44 Days of Celebrating Blackness, History, and Excellence

Melissa Harris-Perry, PhD, educator, journalist, and activist, is the keynote speaker for 44 Days. Black excellence, history, and achievement are being honored during the third annual 44 Days Celebration, being held from Feb. 1 to March 15 at Saint Mary’s. Prolific speakers, dynamic workshops, engaging discussions, and a host of social events will round out Black History Month–plus activities. This year’s theme “Building Community Through Adversity,” reflects the African American historical legacy of joining together to resist oppression and bring about change in our society. The speakers and workshops will address the theme through targeted discussions from their researched and lived experiences.

The 44 Days Celebration was named in honor of President Barack Obama, who served as the nation’s 44th commander in chief and the first African American president. His legacy and leadership embraced the audacious hope of promoting a more inclusive nation that celebrated people from all walks of life, and welcomed our similarities as well as our differences.

“During our 44 Days Honoring Black History, we are charged to reflect on how the historic struggle against racism and oppression in Black communities directly aligns with the Catholic, Lasallian, and Liberal Arts Mission of Saint Mary’s College,” said Kathy Littles, associate provost for faculty affairs and senior diversity officer. “It is in the Lasallian spirit that we invite everyone to support the 44 Days Celebration through their participation. Let this be a time when we acknowledge and celebrate the cultural heritage and social contributions of Black communities in our collective past, present, and future.”

Melissa Harris-Perry, PhD, educator, journalist, and activist, is the keynote speaker for 44 Days. She is the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair, a professor at Wake Forest University, political analyst, and award-winning author. She will speak on Friday, March 6. The 44 Days Celebration also features a Black Mental Health Series with noted health professionals Dr. Kristee Haggins, Dr. Taisha Caldwell-Harvey, and Dr. Derrick Bines.

Wanda Johnson, mother of Oscar Grant, will discuss healing through action.

Please refer to the 44 Days website for the detailed calendar of events.