Black History Month

Black History Month 2023 Events at a Glance

Abraham Lincoln DeMond Day

Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 6 p.m.
Corey Union Function Room

Honoring SUNY Cortland's first African American Graduate

Speeches by: President Erik J. Bitterbaum, Lorraine Lopez-Janove, Tatum Pittman, Alumni Association

Keynote: Ernest Logan '73

Organized by: Tatum Pittman

Tatum Pittman

Changing The Script: Transforming the Legacy of Blackness in Shakespeare and the "Black Panther" Series

Thursday, Feb. 2, at 12:30 p.m.
Old Main Colloquium

In plays and in films, writers have attempted to reimagine Blackness outside the confines of the colonial past. In the Renaissance, Shakespeare created multi-dimensional African characters via his plays — challenging his early modern audience to experience Blackness outside of stereotypical representations. In the "Black Panther" series, Ryan Coogler casts the audience’s vision toward the future to imagine the African experience beyond historical and contemporary socio-cultural restraints. In this presentation, I will demonstrate how Shakespeare and Ryan Coogler sublimate the historicity of African alienation inherited through colonialism to establish worlds via scripts where the legacy of Blackness becomes synonymous with power and pride.

Presented by: Willnide Lindor, Ph.D

Willnide Lindor headshot

What is Race?

Monday, Feb. 6, at noon
Moffett Center First Floor Conference Room

"What is a race?" Like everything, it depends. It may be an ascribed or self-reported characteristic, a visible or genetic aspect of a person. In this talk, I explore the government's statistical treatment of race and how it can be a problematic concept. For instance, after 2002, federal statistics no longer consider "Hispanic" a race but an additional yes/no characteristic; further, one may claim to be of any number of races, including ones not listed. I present Bureaus of the Census and Labor Statistics forms and micro-data to illustrate some of the implicit assumptions involved in measuring progress towards social justice.

Presented by: Justin Bucciferro

Racism and White Supremacy in the White American Church: Historical and Political Considerations

Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 4 p.m.
Moffett Center First Floor Conference Room

Robert P. Jones, the CEO of Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) recently wrote a book, White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2021), in which he excoriates the White American Church — in all of its denominational variations: Roman Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, and Mainline Protestant — for its complicity with white supremacy. Throughout American history, Jones writes, the Church in all of its manifestations has not only tolerated but actively propagated racist and exclusionary teachings, theologies, and viewpoints.

Presented by: Christopher Xenakis

One in Two

Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 12:30 p.m.

Old Main Colloquium

The presentation will provide a brief and basic HIV101 overview, data and statistics, provide a timeline of the epidemic, analyze the disproportionate effect of the virus in the Black community, identify key individuals that have made contributions to prevention and awareness, as well as being centered with their personal testimony living with HIV for now over two decades. 

Presented by: Joshua Michael King

Joshua Michael King

Ludic Ubuntu Ethics: Possibilities for Transformative Justice

Thursday, Feb. 9, at noon
Old Main Colloquium

In my new book Ludic Ubuntu Ethics: Decolonizing Justice, I explore a positive peace vision. In this talk, I will highlight African peace and reconciliation practices.

Presented by: Mecke Nagel, Ph.D.

Mecke Nagel

Foodways and Folkways: Soul Food and Health in the Black Community

Friday, Feb. 10, at 3 p.m.
Corey Union Exhibition Lounge

This presentation seeks to explore the culinary history of Soul Food in the United States. It draws on a vast array of literature on the topic to construct a narrative of the cuisine's development as an important fixture in the African American tradition. It will also explore the cultural constraints tied to the cuisine over the course of the last 400 years, and how these cultural folkways impact the health of Black Americans today. Finally, the presenter seeks to develop a new, culturally responsive diet plan for people of African descent to integrate physical and cultural well-being.

Presented by: Daniel Reischer

The End of France as A Parasitic State in Africa: Lessons from Mali

Monday, Feb. 13, at noon
Corey Union Fireplace Lounge

The recent political and diplomatic tensions between Mali and France may be symptomatic of what to expect in the relations between Africa and the Western world in the future. More and more countries in the Sahel and beyond, francophone or anglophone, rise to challenge French interference in Sahelian and African matters, their military presence, their continued predatory political, financial, and economic schemes.

The popular anti-French uprising has slowly turned into a pan-African movement of civil society organizations through social media. Worldwide marches and demonstrations on behalf of Mali by pan-African youth and other groups have contributed to expose the French and Western predatory policies on the continent.

Presented by: Kassim Kone Ph.D.

Annual Black Lives Matter at School Panel Discussion: Creating a Culture of Care: Dismantling the Schoolyard to Prison Yard Pipeline

Monday, Feb. 13, at 4:30 p.m.
Corey Union Function Room
The panel discussion features moderators Dr. Tracy Hudson and Jaden Buckingham facilitating a discussion with four local educators about how they seek to dismantle the school to prison pipeline while supporting Black students and families. Panelists are: Dr. Reba Hodge (Director of Diversity, Equity and Belonging for Syracuse City School District), Dr. Luvelle Brown (Superintendent for Ithaca City School District), Alex Scher (Social Worker for Ithaca City School District) and Ashley Ordonez (Bilingual Special Educator in Syracuse City School District). 

Prevent Defense: Race and Leadership in the NFL

Tuesday,  Feb. 14, at noon
Old Main Colloquium

Persons of color are jarringly underrepresented as head coaches in the National Football League. The consistent level of underrepresentation cannot be reasonably explained as statistical happenstance. Instead, systematic factors, including covert factors, work against persons of color who could advance into head coaching positions. Ironically, the challenges faced by persons of color who might become NFL head coaches can be illustrated in the context of race and playing quarterback. The microcosm of the National Football League illustrates psychological and sociological processes that can help students consider contemporary society more broadly.

Presented by: Craig A. Foster

Craig Foster headshot

Recruitment and Retention of BIPOC Students

Wednesday,  Feb. 15, at 12:30 p.m.
Old Main Colloquium

A panel discussion regarding the recruitment and retention of Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color.

Panelists: Michael Johnson, Senior Associate, Director of Admissions,

Kharmen Wingard M '11, Senior Counselor, EOP Program,

Kharmen Wingard

Katrina Hodge, Assistant Director, Multicultural Life and Diversity Office

Katrina Hodge Photo

Moderator: Michelina Gibbons, Employer Relations and Recruiting Coordinator, Career Services

Michelina Gibbons headshot

The Continued Miseducation of BIPOC students: The Need for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP) and Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy (CSP)

Thursday, Feb. 16, at 12 p.m.
Old Main Colloquium

The prevalence and void of systems within education threaten the forward movement of BIPOC students who desire academic success. However, they are not represented in the teachers/professors, or the curriculum administered. Through an in-depth look into two theories that support the importance, implementation, and practice of CRP and CSP, this session seeks to provide the inspiration needed to create fully inclusive classrooms. 

Presented by: Terrance King

Terrance King

Social Media-Mediated Justice: Uncover social media’s influence on your thoughts and actions

Thursday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m.
Institute for Civic Engagement Office

This three-part, 90-minute participatory event is designed to help students uncover ways in which social media might hurt or help their decision-making with regard to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and other social justice issues. It was co-designed and facilitated by members of Men of Value and Excellence (MOVE) and Bridge Cortland. In this event, students will:

  1. Attend an introductory session (15-minutes) in which they review social
    1. Definitions
    2. Operating principles; (m)algorithms
    3. Tools, including video, sound, and interactivity
  2. Engage in moderated small-group discussions (45-minutes)
    1. Compare their social media accounts and threads followed
    2. Identify their respective information "bubbles"
    3. Consider information and opinions that they might be missing
    4. Reflect on ways in which social media might be blocking their
      understanding of events
  3. Engage in a large-group debrief (30-minutes)
    1. Share results of small-group discussions
    2. Discuss and plan steps to take to address key issues

To register please email

The event is limited to 25 people.

Presented by: John Suarez

Cultivating a Culture of Anti-Racism and Allyship at Predominately White Institutions

Friday, Feb. 17, at 10 a.m.
Corey Union Function Room

This workshop will take participants on a journey of understanding how our position and privilege impact our daily actions and what is needed to center Black lives at a predominately and historically White University. It is not enough to support “all” students with a one size fits method, just like it is not enough to simply be “not racist”. We will explore the history of the Black culture to unveil the strategies that help support black student success in an interactive and engaging format. By examining what an anti-racist campus could look like we will discover the blueprint to be enliven allyship by action and not just words. Participants will leave with the tools needed to continue the work of unpacking unconscious bias in self, addressing and responding to microaggressions, and holding others accountable for “the work” that belongs to us all.

Lunch will be provided immediately after the presentation. 

Lunch will be provided by the Legacy ARDM.

Presented by: Aneesah Smith, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Penn State Abington

Aneesah Smith

Black Student Union Week of Events: African Dance Workshop

Monday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m.
Corey Union Voice Office
During the Black Student Union annual week of events we will be holding different sessions and workshops to honor and celebrate Black History. To kick this off we will be beginning with an African Dance workshop taught by a Cortland alum Rose Clary.

Black Voices Matter

Tuesday, Feb. 21, at noon
Van Hoesen, Room B0134A

An oral interpretation of short pieces of poetry, theatre and prose by contemporary Black female writers.

Facilitated by: Jack Carr

Jack Carr headshot

Advocating for Change — How We Can All be Better Allies and Co-Conspirators in Creating an Inclusive Sport Management Spaces

Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 6:30 p.m.
Professional Studies Building, Room 1176

Racial diversity is often low within the ranks of sport management professionals. In this major, only 20-25% of our students in recent years identify as non-white. With this in mind, our event will be targeted at educating our majority white students and faculty about the experiences that their racially minoritized classmates experience on our campus and how we all can be better allies and work toward a more inclusive sport management space.

To do this we will be inviting three or four Black sport management alumni to discuss their experiences at SUNY Cortland. These alums will also discuss ways the department and other students could better support their minoritized peers now at Cortland, as well as in the future while working as sport management professionals.

Organized by: Erin Morris


Olivia Lindsay ’19 – Event Staffing Lead, New York Road Runners

Olivia Lindsay

Gabrielle Alleyne '19 – Marketing Coordinator, US Figure Skating

Gabrielle Alleyne

Deidre Pierson '19 – Associate Athletic Director, Hamilton College

Deidre Pierson headshot

Black Student Union Week of Events: Black History Month Jeopardy

Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m.
Corey Union Fireplace Lounge

In the BSU's annual week of events we will be testing the students of SUNY Cortland on their knowledge of Black history, with chances to win a gift cards for first, second and third place!

From Afro-Turks to Siddis: The East African Slave Trade and the Afro-Asian Diaspora

Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m.
Moffett Center First Floor Conference Room

The reality and history of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade is relatively well known in the U.S. and other parts of the world. The influence of this slave trade is recognized as one of the foundational processes that led to the development of the unique cultures of North and South America and the Caribbean. Less known is the existence of a slave trade that crossed the Indian Ocean and transported people from eastern Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, India, Indonesia, and even China. Based on my research and interest in the Afro-Turkish population of the late Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, I would like to shed more light on the experiences of the various populations of people in Asia who can trace their ancestry back to the people transported from eastern Africa.

Presented by: John Jones, Ph.D.

For My People: A Black History Month Celebration

Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m.
Dowd Fine Arts Center, Room 110

This will be a program of celebrating the lives and work of Black Americans in the performing arts, sharing details about their lives and performing songs, scenes, monologues and readings from their creative output.

Organized by: Kevin Halpin

Flyer for the For My People: A Black History Month Celebration

Black Student Union Week of Events: Writing Letters to Incarcerated Men

Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m.
Corey Union, Room 209

During the Black Student Union's annual week of events, we would like to take some time to recognize the injustice experienced by men in the Black community. In collaboration with Men of Value and Excellence (MOVE), we will be writing letters to incarcerated men to share our solidarity and encourage hope!

The African Diaspora in Latine America: Fighting Anti-Blackness as a Collective

Thursday, Feb. 23, at noon

One in four Latine Americans identify as people of African descent. Despite significant progress over the past decade, Afro-Latine populations are still underrepresented in decision-making positions across sectors. They are overlooked in ways that lead to disproportionate and inequitable outcomes. While there are parallels in the struggles of all oppressed peoples, it is essential to discuss how these experiences can be used toward building coalitions. By utilizing intersectionality and past resistance models, participants will be given tools to build coalitions that fight anti-Blackness.

Presented by: Tibisay Hernandez

Tibisay Hernandez headshot

Know Your Roots — Afro-Essence

Thursday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m.
Corey Union Function Room

Know Your Roots — Africana Studies Association presents our annual event, Afro Essence. This year it will be a formal affair to remember those in history who contributed to the advancement of Black culture and life as we know it today. There will be performances and food. Please RSVP through the link on our instagram @cortlandkyr by Feb. 1st.

This is a formal black-tie affair.

Black Student Union Week of Events: Black and Boujee: What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas

Friday, Feb. 24, at 10 p.m.
Corey Union Exhibition Lounge
During the Black Student Unions Week of Events we will be holding a formal event to celebrate Black excellence. People of all identities are welcome to share of time of dressing nicely, being fancy and celebrating one another!

Black Student Union Week of Events: Kings and Queens Conference

Saturday, Feb. 25, at 11 a.m.
Corey Union Function Room
To cap off the Black Student Union's annual week of events, we like to hear insights from SUNY Cortland alumni. During This event several alums will speak and give a presentation on this year's topic, "The Most Unheard Voice in America: The Black Woman." Food will be provided and attire is business casual.

Phat and Fit: Unpacking the History of Anti-Blackness in the Fitness Industry

Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 5:30 p.m.
Corey Union Fireplace Lounge

Exercise is all about improving mental and physical wellness, but the fitness industry can be very selective about whose bodies represent "health." Being slim, able-bodied and white is often privileged as the aspirational fitness ideal. The goal of this lecture is to examine historical fitness fallacies in order to encourage conversations that allow for introspection, and new negotiations about what it will take to usher in a world where anti-Black racism is no longer found in our communities, workplaces or exercise world.

Presented by: Tracy Hudson

Tracy Hudson

Spoken Word and Workshop with Artist Ed Mabrey

Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 5 p.m.
Corey Union Exhibition Lounge

Ed Mabrey is the greatest poet in the history of slam poetry, holding four World Championships, six Regional Championships, and more than 500 wins. An NAACP Image Award Nominee and 2019 APCA Spoken Word Artist of the Year, Ed has been on TV ONE, ABC, FOX, HBO and CNN. Performing poetry and conducting workshops on mental and emotional health with a focus on depression, anxiety, suicide ideation and removing stigmas from seeking therapy, Ed has performed at over 300 colleges and universities and will be performing at ours.

Organized by the Student Activities Board
5 p.m. - 6 p.m. (Workshop), 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. (Spoken Word)

Co-sponsorships and funding for Black History Month were made possible by the President’s Office, Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office, Political Science Department, School of Arts and Sciences, Africana Studies Department, Performing Arts, SUNY Cortland Alumni Association, Multicultural Life and Diversity Office, Disability Resources, CALS, SGA, KYR-ASA, SUNY Cortland Campus Activities, Student Activities Board, Career Services, BSU, NAACP, and PASA.

For further information and questions, please contact Cyrenius Fitzjohn, Assistant Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Miller Building, Room 404A,