The event, open to WPI students, alumni, staff, and faculty, has been held at WPI for decades. Other multi-cultural support groups from Anna Maria College, Becker College, and Assumption College have also been invited, along with regular collaborators, such as representatives of both the A.L.A.N.A. (Asian, Latino, African, Native American) Support Network, and the Safe Homes Organization (LGBT). Registration is recommended.
According to Quontay Turner ’11, Outreach Coordinator for Diversity Programs, the dinner is a recognition and a celebration which is “open to anyone and everyone whether you identify as Black or not.”
There are 5-minute segments reserved for musical and spoken-word performances in an “open mic” format. Information about community initiatives and causes, including the Black Student Union fundraising efforts for the Flint, Michigan, water situation will be discussed. The Holy Cross Rhythm Nation Steppaz is also scheduled to perform.
Keynote speaker Clint Smith is a noted educator, writer, and speaker. His concentration has been in the areas of mass incarceration, race, and inequality. He is a former high school teacher who was named the 2013 Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council. He is presently a doctoral candidate in education at Harvard University.
Smith says that his topic will be “the intersection of racial justice and the criminal justice systems,” and that his message will be presented both in speaking and in poetry. Smith has given two TED talks, which have been viewed over 4 million times.