Wednesday, Sept. 20, is the one-year anniversary of the police-involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott; his death resulted in civil unrest in Charlotte but peaceful demonstrations on campus.
Community response to Scott’s death has sparked many conversations, including how Charlotte is addressing race and economic mobility. In its mission as North Carolina’s urban research university, UNC Charlotte is sponsoring several events that provide opportunities to explore these topics (see below). In addition, there will be a Social Justice Organizations Fair on Monday, Sept. 18, opportunities for community members to share their feelings about the current state of affairs (Sept. 19-21) and a presentation for faculty that is focused on setting the stage for challenging conversations (Sept. 21); learn more here.
Thursday, Sept. 14: Bittersweet Harvest Exhibition
“Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964” is a bilingual (English/Spanish) traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution that explores President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s creation of what would become the largest Mexican guest-worker program in U.S. history. UNC Charlotte’s J. Murrey Atkins Library is hosting the display through Sunday, Nov. 12.
Mireya Loza, a curator with the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and author of “Defiant Braceros: How Migrant Workers Fought for Racial, Sexual, and Political Freedom” will speak about the exhibit at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 14, in the Atkins Library Halton Reading Room.
Wednesday, Sept. 20: Ninth annual Bertha Maxwell-Roddey Distinguished Africana Lecture
Ophelia Garmon-Brown and Charles O’Dell, co-chairs of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force, will speak at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 20, in the Cone University Center, McKnight Hall. Their free, public presentation is for the ninth annual Bertha Maxwell-Roddey Distinguished Africana Lecture.
Garmon-Brown and O’Dell will discuss “A Road Map of Opportunity for Charlotte.” The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force, which they co-chaired, was a 20-member group that gathered to address the social and economic divide in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community. The task force studied the difficulties in escaping poverty for children born in the county and developed a plan of action to bring about change in this long-standing situation.
Garmon-Brown is senior vice president of community wellness and education for Novant Health; O’Dell is senior vice president and group head, national corporate banking, U.S. Bank.
Thursday, Sept. 21: The Story of the Charlotte Girl
MacArthur Fellow Lateefah Simon will deliver a public presentation on economic mobility at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 21, in the Barnhardt Student Activity Center Salons.
Simon, a “genius grant” recipient, has more than 20 years of executive experience in advancing opportunities for communities of color and low-income communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently, she is president of the Akonadi Foundation, which, according to its website, “adopted an ambitious purpose: to support and nurture racial justice movement building to eliminate structural racism, with a specific focus in the City of Oakland.”
At age 26, Simon received the MacArthur Fellowship while serving as executive director of the Center for Young Women’s Development, an effort to guide “troubled girls from delinquency and poverty to healthy and productive adulthoods.”
Tuesday, Sept. 26: The Role of Food in Redefining the South
Southerners love to talk about food, their likes and dislikes, regional preferences and their own delicious stories. Food is a common fuel to launch discussion, and it helps cross lines of race, class, gender and region.
“Consuming Identity: The Role of Food in Redefining the South” by Ashli Quesinberry Stokes explores messages food sends about individuals, how they view themselves and how they see others in a Southern culture that loves to eat, share and talk. In this way, individuals find a common language despite race and class divisions that continue to plague the South. The rich subject of Southern fare serves up a significant starting point for understanding the powerful rhetorical potential of all food.
Stokes will discuss her book and the “story behind the story” at Personally Speaking at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 26, at UNC Charlotte Center City. Open to the public without charge, the program will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be followed by a reception and book signing. Register online.
Sunday, Sept. 27: “Baltimore”
The UNC Charlotte Department of Theatre will open its production of “Baltimore” at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 27, in the Robinson Hall for the Performing Arts.
Written by Kirsten Greenidge, “Baltimore” is set on a college campus. A short play, it peers keenly into the lives pf present-day students as they grapple with a racially charged dorm room incident.
Additional performances will be at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 28, through Saturday, Sept. 30. A 2 p.m. matinee will be held Sunday, Oct. 1. Tickets are $18; $12 for UNC Charlotte faculty, staff and alumni; and $10 for senior citizens, active military and veterans; and $8 for students.