April 6-7: Pan African Conference to Feature Civil Rights Lawyer, Organizers of Safe Haven, Shooting Victim's Mother

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
8:30 AM - 1:00 PM
First day of virtual conference

Pan African Conference 2021

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato’s 45th annual Dr. Michael T. Fagin Pan African Conference, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, April 6-7, will feature virtual keynote presentations by a group of prominent national speakers and leaders on racial justice issues.

The virtual conference is free and open to the public. Free conference registration is required by Friday, April 2 at the following link: https://mankato.mnsu.edu/pan-african-conference/. The full conference schedule is also available at that link.

The opening keynote speaker Tuesday, April 6 from 9-9:50 a.m. will be American civil rights lawyer and activist Lee Merritt, who is eligible to advocate on civil right matters in all 50 states, according to Merritt’s website. According to a May CNN story, Merritt has represented the family of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was shot and killed while jogging outside Brunswick, Georgia, on Feb. 23, 2020.

A second keynote presentation will be given Tuesday, April 6 from 12-1 p.m. by Renee Walters and Ashley Scott,  founders of the “Freedom Georgia Initiative,” a nearly 97-acre safe haven for people of color in Georgia created in response to Arbery’s death. The community was highlighted in a September CNN story.

A closing keynote address, “Let Their Names Add to Our Purpose,” will be delivered on the conference’s second day, Wednesday, April 7 from 12-1 p.m. by Tamika Palmer, the mother of the late Breonna Taylor, who was killed March 13, 2020, by police in Louisville, Kentucky, while executing a “no-knock” warrant, according to a November ABC News story.

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Media interested in covering the conference may contact Kenneth A. Reid, director of African American and Multicultural Affairs at Minnesota State Mankato, by phone at 507-389-6207 or by email at kenneth.reid@mnsu.edu.)

According to a conference preview, the 2021 conference will “explore the intersections of racial justice, political activism and engagement, and financial capital within the pan-African community. Inspired by prominent and behind-the-scenes Black women leaders, this year’s conference will:

  • honor the work of Black women who inspired communities to mobilize;
  • acknowledge pan-African unity in the pursuit of justice;
  • engage with Black and Brown public officials who seek reformation; and,
  • pour into souls whose vision is reminiscent of Black Wall Street

as we declare ‘Our Moment is NOW!’ in recognition of our people across the nation.”

The 2021 Pan African Conference co-chairs are Reid and Angela Titi Amayah, an assistant professor of management at Minnesota State Mankato. Titi Amayah’s research focuses primarily on leaders and their roles in readiness for change. Her other areas of interest include the experiences of women leaders in various cultures.

The Pan African Conference is committed to developing and enhancing the leadership skills in collegiate black young adults, as well as provide opportunities for academic scholars, professionals and community members to discuss issues that affect descendants of Africa on a local, national and international level.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 14,604 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which includes 30 colleges and seven universities.


Kenneth Reid

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