PASSHE Chief DEI Officer Dr. Denise Pearson to Deliver Keynote Address at Ujima Conference

Logo for 2024 Ujima Conference. It Takes a Village. Black History Month.

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Kutztown University’s Multicultural Center (MCC) is delighted to host the 2024 Ujima Conference, Feb. 20-22, under the enlightening theme, “It Takes a Village.” The theme highlights the significance of collaboration and community in nurturing a sense of belonging for communities of color. As part of KU’s Black History Month celebrations, the conference will unfold over three days, featuring a variety of engaging and insightful activities.

"Ujima" is one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, meaning "community" or "collective work and responsibility." It is open to all Kutztown University students, faculty and staff, as well as students invited from other System Schools and surrounding universities and colleges.

The event begins with a Day of Service Tuesday, Feb. 20, inviting attendees to directly engage with local communities through meaningful projects. This initiative exemplifies the Ujima principle of collective work and responsibility, reinforcing the conference's commitment to social responsibility and community engagement.

Following the Day of Service, the conference will offer an array of workshops, discussions and activities focused on Black American and African history and culture. These sessions aim to highlight contributions and experiences of these communities globally and locally at KU.

The conference’s keynote address will be delivered by PASSHE vice chancellor and chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer Dr. Denise Pearson. In her unique and notable role in the State System, Pearson emphasizes the importance of this year’s theme. Pearson’s keynote at noon Wednesday, Feb. 21, 218 MSU, promises to be a highlight of the event, offering profound insights into the importance of highlighting and celebrating Black American and African cultures.

For a complete list of the 2024 Ujima Conference events, please see below. RSVPS are encouraged. The link can be found on the Multicultural Center website.

Ujima Conference Day 1: Feb. 20

9-11 a.m., MCC: Celebrating Black Literature, Media and Literature Circles, presented by the Frederick Douglass Institute (FDI).

10 a.m. to noon, Health and Wellness Center, Beck Hall: Meet and Greet Brunch with Health and Wellness Staff.

1-4 p.m., Essential Item Drive for Opportunity House and Hope Rescue Mission and Food Pantry Clean Up in partnership with Community Outreach Center and Multicultural Greek Organizations.

Ujima Conference Day 2: Feb. 21

9-10 a.m., 218 MSU: Ujima Legacy Breakfast and Award Ceremony.

10-11 a.m., 223 MSU: The Importance of Brotherhood for Males of Color, presented by AIMS.

11 a.m. to noon, 223 MSU: Experience Africa: The Divergence and Convergence of Culture (The Diverse Cultural Practices in Africa and How These Cultures Interrelate), presented by KU's African Student Association.

12-1 p.m., 218 MSU: Keynote Speaker: Dr. Denise Pearson, vice chancellor and chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, PASSHE.

1-2 p.m., MCC: Intersectionality and Microaggressions, presented by Ujima Student Committee.

4-8 p.m., MCC: Ujima Soul Recharge: Massages, haircuts, textured hair demos, eyebrow and lash demos and facials.

Ujima Conference Day 3: Feb. 22

11 a.m. to noon, 218 MSU: Office of Veterans Services Presents: Master Gunnery Sergeant Joseph H. Geeter III, remembering the Montford Point Marines.

12-1:30 p.m., MCC: Amplifying Voices with Black Student Union (BSU).

2-3 p.m., 218 MSU: Closing Keynote Speaker: Wanjiku "Wawa" Gatheru.

3-4 p.m., MCC: “Stand Strong: What is Your Inner Strength?”, Painting with a Twist Workshop, presented by SISTERs.

6-8 p.m., MCC: 2024 Ujima Celebration.