Edwards to keynote Black History Convocation this Thursday

By Rick Kennedy, managing editor
With the sounds of pop artist Alicia Keys blaring throughout the UA Hope Student Center last Friday, Black History month activities and announcements were kicked off here to a lunchtime crowd.
Dean of Students Christopher Smith led the special event with Black History trivia, and he also announced the keynote speaker for the Black History Month Convocation this Thursday night as Tamika Edwards, JD, who is executive director of the Philander Smith College Social Justice Institute.
Established by Philander Smith College in 2007, the Social Justice Institute is the central incubator for the College’s focus on its mission to “graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice….”
Edwards assumed the post in August 2018 after a national search, becoming the second occupant of the director’s position.
A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Edwards has nearly 20 years of experience in public policy and community development. She had previously served as Director of Governmental Affairs at Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) where she led the development and execution of the organization’s legislative strategy. Prior to AACF, she was Director of Public Policy at Southern Bancorp Community Partners and previously served as Community Affairs Specialist in the Office of U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln.
Edwards earned the Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), the Master’s Degree in Professional and Technical Writing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), and the Juris Doctor from the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law.
Smith also announced special musical guests Thursday as the SAU Genesis Ministry Choir. Both Edwards and the SAU Choir will appear at the Rapert Library Complex Auditorium on Thursday starting at 6:30 p.m.
Prior to the Thursday night, on Thursday morning at 11 a.m., the Pleasant Hill Quilters will have a display at the Rapert Auditorium as well.
On Tuesday, February 12, there will be a special Black History month presentation of the movie “Race” at 6:30 p.m. at Hempstead Hall in the main theater. In the past, movie presentations like the critically-acclaimed “Selma” have been shown.
A “Taste of Soul” luncheon will be held Wednesday, February 20 at 12 noon at the TI building, room 160 on the Hope campus.
The Texarkana campus will have its own “Taste of Soul” the following day, Thursday, February 21, also at 12 noon, at the TKA building.
The festivities wrap up on Sunday afternoon, February 24, at 3 p.m. with the “Hope for the Future” honors ceremony at the Rapert Auditorium.
For more information on the events or Black History month, contact Christopher Smith at [email protected]

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