BFPSA’s 2021 Luncheon: Local Partnerships, Powerful Speakers, Uplifted Community
The Black Faculty and Professional Staff Association (BFPSA) was proud to host its annual Black History Month Celebration on Feb. 24, 2021. The Office of Equality and Diversity, the Center for Black Culture, the Student Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Center for Inclusive Education and Scholarship sponsored the BFPSA virtual lunch experience.
This year's theme was We Shall Overcome, highlighting resilience in the face of hardship caused by the pandemic and racial injustices, which have both disproportionately affected Black communities. The event drew over 150 faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members. In the spirit of the on-campus luncheon, the BFPSA partnered with two local Black-owned restaurants, Victoria's Kitchen and Supreme Oasis, to facilitate a virtual soul food luncheon experience for Drexel students, faculty and staff within Philadelphia. This unique and creative solution was the first of its kind, delivering lunch to 40 faculty and staff around the city via meal delivery services, in addition to 30 staff and students on campus who were able to pick up their lunch at the Center for Black Culture. Though this effort was logistically complex, BFPSA was committed to supporting small businesses who have been greatly impacted by the pandemic, as well as upholding the festive community feeling of their annual luncheon. When asked about the remote lunch, one attendee commented, "It was special to me because I still was able to feel connected."
President John Fry opened the luncheon experience with poignant remarks acknowledging the past year's challenges and his commitment to restoring trust and inclusivity on campus. Jerry Martin, president of Drexel's Black Alumni Council and newly elected member of the Board of Trustees; Kim Gholston, Chief Diversity Officer; and Shardé Johnson, director of the Center for Black Culture, spoke of the resilience of Drexel's Black community and the reaffirmation of anti-racism work on campus.
Kande Duncan and Angel Hogan stole the show with beautiful representations of Black artistic expression through music and poetry. Keynote speaker Maurice Cottman, director of the Student Center for Diversity and Inclusion, delivered a transformative address that inspired all attendees and provided a call to action to stand up in the face of injustice.
The Black History Month Luncheon received glowing feedback from attendees. One participant said, "The event was very memorable, and I am thankful that we were able to see faces and talk in fellowship still. The poems and the singing were outstanding or, as one would say, speechless and touching. The hosts and planners did a wonderful job, and they are appreciated for making this happen, especially during this time in our history."
BFPSA's Executive Board is led by Ahaji Schreffler, Allen Riddick, Monet Harbison and Denise Marie Snow.
Watch the luncheon's remarkable program lineup in the video above.
- 00:05 Ahaji Schreffler, President of BFPSA
- 03:10 President John A. Fry Remarks
- 09:03 Jerry Martin, Trustee & Drexel Black Alumni Council President
- 14:24 Shardé Johnson, Director of the Center for Black Culture
- 16:45 Kim Gholston, Chief Diversity Officer
- 21:36 Moment of Silence
- 22:53 Kande Duncan, Student Performance of "Lift Every Voice and Sing"
- 27:17 Kaleb Curtis, Student Leader
- 29:22 Maurice Cottman, Director of the Student Center for Diversity & Inclusion — Keynote
- 40:58 Angel Hogan, Department Manager in LeBow, Poem Reading
- 46:38 Allen Riddick, Vice President of BFPSA