Sunday, January 31, 2021
6 – 8:00 p.m. EST
Hosted on Zoom

Rutgers University’s Black Student Union and the Cultural Center Collaborative join together to celebrate Black History Month and honor Native American heritage. The theme, “A Dream of Kikeokàn/Kuponya: Black and Native American Healing” is centered in the healing practices of both the Black and Lenni-Lenape people. Kikeokàn and Kuponya (Lenape and Swahili terms, respectively) both translate to the English word “healing”. Black and indigenous people have experienced structural violence, countless acts of injustices, and trauma in recent history.  We come together to center healing so that we may increase our strength and build our capacity to fight for peace and justice in solidarity.

The featured keynote speakers, President Jonathan Holloway, Dr. Cornel West, and the Rev. J. R. Norwood will bring awareness to the history of our individual struggles and resiliency of our social justice movements.

Featured Speakers

Dr. Jonathan Holloway
President, Rutgers University

Jonathan Holloway, a U.S. historian, took office as the 21st president of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, on July 1, 2020. He also serves as a University Professor and Distinguished Professor.

Prior to accepting the presidency of Rutgers, Dr. Holloway was provost of Northwestern University from 2017 to 2020 and a member of the faculty of Yale University from 1999 to 2017.  At Yale, he served as Dean of Yale College and the Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies.

As Northwestern University’s chief academic officer, Dr. Holloway supervised the university’s educational policies and academic priorities, oversaw preparation of the university’s annual budget, acted on faculty appointments and promotions, and directed the allocation of resources and space to academic units.

President Holloway’s scholarly work specializes in post-emancipation U.S. history with a focus on social and intellectual history. He is the author of The Cause of Freedom: A Concise History of African Americans (Oxford University Press, February 2021), Confronting the Veil: Abram Harris Jr., E. Franklin Frazier, and Ralph Bunche, 1919-1941 (2002), and Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940 (2013), both published by the University of North Carolina Press. He edited Ralph Bunche’s A Brief and Tentative Analysis of Negro Leadership (New York University Press, 2005) and coedited Black Scholars on the Line: Race, Social Science, and American Thought in the Twentieth Century (Notre Dame University Press, 2007). He wrote the introduction for the 2015 edition of W.E.B. Du Bois’s Souls of Black Folk (Yale University Press), and is working on a new book, A History of Absence: Race and the Making of the Modern World. Learn more here.

Dr. Cornel West
Professor, Philosopher, Author, Activist

Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and holds the title of Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. Cornel West graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton.

He has written 20 books and has edited 13. He is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. His most recent book, Black Prophetic Fire, offers an unflinching look at nineteenth and twentieth-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies. Learn more here.

The Rev. Dr. J.R. Norwood
Principal Justice of the Tribal Supreme Court for Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Nation

The Rev. Dr. J.R. Norwood is the Principal Justice of the Tribal Supreme Court of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation, for which he has also served as a Councilman for over fifteen years. He is the Co-Chair of the Task Force on Federal Acknowledgement of the National Congress of American Indians and the General Secretary of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes.  Dr. Norwood is the senior minister to the Nanticoke-Lenape Tribal Christian Prayer Circle Ministry and has served for over twenty-seven years as the pastor of the Ujima Village Christian Church of Ewing, NJ, a non-tribal urban congregation.

Dr. Norwood is an acknowledged tribal historian, cultural presenter, writer, drummer, and craftsmen. His tribal craftwork has been exhibited at several museums and art festivals. Dr. Norwood has represented his tribe at the national and international level. He has lectured at various academic institutions and testified before the United States Congress. He has been featured in several documentaries on American Indian History, including: The Seven Ages of Britain (2010); Philadelphia: The Great Experiment (2014); Promised Land (2016); and, The King’s Highway (2016).

Event Moderator

Dr. Enobong (Anna) Branch
Senior Vice President for Equity, Rutgers University

Enobong (Anna) Branch is the senior vice president for equity and provides strategic leadership to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in every aspect of the university. She coordinates university-wide efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion involving faculty, staff, and students, and ensures that the institutional commitment to equity is reflected in the research, educational, and public engagement efforts that occur throughout the university. Branch oversees the Division of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement on the New Brunswick campus, championing the role of diversity and inclusion in achieving excellence and strengthening the institutional commitment to its diverse community on and off campus. Prior to joining Rutgers University, Branch served as associate chancellor for equity and inclusion, chief diversity officer, and a professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. Her significant accomplishments in that role included leading the integration of diversity throughout the campus strategic plan, executing the university’s campus climate survey, and creating diversity infrastructure through climate advisors in executive areas and diversity officers in schools and colleges.

A professor of sociology, Branch conducts research on labor and work that explores the historical roots and contemporary underpinnings of racial and gender inequality. She is the coauthor of the new book Black in America: The Paradox of the Color Line (2020), the editor of Pathways, Potholes, and the Persistence of Women in Science: Reconsidering the Pipeline (2016), and the author of Opportunity Denied: Limiting Black Women to Devalued Work (2011). Branch received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University at Albany, SUNY and her B.S. in biology from Howard University.


This event is hosted by the Cultural Center Collaborative in partnership with the Black Student Union. The Cultural Center Collaborative is comprised of four cultural centers including The Asian American Cultural Center, the Center for Latino Arts and Culture, the Paul Robeson Cultural Center, and The Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities.

This program is partially funded by the Common Purposes Grant: Cultural Holistic Wellness Initiative (CHWI) for 2020-2021.


Rutgers University, Eagleton Institute for Politics
Northwestern University, Multicultural Affairs
University of Maryland, Adele H. Stamp Student Union Center for Campus Life | Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy