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The University of Texas is going in big this weekend, hosting a range of African American superstars for a very special event. No, we’re not talking Kevin Durant type superstars, rather those who come from the worlds of academia and activism, the ones who just might be able to shed the appropriate amount of light on how to deal with the dark times that our country is currently living under when it comes to racial divides.

This weekend from September 29 through September 30, UT will host the very first international black studies conference, “Black Matters: The Future of Black Scholarship and Activism.” Those notable superstars who are lined up as featured guests and speakers include activist Angela Y. Davis, musician/spoken word artist Saul Williams, Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown and author of “Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil: The Life, Legacy, and Love of My Son Michael Brown.”

From a University of Texas press release:

Many of the themes scheduled to be discussed at the conference are informed by events occurring in the United States. The UT Austin Black Studies program is notable for emphasizing the African diasporas, which include populations from Europe and the Middle East to South America, the Caribbean and beyond.

“We are taking a global look at the social and political landscape of black lives in the United States and beyond. We aim to show how critical thinking, scholarly work and grass-roots activism intersect in black studies,” said Cherise Smith, an associate professor and director of the John L. Warfield Center at The University of Texas at Austin. “The conference showcases artists and scholars who will speak about culture, history and policy and its importance to the community and the academy.”

Unfortunately for those of us who are way excited about the prospect of learning from these legends, public registration is closed. HOWEVER, the event will be streamed live on the Black Matters conference website, so anyone from anywhere in the world can get educated and engaged and help bring new meaning to the term armchair activist.

Other panels during the conference will address the role of black artists in social and political movements, black queer diaspora, anti-black violence against women around the world, the history of using literature to create counter narratives, how policy impacts the lives of black people, and the relationship between black athletes, politics, and the academy. You can find a full schedule of events here.

Featured image from Wikipedia, Creative Commons licensed



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