LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2019) — In 1949, Lyman T. Johnson bravely chose to be the first African American student at the University of Kentucky. He overcame obstacles and carved his own path.
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of integration at UK, the College of Communication and Information (CI) will host a panel discussion titled “Finding Our Place: How Black Americans use Social Media to Carve out Their own Niche,” beginning 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in the William T. Young Library UK Athletics Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.
The panel brings together researchers, academics and experts in the field to discuss how underrepresented minorities can use social media to expand and support social ties and function as an extended family when they are far from home pursuing new opportunities, like attending college.
The panel includes:
- André L. Brock, an associate professor of black digital media at Georgia Tech. His research examines racial representation in video games, black women and weblogs, whiteness, blackness and digital technoculture as well as groundbreaking studies on Black Twitter.
- Raven Maragh-Lloyd, an assistant professor of communication studies at Gonzaga University. Her research examines digital media culture specifically relating to race and gender studies. She examines the ways that black and African Americans use established communication channels for surviving, increasing visibility and creating community.
- DeShana Collett, an associate professor in the UK College of Health Sciences, where she is the course director for the clinical methods and patient evaluations management courses within the physician assistant program. Her research relates to discourses that center around inclusion and equity, with interest in health and health care equality, particularly intimate partner violence.
- Brandon Jamal Colbert, the coordinator for social justice education and engagement for UK’s Bias Incident Support Services. He develops and implements social justice-centered programming, workshops and dialogues. He was the inaugural recipient of the LeadBlue Diversity and Inclusion Award, the most recent recipient of the Otis A. Singletary Senior Award for Outstanding Leadership and recipient of the 2019 Inclusive Excellence Recognition Award.
“It’s important to honor and respect the past as we move forward into the future. The University of Kentucky and our college have made many strides in becoming diverse and inclusive spaces,” said Shannon Oltmann, CI diversity officer. “We are choosing to commemorate the legacy of integration with a panel that focuses on the unique ways that African Americans have become part of our community and simultaneously carved out their own niches.”
The panel will give students, academic staff, professionals and researchers a space to discuss amplifying this cultural support of African American students on UK’s campus.
Each college at UK is hosting events to commemorate 70 years of integration on campus. This event is one way CI has chosen to celebrate the year. Additionally, CI held a book club using Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” story in conjunction with his appearance at UK in August.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.