McNair Scholars will bring two guests to campus for a conference titled “Race in the Age of Trump” Sept. 12-13.
Dr. Steven Moore, director of McNair, said the program staff picked the topic so students could have a place to discuss racial tensions in the current political climate. He said during the last few years the McNair staff planned the conference because students said they wanted more lectureship events like Summit.
“It seems like when you pay attention to what was going on in the election, it was evident that we are a divided country on so many levels,” said Moore. “Particularly on the subject of race. So we thought, ‘why not tackle this issue for our first official conference?'”
Moore said the title of the conference is not meant to blame President Trump for racial issues, but rather to show how the president defines the current era. For example, Moore said he’s seen scholarly research titled “Terrorism in the Age of Bush.”
“There’s something going on in the air right now, and I think it’s a fitting title,” Moore said. “When people see ‘Trump,’ it just divides people. There’s something about that name that gets people riled up. We’re just examining the issue of race because this is the age that we’re living in right now.”
The conference will feature 2008 alumnus Camari Carter-Hawkins and Texas Tech University professor Dr. Dave Louis. Carter, author of a poetry book, will read her poems and speak about her life experiences. Moore said the conference may become an annual tradition and he wants various artists to be included no matter the topic.
“We would love to do something every year where we focus on an issue,” Moore said, “and then invite some well-known speakers, musicians and artists and then just have them participate with the students and engage our minds on the current issue of the day.”
Carter-Hawkins studied political science, but she said after taking Moore’s African-American literature course she became inspired to write. Now she works at World Stage Press in Los Angeles and recently published a book of poems. She sent the book to Moore last year and he invited her to do a reading and speak on campus.
“I write a lot about my experience as a black woman in America, not just related to race,” Carter-Hawkins said. “Basically my experience through poetry, sharing stories, and interweaving that throughout my story.”
Her style includes spoken word and prose. She said she would also talk about her grandmother’s life experiences.
“I’m just really excited to be invited and hopefully my words and poetry can incite some real change,” Carter-Hawkins said. “Change for the ACU community, but once they graduate, it is more of a world-change. Really incite a positive change, promote awareness in the political climate and spark some unity.”
Students, faculty and staff can attend the event which begins with Carter-Hawkins presenting in a small group Chapel in the Hardin Administration Building Tuesday. She will also do a poetry reading Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. in Bible 114. Louis will speak in the Brown Library at 11 a.m. and in Bible 120 at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.