community, Faculty/Staff, President, Students, Winning the Race | No Comments
2017 Winning The Race Committee member include: (front, left to right) Dr. Rolando Herts, Dr. Billy Moore, Dr. Lekeitha Morris, Tricia Walker, Georgene Clarke, Jeanna Wilkes and Dr. Temika Simmons. Back (l to r): Dr. Charles Westmoreland, Dr. David Breaux, Sam Washington, Michelle Johansen and Davlon Miller. Members not pictured: Bryce Anderson, Dr. David Baylis, Dr. George Beals, Travis Calvin, Jondelyn Catlette, Dr. Edwin Craft, Dr. Ellen Green, Dr. Leslie Griffin, Matthew Harris, Dr. Garry Jennings, Elizabeth Joel, Paula Lindsey, Michael Lipford, Don Allan Mitchell, Cleveland Phinisee, Arlene Sanders, Jeremiah Smith, Dr. Myrtis Tabb (ex-officio), Jenn Keathley and Chante Willis.

Delta State University’s award-winning conference Winning the Race returns to campus for the fourth year on March 27-28.

Conference updates, registration and additional information are available at http://www.deltastate.edu/winning-the-race/.

This year’s conference, “Winning the Race: Advancing Education in the Mississippi Delta,” is presented in partnership with the Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council and will focus on identifying educational inequities and strengthening educational opportunities in the Mississippi Delta.

The inaugural program, spearheaded by Delta State President William N. LaForge in 2014, was designed as an innovative academic conference with a focus on engaging, promoting and rekindling conversations in hopes that Delta-area communities can move toward greater equity, forward thinking and reduced racial tensions.

“I am very much looking forward to another outstanding race relations conference, with a program I’m advised will be top flight,” said LaForge. “From the special speakers, breakout sessions and general discussion topics, this conference promises to be another great success.”

“While our conference is not conducted in reaction to anything in the current political climate, it certainly comes at an appropriate time to contribute to the national, regional and local dialogue on how we get along in society,” added LaForge.

In recognition of this work, the university received the 2014 Civil Rights and Social Justice Award accepted by LaForge at the fourth National Civil Rights Conference in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

The 2017 schedule will continue the critical dialogue about current issues related to education, social justice and community healing, while highlighting opportunities for sustained community action, awareness and mobility.

“This year’s conference will provide attendees with the tools to engage in not only the dialogue, but the work of strengthening the educational community and infrastructure in and around the Mississippi Delta,” said Dr. Temika M. Simmons, assistant professor of psychology and conference chair. “Unique to the 2017 platform are opportunities for professional development credits for teachers and counselors, in addition to a special workshop track for high school students — further evidence of the university’s commitment to moving the conference initiative beyond the current dialogue to tangible action and outcomes.”

Highlight speakers for the 2017 conference include Dr. Ivory Toldson, president and CEO of the Quality Education for Minorities Network, and Dr. William C. Bell, a Delta State graduate and president and CEO of Casey Family Programs.

Toldson is a professor of counseling psychology at Howard University and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education. Toldson’s previous appointments include executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and contributing education editor for The Root.

With more than 60 publications, four books, and over 150 research presentations in 36 states and numerous countries, Toldson’s work and research have focused on dismantling some of the most pervasive myths about African Americans. Instead, he highlights the talent and potential of students of color. Toldson has been featured on MSNBC, The New York Times, various radio stations, and has been dubbed one of “30 leaders in the fight for Black men,” by Newsweek Magazine. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said he is “a prolific young scholar and myth buster.”

William C. Bell, president and CEO of Casey Family Programs, is returning for another highly anticipated speech. With more than 35 years of experience in the field of human services, Bell chairs the executive team for CFP and is responsible for the vision, mission, strategies and objectives of the foundation.

Bell’s awards include Special Contribution to the Judiciary Award from the King County Washington Women Lawyers (2016), the Orgullo de la Comunidad (Pride of our Community) Award from the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services (2015), and the 2014 James A. Joseph Lecturer for The Association of Black Foundation Executives.

Additionally, he was named Delta State’s 2012 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year and was inducted into the university’s Alumni Hall of Fame and the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society.

Bell is nationally renowned for his contributions and lifelong commitment to improving the lives of children and families, his tireless work to prevent child abuse and neglect, his fight to make the judicial system more accessible to all, and his battle to improve the lives of children in foster care.

In addition to stellar speakers, conference breakout sessions will feature topics covering social justice, civil rights and law, economic opportunities, education and community, and culture and community. These sessions will be guided by leaders from around the state and nation.

Other featured activities include poster competitions for high school and college students, and performances by the ROOTS of Sunflower County and the Delta Blues Museum Band.

The university will kick off this year’s conference with an open house on March 26 from 2-6 p.m. at the Amzie Moore House Museum and Interpretive Center located at 614 South Chrisman Avenue in Cleveland. A press conference honoring the work of Mississippi civil rights veterans will take place at the house at 3 p.m.

Conference activities will begin on campus at 8 a.m. on March 27 in the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State.

For more information, contact Simmons at tsimmons@deltastate.edu.