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The Ernest L. Boyer Center at Messiah College and community partners facilitate local conversations about race, education and faith

August 21st, 2008

GRANTHAM, Pa. (Aug. 21, 2008) — Leaders representing the civic, faith and education communities of Harrisburg; state officials; and distinguished national scholars Molefi Kete Asante and Beverly Tatum will convene a four-day symposium in the Harrisburg region on the topics of race, education, faith and closing the achievement gap in schools. Sponsored by the Ernest L. Boyer Center at Messiah College and a team of community partners including the Harrisburg School District; Harrisburg Initiative to Lift Every Voice; Human Relations Commission, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Office of the Mayor, Harrisburg; and the Office of the Secretary of Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, each symposium event is free and open to the public.

Molefi Kete Asante
Molefi Kete Asante lecture: Sept. 13, 7 p.m.
The symposium begins at Bethel AME Church, 1721 North Fifth Street in Harrisburg, with a concert featuring several local gospel choirs and a lecture, “What the Faith Community Can Offer a Polarized Society,” by Molefi Kete Asante, professor in the department of African American Studies at Temple University. Asante has published more scholarly books than any contemporary African American author and has recently been recognized as one of the 10 most widely cited African Americans.

Beverly Tatum
Beverly Tatum lecture: Sept. 25, 7 p.m.
Beverly Tatum, noted teacher, author, race relations expert and president of Spelman College in Atlanta, will deliver a lecture with the same title as her latest book, “Can We Talk about Race,” in Brubaker Auditorium in the Eisenhower Campus Center on Messiah College’s Grantham campus. Tatum has particular interest and expertise in the areas of black families in white communities, racial identity in teens and the role of race in the classroom.

Community conversations: Sept. 26 at 8 a.m. and Sept. 27 at 8 a.m.
On Sept. 26, local and statewide civic and education leaders will engage in conversation about how to close the achievement gap in Pennsylvania’s schools and how to infuse meaningful information about racial diversity and the history of race into public schools. The discussion will take place in the John Harris High School auditorium at 2451 Market Street, Harrisburg. Invited panelists include Stephen R. Reed, mayor of Harrisburg; Gerald Kohn, Harrisburg School District superintendent; Gerald Zahorchak, secretary of education; Nathan Baxter, bishop of the Episcopal Church in Central Pennsylvania; Norman Bristol Colon, executive director, Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, Hai Chow Harry Kao, executive director, Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian American Affairs; and Olga Welch, professor and dean of the School of Education at Duquesne University, among others. Catherine Meeks, executive director of Aunt Maggie’s Kitchen Table in Macon, Ga. and recipient of the first Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Award for Campus/Community Partnership, will offer closing reflections.

On Sept. 27, at Goodwin Memorial Baptist Church, 2447 Green Street, Harrisburg, a panel of Harrisburg School District students will respond to “What We Have Heard in Relation to Our Hopes and Dreams.” The conversation will be moderated by Valerie Pritchett, ABC 27 news anchor, and will conclude with recommendations for next steps from Mayor Reed and Superintendent Kohn.

About the Ernest L. Boyer Center
The Ernest L. Boyer Center was founded by Messiah College to further the vision of Ernest L. Boyer, Sr., an alumnus and one of America’s leading educators, and to extend and apply Messiah College’s educational commitment to nurture intellect, character and faith within and beyond the college. The Ernest L. Boyer Center seeks to bring Boyer’s vision for social and educational renewal into meaningful dialogue with pressing social and educational issues that face the nation today.

About Messiah College
Messiah College, a private Christian college of the liberal and applied arts and sciences, enrolls 2,800 undergraduate students in more than 60 majors. Established in 1909, the primary campus is located in Grantham, Pa., near the state capital of Harrisburg. A satellite campus affiliated with Temple University is located in Philadelphia.

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