A Message from the Dean: Celebrating Black History Month in the Crummer Community
February marks the annual start of Black History Month, a time to celebrate and reflect on all the significant achievements African-Americans have made to positively impact and contribute to our country and our history. In 2021, following a tumultuous year marked by an unprecedented outpouring of concern and action around racial justice, this reflection is more poignant than ever.
As we look back on the past year and towards the future, I want to reiterate Crummer’s commitment to promoting issues of racial justice within our community and beyond. I also want to share some of our exciting events and ongoing efforts.
This past summer, we joined Rollins’ President, Grant Cornwell, in expanding our efforts–in coordination with the wider campus community–to increase awareness and action around the important issue of racial equality.
Crummer launched an initiative to orchestrate a constellation of convening groups across all stakeholder segments of Crummer. The goal of this group, comprised of myself and other faculty, staff and student volunteers, is to provide a safe and welcoming environment to address racial justice at Crummer, as well as to consider how Crummer can be a leader in facilitating the wider racial justice conversation within the business, philanthropic, and entrepreneurial communities.
We also introduced a new graduate assistant role, the racial justice graduate assistants, held by Early Advantage MBA students Marcus Davis and Ayanna Mattis. The two students have taken on student leadership roles in Crummer’s commitment to advancing the cause of racial justice, helping to lay the groundwork to build racial justice conversations and awareness into the fabric of the Crummer education. In coordination with the School, the students organized a students-only Racial Justice Open Forum this month to discuss making our community more inclusive and equitable for all.
The Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership is continuing to lead as a convener for racial justice topics including the “Timely Talks” series, as well as Evoking Change, a series of events and a toolkit designed to make Central Florida nonprofits a pipeline for a more racially equitable community.
On February 11th, we invite you to join us for an event in-conjunction with the Rollins Office for Alumni Engagement, “Racism in America: What Can I do to Eliminate It?”. This event will be a living room style conversation about the important role everyone can play in combating racism nationally and locally.
Throughout the month of February, you will also see our social media channels celebrating our wonderful Black Crummer alumni and faculty who exemplify our mission to create global, innovative and responsible leaders.
Other events held by the Rollins Center for Inclusion and Campus Involvement that we encourage our Crummer community to attend include the following:
- Friday, February 5th at 8 p.m.: Virtual showing of “Harriet”.
- Sunday, February 7th at 2 p.m.: African-American Read In.
- Join the Winter Park Library for moving, inspirational, and humorous selections from a wide range of African-American literature read aloud by community members as we celebrate this rich cultural heritage. A YouTube link will be provided the day of the event on all Winter Park Library social media pages.
- Thursday, February 18th 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.: His Legacy, Your Dream.
- Join Orange County for a candid conversation with celebrated NFL athlete Doug William. Event details will be emailed campus-wide from the Center for Inclusion & Campus Involvement.
- Sunday, February 28th 5 p.m.: Soul Food Sunday
- Join the Rollins Black Student Union for one of our favorite traditions: Soul Food Sunday. More details to come.
As we press forward in 2021, let us remember that diversity and inclusion are fundamental to our values and mission at Crummer. We know we are a stronger and more effective community when we empower all individuals to succeed. And we are a stronger business school when we produce leaders who promote racial justice within their organizations and communities.
While February may mark the start of Black History Month, Black History is a part of American History and we will strive to honor it every day as we work towards a more equitable and just community.
Deborah Crown, Ph.D.
Dean of the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College