Portrait of Ibram X. Kendi

Buffalo State and SUNY Orange to Cohost Ibram X. Kendi


Noted Anti-Racism Scholar, Professor, Author, and Historian to Hold 60-Minute Virtual Presentation February 22
SUNY Buffalo State College and Orange County Community College (SUNY Orange) will jointly host a free 60-minute virtual lecture, “Confronting Racism in America,” by noted anti-racism scholar, professor, author, and historian Ibram X. Kendi, Ph.D., on Monday, February 22, at 7:00 p.m.

The two institutions have arranged Kendi’s appearance in conjunction with the State University of New York’s yearlong “64 Changes on 64 Campuses” initiative, intended to reaffirm SUNY’s systemwide commitment to diversity. Kendi’s lecture will headline Buffalo State’s 2021 “Diversity Speaker Series” and will serve as the keynote event for SUNY Orange’s “Global Initiative: Confronting Racism in America” series.

Titled “How to Be an Anti-Racist: In Conversation with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi,” the February 22 event will feature a 45-minute interview-style presentation, followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session developed from questions submitted in advance. A moderator from each college will partner to cohost the presentation and oversee the Q&A.

The session will be hosted on SUNY’s WebEx platform. Attendance is limited to the first 1,000 registrants, with space to be reserved for members of the SUNY Orange and Buffalo State student and employee communities. Attendees will be advised to log in before 7:00 p.m. SUNY’s Network Infrastructure and Cybersecurity Services division will provide technical support.

“We are thrilled to cohost Dr. Kendi’s talk,” said Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner. “Hearing from an esteemed scholar who has delved into racist attitudes and their origins comes at an opportune time. Our community, along with the rest of the country, is poised to examine the implicit racism that has seeped into all corners of society and improve upon those attitudes. I’m sure Dr. Kendi will provide valuable information and strategies that will help everyone listening as they move forward.”

Crystal J. Rodriguez-Dabney, Buffalo State chief of staff to the president and chief diversity officer, noted, “Diversity and inclusion are imbedded within the Buffalo State mission and the way in which we connect with students and one another every day. We have several new campus diversity initiatives in the works, and I believe having the opportunity to learn from Dr. Kendi and his expertise in the anti-racist space will help us see specific ways in which we all can improve, perhaps in areas and through conversations we haven’t explored in the past.”

“Recent national events, coupled with the terrible impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, have reinforced that racial inequities and social injustice in our nation are far from being resolved,” said Kristine Young, SUNY Orange president. “The opportunity for our SUNY Orange community to engage with Professor Kendi in these necessary discussions about race, inclusion, public policy, civic engagement, education, and more is both timely and impactful. Professor Kendi’s research and writings require us to consider difficult and sensitive issues. His time with us will be exceptionally valuable in framing SUNY Orange’s ongoing discussions about diversity and inclusion.”

Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is a contributing writer at the Atlantic and a CBS News racial justice contributor. Kendi is also the 2020–2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. He is the author of many books, including Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction, and is the youngest person to win the award in nonfiction in more than 30 years.

He also authored three No. 1 New York Times bestsellers: How to Be an Antiracist; Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, co-authored with Jason Reynolds; and Antiracist Baby, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky. His newest books are Be Antiracist: A Journal for Awareness, Reflection and Action and Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619–2019, co-edited with Keisha Blain, which will be out in February. In 2020, Time magazine named Kendi one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Kendi earned dual bachelor’s degrees in African American studies and magazine production from Florida A&M University while acquiring his master’s and doctoral degrees in African American studies from Temple University. For more information on Kendi, please visit his website.

Members of the Buffalo State community can register for the event via a campus-specific online form. A registration form for the Western New York community is also online.

For more information, please contact Willie Williams, chief diversity officer at SUNY Orange, or Crystal J. Rodriguez-Dabney, chief of staff to the president and chief diversity officer at Buffalo State.

The event is supported by Buffalo State’s Equity and Campus Diversity Office, Buffalo State’s Africana studies program, and the SUNY Orange Foundation.

Media Contact:
Laurie Kaiser, Assistant Director of Communications | (716) 809-0583| kaiserla@buffalostate.edu

Photo by Stephen Voss.