On Juneteenth, the newest federal holiday since Martin Luther King Day in 1983, Newman hosted a lunch-and-learn event in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center.
Faculty, staff and members of the Wichita community listened to Kansas-native Brad Richards, Lead for America Hometown Fellow at The Kansas African American Museum talk about the importance of Juneteenth (June 19). Guests enjoyed barbeque catered by Jodee B’s Catering, a locally owned company.
“I appreciated how the Newman community and the local community were able to engage by sharing personal stories, experiences and perspectives related to Juneteenth,” said Yelando Johnson, associate professor of social work and interim director of the Master of Social Work program. “This builds an allyship with the community.”
Newman prides itself in continuing to provide spaces for important and informational conversations to happen.
“It is important to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) committee and our contribution to the university’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Johnson said.
All the chairs were filled with interested individuals who were willing to better educate themselves about a holiday they may not have had the opportunity to learn about in the past.
Sister Therese Wetta, ASC, director of mission effectiveness, was one of many eager listeners in attendance.
“I learned how Texas was again the state that acted as though it was independent,” Wetta said. “And that the Army soldiers who tried to bring the message were murdered and only a sea route with a couple thousand soldiers were able to bring the emancipation message of freedom to slaves being held in Texas.”
The invite encouraged everyone on campus to attend.
“I appreciated that staff responded positively to their invitation of expected participation” Wetta stated. “And that faculty who were on campus also came, both for the delicious catered meal and the informative presentation. External guests added to the richness of the gathering.”
Newman looks forward to the opportunity to host more events on campus that educate the Newman community and the local community alike.