Celebrating Black History Month

February 1st, 2018

The College of Humanities and Africana Studies Program have a full slate of events in February to celebrate Black History Month.

Author, attorney, motivational speaker and business executive Daisy M. Jenkins will deliver a talk on Feb. 8 called “The Green Machine: Inside the Prison Walls,” about the crisis of mass incarceration in America. The talk, including a discussion with students, will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Biological Sciences East, room 100.

The talk takes its name from Jenkins’ 2017 novel about a prison chaplain and the inmates he encounters. Combining compassion and a compelling chronicle of prison life, Jenkins shines a light on the problems and challenges of mass incarceration and the enormous need for rehabilitation.

“For some time, I’ve wanted to write a novel that speaks to the mass incarceration of black males. It’s practically impossible to find a black family today that hasn’t been impacted in some way by this phenomenon. It’s fathers, brothers, spouses, sons, nephews, fiancés, boyfriends, partners, friends, neighbors...and the list goes on,” Jenkins said. “Many articles and books capture the facts and figures about the mass incarceration of black males, but I decided to write a novel that goes inside prison walls and provides a glimpse into the lives of black inmates and those who work with and against them. I had the opportunity to capture many realities in this work of ‘faction’ based on my interaction with former inmates, corrections officers and a former prison chaplain, whose stories helped shape the content of this novel.”

Jenkins is president of Daisy Jenkins & Associates, LLC, specializing in executive and developmental coaching and Human Resources consulting. She previously served as executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Carondelet Health Network and held multiple human resources executive positions during her 28-year career with Raytheon Company.

She has received numerous awards: “The 2015 Sí Se Puéde Legacy Award” from the Arizona César Chavez Holiday Coalition, “Women Who Lead” from the University of Arizona Gender & Women’s Studies, the “Phenomenal Woman of the Year” from the UA Black Alumni Association; “2007 Tucson Woman of the Year” from the Tucson Chamber of Commerce, “Distinguished Alumnus” from the UA James E. Rogers College of Law, and recognized in Ebony Magazine as one of the “African American Women at the Top in Corporate America.”

Other Black History Month events include:

• The Africana Studies Program is a co-sponsor of the Barbea Williams Performing Company celebration “Our Blackness, Our Heritage” on Sunday, Feb. 11, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Dunbar African American Culture Center, 325 W. Second St. The program includes a step show with contemporary and traditional dance, spoken word, food and vendors. Admission is $6 or a donation of shoes and/or clothing to support the Tucson Unified School District African American Student Services.

• The Africana Studies Program will also host an open house on Tuesday, Feb. 20 in the Student Union Memorial Center Ballroom South, for students to meet professors and learn more about the courses, majors and minors offered in Africana Studies.

• In a partnership with KXCI Community Radio, Africana Studies faculty members will appear on the station each Monday throughout February, discussing particular topics in black history and selecting a related set of songs.

• On Saturday, Feb. 24, the College of Humanities and Africana Studies Program will sponsor the 2018 Tucson Hip Hop Festival at 191 Toole, with faculty members joining panels to discuss hip-hop culture and history. The day-long festival features demonstrations, workshops and discussions, as well as more than 60 performers. The 2017 inaugural event drew more than 1,200 attendees.