Great end to Black History Month!

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Minority Health Conference

Our minority health events started with a warm, memorable evening Thursday night—the Minority Alumni Reunion. One of HBHE chair Jo Anne Earp’s accomplished graduates, Edna Davis-Brown, MPH, reunited with Jo Anne after 28 years! Delton Atkinson, MPH, Vice President of our Public Health Foundation Board, gave a rousing welcome! HPM Professor, Bryan Weiner, PhD, talked about the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.  It was a lovely evening, with lots of good feeling.

Friday, February 25th was our 32nd Annual Minority Health Conference,  the largest and longest-running student-led health conference in the U.S. It was a magnificent event. The halls of the Friday Center were flooded with excited, engaged people. A sense of being part of something important permeated the building. One student told me she came to UNC partly because of attending one of these conferences. About 500 people were at the Friday Center, and more than 700 additional people attended through remote technologies and sites in Ghana, Canada and Tokyo, along with multiple locations in the U.S. Each year, students, supported by Epidemiology associate professor Victor Schoenbach, PhD, and Assistant Dean for Students,  Felicia Mebane, PhD, her staff and people across the School, pull off this impressive event. I love attending the opening session.  I gave welcoming remarks, along with Terri Houston, MA, Interim Associate Provost for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.

Carolina Black Caucus Read-In

Friday night, my husband, Bernard Glassman, and I participated in the inaugural Read-In event sponsored by the Carolina Black Caucus (CBC). We read a passage from The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. In it, a man who left the south talked about how, at the end of every year, he would meet with the landowner who would say, “Well John, boy, we had a good year. We broke even. You don’t owe me nothing, and I don’t owe you nothing.” (P.53) That sums up the economics of sharecropping. Sharecroppers could never get ahead when, at best, they owed the farmer nothing at the end of another brutal year.  At worst, they were charged for supplies and were deeper in debt and more enslaved.

Some phenomenally talented people read, sang and danced at the event. There was a great rendition of Amazing Grace, one of my all-time favorite songs, and a group of women praise dancers that was magnificent. We loved the a cappella group, Harmonyx, and I want to invite them to the SPH for an event. I’m sorry the Read-In wasn’t better attended, but it was the first time the event was held. If you weren’t there, you missed an inspiring evening, including a fabulous performance by Terri Houston who is quite an accomplished  actress.

Don’t give up CBC!  There’ll be more people next year!

It’s a beautiful day in Chapel Hill (Sunday)—over 75 degrees and spring is in the air.  Happy Monday! Barbara

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