The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Black Student Union will host the 14th annual Ebony Weekend Conference Feb. 8-9, beginning at 4 p.m. Friday at the Markee Pioneer Student Center and concluding Saturday night in Velzy Commons in Ullsvik Hall. The event is open to students, faculty and the community.
The purpose of the conference is to celebrate black culture, as well as educate the public about issues affecting the black community, according to Ebony weekend coordinator and president of the Black Student Union Vontique Jackson. This year’s theme is “The New Wave of Institutional Oppression,” and guest speakers will focus on slave suffrage, mental illness and the justice system.
“What was established in history has been passed down from different institutions like government, education and health services,” said Jackson. “The conference will unpack the systematic mistreatment that has been repeated throughout history that often put black people at a disadvantage.”
This year’s speakers include Janaya Khan, an international ambassador for the Black Lives Matter Network; Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara, an associate professor of history in the department of Afro-American studies at UW-Madison; and Dr. Inger E. Burnett-Zeigler, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. There will also be a dinner and entertainment at Ebony Weekend.
BSU is expecting nearly 80 participants to attend the conference including students from UW-La Crosse. “It’s a proud moment for us as an organization,” said Jackson. “BSU prides itself on being able to organize this conference every year for the campus and public because it promotes something we believe in and that is solidarity.”
“With Platteville being a small community it’s good to have representation, it’s good to have these events,” said Jackson. “We talk about and promote diversity so much throughout the campus, but diversity is also about embracing other cultures and groups of people and their perspectives and beliefs. This conference will be a great start for that.”