Social Justice Teach-in in Commemoration of Black Solidarity Day

(WNY News Now) – In observance of Black Solidarity Day, SUNY Plattsburgh is set to host a day-long Social Justice Teach-in on Monday, November 6th, featuring a wide range of sessions aimed at fostering education and solidarity, with a special keynote address by Dr. Ricardo Nazario y Colon, the State University of New York’s senior vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Plattsburgh – SUNY Plattsburgh is gearing up for a significant event in recognition of Black Solidarity Day, a day traditionally observed on the Monday preceding Election Day. This year, the university is set to host a Social Justice Teach-in, scheduled to commence at 8 a.m. in the Warren Ballrooms of the Angell College Center.

Black Solidarity Day traces its origins back to the late 1960s when Panamanian-born activist, historian, and playwright Carlos E. Russell launched a movement with the intention of uniting various African American communities in New York City, showcasing their economic contributions to society. Over time, this observance has evolved into a broader platform to express solidarity with African Americans through education and enlightenment.

SUNY Plattsburgh initiated its commitment to this tradition with its inaugural social justice teach-in on November 8, 2016. The event drew a diverse audience, including faculty, staff, students, and community members who participated in a day of enlightening sessions, including lectures and discussions on topics such as the racial wealth gap, gender discrimination, and the excessive use of deadly force in policing.

By 2019, the teach-in, titled “Many Faces of Social Justice,” featured nearly 50 different panels, presentations, workshops, and discussions across the campus. These sessions delved into a wide array of topics, ranging from inequality and politics to neurodiversity and climate change. The day’s activities culminated with a special appearance by U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith.

This year marks the second time Black Solidarity Day is integrated into the SUNY Plattsburgh academic calendar, with the theme “You Belong: Let’s Erase the Hate.” The program, “You Belong: Let’s Erase the Hate,” will include sessions held at various locations on campus, including the Angell College Center, Myers Fine Arts Building, and Sibley, Hawkins, Yokum Lecture, and Au Sable halls.

The event features an impressive lineup of sessions, such as “Stages of Slavery and Social Justice,” “Embrace Thy Curls,” “Hip-Hop Culture: The Black Voice Through Books and Art,” and “Why Florida Matters: The Attacks on the AP African-American Studies Courses and the Implications for Higher Education.” Notably, the day will also include a keynote address by Dr. Ricardo Nazario y Colon, who serves as the State University of New York’s senior vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion and chief diversity officer. Dr. Nazario’s address is scheduled to commence at noon in the Warren Ballrooms.

Additionally, other sessions planned for the day will explore topics like:

“How Faith Communities Engage in Issues of Racial Justice”
“Intersecting Perspectives: Empowering Families of Color with Children with Disabilities in the North Country”
“Unity Unleashed: Erasing Hate, Embracing Belonging”
“Check your Fattitude: Unlearning Fat Phobia in the Helping Professions”
“Lessons from Barbieland: The Higher Education Mojo Dojo Casa House”
“Lighting for Diverse Skin Tones Studio Workshop”
“Get Civic-Minded and Vote”
“Mental Health Stigma in the Black Community”
Bridget Haina, an associate professor in communication studies and Racial Healing Circle facilitator for the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center at the university, and a member of the Black Solidarity Day steering committee, emphasized the significance of this day. She stated, “This is a day to meditate on the meaning of social justice and civic engagement in what could be a multi-racial democracy. Black Solidarity Day is meant ‘to highlight racial injustices, societal inequities, and to illuminate how Black voices are integral to American life’ and our college community.”

For those interested in further information, including a complete schedule of events, please visit the Black Solidarity Day — Social Justice Teach-in page. Questions or inquiries can be directed to the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at 518-564-5410 or via email at

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