Black Employee Association event: Looking Back & Moving Forward
Please join the Black Employee Association (BEA) of Henry Ford College at our event, “Looking Back & Moving Forward”, on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to participate.
This event commemorates the first meeting (June 29, 2020) of the HFC group that later became the BEA.
The event will feature an address from Dr. Kimberly Hurns, a noted leader in higher education in Michigan.
Our panelists from Michigan colleges and universities will share their reflections on the year 2020 and visions for the future. Our conversation will touch on issues related to higher education, diversity/equity/inclusion/justice, and insights on perseverance in work and life, in the wake of a tumultuous year.
Black Employee Association President
Black Employee Association statement
The birth of the Black Employee Association (BEA) at Henry Ford College (HFC) was a direct result of the protests and activism seen across the country in the wake of multiple deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police and civilians during 2020. While the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 was a tipping point and spurred increased activism and conversations, the stark reality, according to data collected by the Washington Post, shows that by May 25, 101 Black Americans had already been shot and killed by police in the U.S. These events do not occur in a vacuum; they leave an imprint on hearts and minds and communities. Our College community was affected, just as the rest of the country was. An official HFC statement was released on June 4, 2020, and a town hall held on June 11, 2020. The first meeting of what would become the BEA was held on June 29, 2020.
As we approach the anniversary of that first meeting, it is appropriate to reflect on recent history and cast our vision toward the future. Our event on June 29, 2021, “Looking Back & Moving Forward,” seeks to do just that, and to widen our perspective, by providing an opportunity to discuss 2020—a truly unforgettable year—with members of Black affinity groups and higher education professionals at Michigan colleges and universities.
Coupled with the crisis of disproportionate violent deaths of Black Americans was the impact of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). By June 29, 2020, HFC’s campus had been closed since March 2020 due to the executive orders issued by the governor of the State of Michigan and the Wayne County Health Authority. The COVID-19 pandemic would impact our nation in ways great and small, and not only because of the death toll caused by the virus. The pandemic laid bare and exacerbated many of the racial and ethnic (as well as socioeconomic or class) disparities that have plagued Black people since before this country’s founding.
These events were catalysts in creating the BEA. It is important to recognize one’s forebears, and the BEA owes a debt of gratitude to the many trailblazing Black employees at HFC. These groundbreaking pioneers helped sow the seeds for our organization to exist. Along with many individual contributions, a through line can be drawn between the BEA and the Henry Ford College African American Faculty Association (founded in the 1990s). This group had a similar mission and purpose to today’s BEA.
Many Black employees want HFC to be more proactive in its responsiveness to their concerns, and this desire for meaningful action is not solely tethered to recent events. There are longstanding negative feelings due to racism, mistreatment, and inequity experienced by Black employees and Black students. The results of a recent campus climate survey conducted by HFC underscores these sentiments. The BEA exists as a response to all these events.
The BEA looks forward to a future of continued collaboration with HFC to fulfill and advance its mission of being a Welcoming College, where all employees are supported, and all students are nurtured in a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just educational environment.
BEA Executive Board and “Looking Back & Moving Forward” Event Planning Committee
Chardin Claybourne, President
Brandi Jackson, Vice President
Doris Toney, Corresponding Secretary
Ledgra Johnson, Recording Secretary
Shai James-Boyd, Treasurer
Wanda Chukwu, Historian
Ashley Hodge, Ex-Officio Officer
Shanna Simpson-Singleton, Event Planner / Vice President, 2020-21
Jessica Shamberger, Event Planner / Recording Secretary, 2020-21
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Kimberly Hurns
Dr. Kimberly M. Hurns is the Executive Vice President of Instruction and Academic Affairs at Washtenaw Community College. She has served in progressive leadership roles, actively increasing engagement among faculty and staff. Hurns began her community college career as a full-time business faculty member.
As a first-generation college student, Hurns is passionate about increasing access and college completion. She is motivated by successful initiatives to drive measurable student success and transform delivery, support, and educational processes to better serve diverse groups of students in an equitable and inclusive way.
Prior to Hurns' career change to education, she worked in the technology industry in sales, marketing, and project management positions. Hurns has been a part of multiple entrepreneurial endeavors, including social media consulting and part ownership of a micro-blog site.
Hurns is the state chair of MI-ACE Women’s network, an affiliate of the American Council of Education. She is extremely proud of the privilege to serve and support women across the state as they make an impact at their institutions.
Hurns is married to Norman Clayton Hurns Jr. He is a professional counselor who leads the counseling department at a public high school. They have three children: Rhyan, who is a junior in high school, Norman Jr. who is a sophomore, and Kyla, who is a sophomore at The Ohio State University.
Dr. Hurns is a life-member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
St. Clair Community College
Director, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Jeneen Conley-Berry, M.Ed.
Wayne State University
LaMarcus D. Howard, PhD
Eastern Michigan University
Director, Disability Resource Center, President, EMU BFSA
Charles G. Ransom
University of Michigan
Multicultural Studies Librarian, University of Michigan Library Executive Board Member, U of M Association of Black Professionals, Faculty, Administrators, & Staff