Lee Hagan Africana Studies Center Events

Celebrating the Resilience of the African Diaspora, 2022-2023


Guest speaker: Dr. Aishah Scott
The 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Celebration.

Attendance: 50 people.


Bio: Dr. Aishah Scott
Dr. Aishah Scott is a jointly appointed Assistant Professor of Black Studies and Health Science at Providence College. She is an advocate for social justice and closing gaps in healthcare for underrepresented communities. Her article "Erased by Respectability: The Intersections of AIDS, Race, and Gender in Black America" will be in the next issue of the Women, Gender, and Families of Color journal. Additionally, she has been interviewed about the state of Black health in America by NPR, Marketplace, among others and given many talks about racial health disparities disproportionately impacting the Black community in the United States. Dr. Scott is working on her book manuscript entitled, Respectability Can’t Save You: The AIDS Epidemic in Urban Black America. This work focuses on the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the African American community and the role of “respectability politics,” or moral policing, on state and community leaders from 1980-2010.

Dr. Scott teaches courses on AIDS, Race, and Gender in the Black Community, The Evolution of Black Politics, Health Policy, and Racial Health Disparities. In her classrooms, she pushes students to go beyond the surface of complex issues and to think about the application of history to their daily lives. She received her Ph.D. in Twentieth-Century American History at Stony Brook University where she specialized in the history of race and medicine. She previously earned her Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Stony Brook. She was also a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University.

She was recently awarded a grant from the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion office at Providence College to host a Health Equity speaker series. Her efforts in research, mentorship and community building were recognized by Stony Brook’s Center for Inclusive Education with the 2017 Scholar Award for Excellence and the 2019 Stony Brook Alumni Life Member Award.

Event description:
Dr. Aishah Scott’s presentation was titled “Converging Crises and Legacy of Neglect”, and she touched on themes such as medical racism, HIV/AIDS, and the disproportional impact of COVID-19 on African Americans.


Event, with LATI Academic Program at New Jersey City University & Saint Peter’s University. @ Grassroots Community Space
Guest speaker: Hippie Torrales
"A DJ’s Perspective on The African Diaspora and the Roots of Jersey Club Music”

Attendance: 20 people.


Bio: Hippie Torrales
Hippie Torrales began his DJing career at the age of 15. He came into recognition in NJ and NY after opening “Docks” with co-partner Nelson “Butchie” Nieves. After establishing himself as an innovative and creative jock, Hippie was recognized and hired to work at Abe’s Disco, which was the forerunner for Club Zanzibar. On Friday, August 31, 1979, opening night at Club Zanzibar – Hippie became the resident DJ and opening jock for the club.

During his tenure at Club Zanzibar, Hippie won the prestigious Billboard Disco Forum 8 Award for the best disc jockey in the State of New Jersey – in the same year Larry Levan won the award for New York. It was the last time those Billboard Awards were held. After his resident at Club Zanzibar, Hippie went on to play all the Jersey Shore night clubs. In addition to the club gigs, Hippie worked on music production and remixing. Some of his most notable mixes of that time period were Jimmy Ross’ – “Fall Into A Trance” and The Clark Sister’s – “You Brought The Sunshine”, which garnered them a 1 record of New York’s local radio station WBLS and also garnered them a Grammy nomination that year for Best Gospel.

In 1988, Hippie was approached by local record store owner, Joe Rodriguez from Music Village Records and asked Hippie to produce his own record. Hippie thought about the opportunity and went home, borrowed equipment from a friend and began working on his very first original production. He wrote, performed and produced "You’re Gonna Miss Me" by The Turntable Orchestra, which became a club classic in Europe and has sold over 2 million copies. It was from this moment on that Hippie began traveling overseas and DJing at international clubs and began writing a music column for Discoid Magazine, which was called “What Is Hip.”

Hippie’s remixing career took off when he partnered with Mark Mendoza and created MenTor Productions. They did numerous remixes which included such artists as Lisa Stansfield, Evelyn King, D’Lacy, and most notable Rosie Gaines. In 1997, Hippie and Mark produced Rosie Gaines’ Closer Than Close, which went top 5 in the British Pop Charts, has sold over 8 million units worldwide and garnered Rosie a Mobo award as Best International Single in 1997.

To date, Hippie continues to DJ and currently does an internet radio show on Tuesdays starting at 10am, on twitch.tv/cyberjamz_radio. He was also drafted into the DJ Hall of Fame in 2017.

Event description:
Hippie Torrales’ talk discussed the influences of African & Latin artists on dance music and the underground club culture for the last 50 years. He began his discussion on the birth of the DJ art form, then forked into the music they were playing in the clubs and how the choices were made for those songs. He also explained how these clubs became a safe place for the LGBTQI+ community, and the Latin and Black communities. He went through some history over the changes and influences that made underground dance music morph and adapt at the same time. Finally, he came full circle to some current underground music trends and how we got here.


Guest speaker: Zammeah Bivins-Gibson
Black History Month Opening Ceremony
Community Within… the Black Community, Where Are We Now?

Attendance: 70 people


Bio: Zammeah Bivins-Gibson, MSW
Zammeah Bivins-Gibson received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from the distinguished HBCU, Howard University and later graduated with her MSW from Rutgers University in May 2004. By September 2004, she was the Director of the Isaiah House Teen MAP program for pregnant and non-pregnant, homeless teenage girls where she reorganized, re-energized and revitalized the program. Showing such leadership and abilities led to her being recognized by the Isaiah House Board of Trustees, and in May 2012, she was appointed by the board to be Acting Executive Director when the outgoing Director retired.  Less than 6 months into the acting role, the Board of Trustees confidently appointed Mrs. Bivins-Gibson as the permanent Executive Director of Isaiah House.

Mrs. Bivins-Gibson’s experiences are comprehensive as they relate to servicing underserved populations. She has worked with the head injured, welfare recipients, women with high-risk behaviors, women with HIV/AIDS, adolescents and troubled families. In addition to running a multi-functional social services agency, Mrs. Bivins-Gibson, is a public speaker on many topics.

While she has been committed to the community and helping others for the last 27 years, she remains well rounded and involved in other recognizable arenas as well. She is a proud, active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Jack and Jill of America, member of the Howard University Alumni Association of New Jersey, National Association of Social Workers, Leadership Newark Fellow, Annual Presenter for Rutgers University Alternate Route Conference and former Advisory Member of the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills.  Mrs. Bivins-Gibson has received countless honors and awards from organizations such as The Jessie Banks Foundation, The East Orange Housing Authority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills and the SDA Church of the Oranges to name a few, for humanitarianism, community service and leadership as she continues to grow in her service to the community.

Event Description:
In this presentation, Mrs. Bivins-Gibson juxtaposes traditions the black community have had in the past and what is the norm for the community in the present. She sheds light on successful people in the black community and their accomplishments and highlights how they help uplift. She concludes by leaving the audience to ponder on what the black community can do to stay together.



Guest speakers: Dr. Jermaine McCalpin, Venida Rodman-Jenkins, Foday Koroma, and Thyquel Halley
“Sankofa: Reflections and Lessons from the Ghana Experience”

Attendance: 10 people + 5 on livestream

Event description:
Thyquel Halley and Foday Koroma are two New Jersey City University (NJCU) students who traveled to Ghana in the summer of 2022, accompanied by their mentors, Dr. Jermaine McCalpin and Venida Rodman-Jenkins. All four of them shared their takeaways from that experience, and how they are using those lessons in their efforts to contribute to their communities.


Event @ Grassroots Community Space
Guest speaker: Wade Hudson
Sharing Our Story

Attendance: 4 people.


Bio: Wade Hudson
Wade Hudson’s career in publishing spans four decades. He has written more than thirty-five books for young people including, AFRO-BETS Book of Black Heroes; Poetry from the Masters: The Pioneers; Jamal's Busy Day, and Powerful Words: More than Two Hundred Years of Extraordinary Writing by African Americans. He is co-editor with Cheryl of three anthologies published in partnership with Crown Books for Young Readers, including: The Talk: Conversations About Race, Love & Truth and Recognize! An Anthology Honoring and Amplifying Black Life. His most recent book is the coming-of-age memoir, Defiant: Growing up in the Jim Crow South, which Kirkus Reviews called a “powerful testimony from a children’s literature legend.” Defiant is a 2022 Malka Penn Award winner.     

In 1988, keenly aware of the need for more books for young people that celebrate and center Black people, history, and experiences, Wade and his wife Cheryl Willis Hudson founded Just Us Books. Grounded in the belief that “good books make a difference” – Just Us Books set out to publish the kind of positive, affirming titles that the couple wanted for their own two children. Under the Hudsons’ leadership, Just Us Books has become an institution in the publishing industry and Black community and remains one of the nation’s few Black-owned presses. In 2008, the Hudsons launched Marimba Books, an imprint that focuses on multicultural literature children. As publishers, authors and editors, the Hudsons have helped bring to market hundreds of diverse children’s books that inspire, educate, entertain and allow children to see themselves reflected in stories.

Event description:
“As a Black publisher and writer, as a seeker of truth, my journey has been focused clearly on finding what has been, not only been lost, but most often deliberately hidden or stolen, and strategically distorted. Giving life to this discovered reality, these revealed truths about who they really are, has been a primary mission.”

“In this presentation I not only share the story of Just Us Books, a publishing company started by my wife and me nearly 35 years ago, but I present those writers and publishers who came before, the pioneers and trailblazers, who like me, sought to share their stories, define themselves and advocate on their own behalf and for their people.”


Event w/ the Speicher-Rubin Women’s Center for Equity and Diversity & the Music, Dance & Theatre Department
Guest speaker: Tania León
“Celebrating Her Life in Music”

Attendance: 80 people.


Bio: Tania León
Tania León (b. Havana, Cuba) is highly regarded as a composer, conductor, educator, and advisor to arts organizations. Her orchestral work Stride, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, was awarded the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Music. In 2022, she was named a recipient of the 45th Annual Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements. Most recently, the London Philharmonic Orchestra announced Tania León as next Composer-in-Residence – a post she will hold for two seasons, beginning in September 2023.

Recent premieres include works for Los Angeles Philharmonic, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, NDR Symphony Orchestra, Grossman Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, and Jennifer Koh’s project, Alone Together. Appearances as guest conductor include Orchestre Philharmonique de Marseille, Gewandhausorchester, Orquesta Sinfónica de Guanajuato, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Cuba, among others. Upcoming commissions feature works for the League of American Orchestras, and Claire Chase, flute, and The Crossing Choir with text by Rita Dove.

A founding member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, León instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Community Concert Series, co-founded the American Composers Orchestra’s Sonidos de las Américas Festivals, was New Music Advisor to the New York Philharmonic, and is the founder/Artistic Director of Composers Now, a presenting, commissioning and advocacy organization for living composers.

Honors include the New York Governor’s Lifetime Achievement, inductions into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and fellowship awards from ASCAP Victor Herbert Award and The Koussevitzky Music and Guggenheim Foundations, among others. She also received a proclamation for Composers Now by New York City Mayor, and the MadWoman Festival Award in Music (Spain).

León has received Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Colgate University, Oberlin, SUNY Purchase College, and The Curtis Institute of Music, and served as U.S. Artistic Ambassador of American Culture in Madrid, Spain. A CUNY Professor Emerita, she was awarded a 2018 United States Artists Fellowship, Chamber Music America’s 2022 National Service Award, and Harvard University’s 2022 Luise Vosgerchian Teaching Award.

Event description:
Tania Leon shared stories from her childhood in Cuba, highlighting her grandmother’s impact in her music journey. Ms. Leon then described her story as a passenger in the Freedom Flights, and the many struggles she had to face as a young woman living alone in New York City. Remembering her grandmother’s words, she made sure to follow her dreams and focus on her talents. She helped found the Dance Theatre of Harlem, which was the first Black classical ballet company in NYC. Moreover, she described the joy and honor she feels to have been awarded with the Pulitzer Prize for music, and being a Kennedy Center Honoree (2023).


Event @ Grassroots Community Space
Guest speaker: Nyugen Smith
“Something Like Paradise”

Attendance: 8 people


Bio: Nyugen E. Smith
Nyugen E. Smith is a first-generation Caribbean-American interdisciplinary artist based in Jersey City, NJ. Through performance, found object sculpture, mixed media drawing, painting, video, photo, and writing, Nyugen deepens his knowledge of the historical and present-day conditions of Black African descendants in the diaspora. Trauma, spiritual practices, language, memory, architecture, and climate change are primary concerns in his practice.

Nyugen holds an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been presented at the Museum of Latin American Art, Peréz Art Museum, Museum of Cultural History, Norway, Nordic Black Theater, Norway, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and El Museo del Barrio among others. Nyugen is the recipient of the Creative Capital award, Leonore Annenberg Performing and Visual Arts Fund, Franklin Furnace Fund, Dr. Doris Derby Award, and Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant.

Event description:
In his presentation, Nyugen details the influences and research of the African diaspora that impacts the work he creates. With each art exhibition, he gives the audience an insight to the process and meaning behind it.


Housing & Residence Life at New Jersey City University
Guest speaker: Hyacinth Miller
“Black Women in Leadership Across the Diaspora”


Bio: Hyacinth Miller
Hyacinth Miller is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences - Rutgers Newark's Departments of Africana Studies and Political Science. She has also worked as a Lecturer in the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Her research focuses on Black women and politics, Caribbean immigrants in the Diaspora, immigrant political incorporation, and comparative politics. Hyacinth has conducted original research and presented conference papers on the subject of West Indians in the US, West Indians in elected office in New Jersey, Haitian Americans in the United States, and on multiple citizenship policies in the Caribbean. Her 2018 article “Black, Foreign-Born and Elected: West Indians in New Jersey’s Political Offices” was published in National Political Science Review 19(1), 79-96.

Prior to working for Rutgers University, Hyacinth spent more than 10 years working as a government affairs analyst and lobbyist and staffer to elected officials on the city and federal levels. She has also served as a criminal justice reform program associate and fundraising professional. Hyacinth sits on the board of ISS-USA, an organization that works to unite families across borders.

Event description:
Professor Miller’s presentation will provide a survey of some of the Black women in leadership positions across the globe, how they got there, some of the challenges they [have] face[d], and why it is imperative that the next generation become more involved. Her research focuses specifically on Black women in politics around the world.


Event w/ LATI (NJCU Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies)
Guest speaker: Dr. Jonathan Rosen
“Gangs, Organized Crime, and the Immigration Crisis in Latin America”

Attendance: 15 people + 20 people on Zoom


Bio: Jonathan D. Rosen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Jonathan D. Rosen is Assistant Professor in the Professional Security Studies Department at New Jersey City University. Dr. Rosen earned his Master’s in political science from Columbia University and received his Ph.D. in international studies from the University of Miami in 2012. Dr. Rosen’s research focuses on drug trafficking, organized crime, and security. He has published 20 books with Routledge, Lexington Books, Palgrave Macmillan, the University of Florida, and the State University Press of New York. He has published journal articles in Trends in Organized Crime, the Journal of Criminal Justice, Deviant Behavior, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, and Contexto Internacional, Revista CS, among other journals. He has participated in grant-funded research studies in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Mexico. In 2017, for example, Jonathan and his colleagues at Florida International University interviewed and surveyed nearly 1,200 active and former gang members in El Salvador.

Event description:
Dr. Rosen spoke about the trends in gangs and organized crime in the region. He focused on how these trends have impacted communities, particularly marginalized and underrepresented groups. The violence resulting from organized crime-related activities has impacted migration. He focused on numerous cases, including how groups like Afro-Colombians, Afro-Brazilians, and women from marginalized communities have been victims of violence. He also spoke about corruption and state fragility, which has hindered the ability of the state to protect vulnerable populations.


Event w/ Music, Dance, and Theatre Department
Guest speaker: Jerry Duplessis, known as Jerry Wonda
"The Impact of Black Culture on the Music Industry"

Attendance: 50 people (students + faculty)


Bio: Jerry "Wonda" Duplessis, Music Producer, Entrepreneur, Business Owner, Philanthropist at Wonda Music
Jerry "Wonda" Duplessis is a Haitian Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum music producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is widely regarded as one of the most successful and musically adept producers to emerge from the hip-hop era of the early 1990s, earning 3 Grammy Awards, over 16 Grammy nominations, a publishing catalog of 300+ titles, and 300+ million single and album copies sold. He has written, produced, performed, and directed for artists such as The Fugees, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Shakira, Carlos Santana, Melissa Etheridge, and Justin Bieber among many others. He has scored and produced songs for films and documentaries such as the Golden-Globe nominated “Million Voices” for Hotel Rwanda, and currently serves as a Co-Chair of the Grammy Producers & Engineers wing.

In addition to his work in music, Duplessis has developed a large portfolio of business ventures and investments, including founding one of New York City’s most iconic and long-standing music recording studios, Platinum Sound Recording Studios, and his own production company, Wonda Music. An avid philanthropist, he has also founded organizations such as the One World Project, WeThePlanet and the nonprofit Yéle Haiti, which provides assistance to Haiti in education, health, environment, and community development. He is currently a member of the board of directors for the Newark Symphony Hall and is currently working in conjunction with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka on “The Other Side of Newark,” a music program that provides educational and collaborative opportunities for underprivileged youth throughout the city.

Event Description:
Jerry Wonda talked about the ways his upbringing as an immigrant intertwines with his work. Alongside his cousin Wyclef Jean, with whom he immigrated from Haiti to America, Jerry Wonda went on to produce what is known as one of the best hip-hop albums of all time, “The Score”, by the hip-hop group “Fugees”. The success of this group was a cultural achievement for Haitians in America, and it represents their contribution to the hip-hop culture in this country. Wonda described hip-hop as a genre synonymous with Black culture. He also highlighted the importance of using his platform in promoting Black culture and representation in the entertainment industry. He talked about Black culture and music in the New York City and Jersey City scenes in the beginning of his career up to the present time. Finally, Wonda focused on the ways he is giving back to the Black community through his project “The Other Side of Newark”, which provides a platform for young Black musicians in the Newark area.


Event, w/ Music, Dance, and Theatre Department
Guest speaker: Nikisha Bailey
“Shifting the Coffee Industry Back to Black!”
(undertitle) “Win Win Coffee Bar: A Brand That is Bridging the Gap in Equity and Generational Wealth Across the Diaspora”

Attendance: 50 people (students + faculty)


Bio: Nikisha Bailey, Head of A&R Administration and Operations, Artist Partner Group (APG), Atlantic Records
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Nikisha Bailey has been a music industry professional in New York City for eight years. With a background in audio engineering, she has worked at Sony Studios, Def Jam Recordings, Atlantic Records, and is currently the head of A&R administration and operations for Artist Partner Group (APG). She is essential in executing all producer agreements and clearances and handles the overall logistics of the recording process. Playing a pivotal role between A&R, marketing, and business affairs, Bailey ensures that the artist and label can release products without liability and within budget. Her current roster includes Kevin Gates, Kehlani, Charlie Puth, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, and Ava Max.

Bailey loves connecting people, places, and things in a modern, meaningful manner. In 2018, she and industry friends founded Our Table, a bimonthly dinner series that brings key collaborators together in an intimate setting to break bread and move the culture forward through conversation.

She serves as chapter chair for Women in Music NYC where she works on solidifying long standing connections and memberships within the entertainment community

Event description:
Nikisha Bailey: From Music Executive to the Coffee Industry: Amongst her multiple ventures, Nikisha Bailey spoke about her pivot in the coffee industry. Bailey and business partner Matthew Namaste opened Win Win Coffee Bar in 2019 with their savings plus grants from Facebook and the NAACP. The Philly spot soon won the affection of the local Black community. Ms. Bailey described the challenges of opening a business right before the pandemic hit, and how she shifted the business to ecommerce and launched her own Win Win roast with a local minority-owned importer, roaster, and distributor, Bean2Bean.

“Win Win Coffee Bar positively disrupts the coffee industry by creating a unique supply chain that is 100% diaspora focused. We are hard at work to not only bring you your daily cup of java but also to reclaim coffee and the narrative around it as well as continuing to have an impact in growing our community.”

“As a coffee brand and roaster we are shifting the coffee industry back to black with more of the revenue of the industry going back to those from which it comes, bridging the gap in equity and generational wealth across the diaspora. We celebrate black rituals of consumption and our ancestors.”


Event, w/ NJCU LATI & Saint Peter's University
Guest speaker: Dr. Eliezer Marcellus
Event title: “Haiti: The Forgotten Pearl”

Attendance: 25 people on Zoom


Bio: Dr. Marcellus
Dr. Marcellus is an Assistant Dean at Rutgers University, Camden College of Arts and Sciences and regularly teaches mini-courses for the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies (LCS), such as "Haitians in the Diaspora" for Fall 2020. Dr. Marcellus serves as a Faculty Leader for the Department of Africana Studies/Health Sciences where students volunteer at local elementary schools in Haiti, working alongside doctors and nurses to promote public health.

Event description:
“Haiti: The Forgotten Pearl” w. Dr. Marcellus began his presentation by discussing Haiti’s history and the many misconceptions about this country. Haiti’s economic downfall was a main theme in this presentation alongside the transatlantic slave trade in the Caribbean, and then followed by the Haitian revolution. Dr. Marcellus analyzed Haiti’s economic downfall by focusing on factors such as reparations, lack of diplomatic and trade relations, and lack of investment. Dr. Marcellus was joined by Dr. Jermaine McCalpin and Councilwoman Charnette Frederic who made up this event’s panel.


Guest speaker: Dr. Lauren Johnson
“Diversity in Sports Leadership Careers; The Experiences and Current Opportunities Present for Black and Underrepresented Professionals in the Sports Industry.”

Attendance: 15 people + 20 people on Zoom


Bio: Dr. Lauren Johnson, Assistant Professor, Management/Sports Management
Dr. Lauren Johnson is a Management Professor at New Jersey City University. Her research interests include strategic leadership, consumer behavior in sport, and the globalization of the business of sport. She has disseminated her research in academic and sport business conferences around the world. Prior to academia, she has worked as a program director and consultant for professional sport organizations.

Event description:
The research presented is based on Dr. Johnson’s working paper titled Black Feminist Leadership in Sports. This is a part of her research line that examines strategic leadership behaviors of executives in sports.The purpose of this paper is to use feminist theory to help identify the issues and barriers that African American athletes and sporting administrators face today in society to help increase the amount of women in positions of power. African American women in the sports industry will be shown in this study to give a history of their achievements and current issues and opportunities. This paper will examine the role that intersectionality, fragmentation, and oppression can have in identifying where experiences of these women can be improved. Current efforts being made in the sports industry that include and advance women will also be observed to see if traces of these theories are implemented today.


Guest speaker: Karelle Hall
“Sovereignty and Race: Intersections of Nanticoke and Lenape Identities”

Attendance: 7 people


Bio: Karelle Hall
Karelle Hall is a PhD candidate in anthropology at Rutgers University. She received her bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in Anthropology with a minor in Native American Studies. Her dissertation research explores embodied and distributed Lenape diasporic sovereignty in public and performative spaces. She has taught classes in both cultural and linguistic anthropology at Rutgers University and has presented her preliminary research at conferences and colloquiums. As a member of the Nanticoke Indian Tribe, she has represented her nation at numerous events as both a speaker and dancer. She is actively working on Nanticoke language revitalization, including writing a children’s book and developing lessons for community classes. Using her experience and connections in the legal field, she assisted the Nanticoke Tribe with ratifying their recognition in the state of Delaware. She continues to work as an activist and representative for her community, promoting visibility, decolonization, and education.

Event description:
In her presentation Karelle Hall explored the shifting classifications and intersections of Black and Native identities, and their social and political impacts among the Nanticoke and Lenape people of the Delaware Bay. She delved into her experiences as a Black and Native woman, the lack of representation of those identities, and the absence of Native American history in the American education system.


Guest speaker: Dr. Jermaine McCalpin
“Undergraduate Research Symposium”
(undertitle) “Understanding Research: Google, Wikipedia and Beyond”

Attendance: 35 people (students, faculty, and administrators)


Bio: Jermaine O. McCalpin, Ph.D., Genocide Scholar, Assistant Professor, African and African American Studies Program, New Jersey City University
Dr. McCalpin is an internationally recognized expert and consultant on transitional justice, genocides, and reparations. He has traveled to South Africa, Cambodia, Armenia and across the United States and Canada researching and presenting on the Armenian genocide, the transatlantic trade in Africans and reparations, truth commissions and issues of justice. Dr. McCalpin specializes in Africana political philosophy, Caribbean political thought, and transitional justice. His research interests include truth commissions, commissions of enquiry and political accountability, reparations for historic injustice such as slavery, Native American and Armenian genocides.

His most recent publications are the co-edited volume (2018) Caribbean Reasonings: Rupert Lewis and the Black Intellectual Tradition and the Thought of Gordon K. Lewis (with Brian Meeks) 2015, the Grenadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the Journal of Social and Economic Studies September 2013, reparations for slavery in the Americas in“The Armenian Review, Spring 2013 and on the Haitian Truth Commission in The Global South, Spring 2012.

Event description: The Undergraduate Research Symposium was organized to showcase the research of Hagan Center’s Summer Research Scholars. Four NJCU students, Kayla Stroughn, Sally Mangasa, Ashley Igbokwe, and Ramona Concepcion, gave presentations about the research they conducted during the summer through the Hagan Summer Research Scholar Program (HSRSP). Under Hagan’s “Celebrating the Resilience of the African Diaspora, 2022-2024” program, these students presented diverse topics which connected to this program. Research themes included African Americans and the criminal justice system, limitations for African Americans in STEM fields, racism towards prominent Black figures, and Black identity. The students answered questions from the audience regarding their research process, working with their mentors, and the overall experience - firmly inspiring their peers and sparking their interest about research and such opportunities. Finally, Dr. Jermaine McCalpin was the keynote speaker for the Symposium, and he began this event with a presentation about understanding research and its importance.


Guest speaker: Dr. Phyllis Bivins-Hudson
Event title: “Flying on Broken Wings: The Story and the Process”

Attendance: 7 people + 35 people on Zoom


Bio: Dr. Phyllis Bivins-Hudson
Dr. Phyllis Bivins-Hudson has been in education since 1979, holding a BA in Elementary Education from New Jersey City University, an MA from Bread Loaf School of English, a Supervision Certification, a Principal's License, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Hudson has been an advocate for underprivileged and under-served students since she began her journey in education. Hence, her initial 14 years of teaching experience were spent in urban education and the following 12 years in communities with more diverse populations, all as a teacher of English language arts to middle school youngsters. Her tenure in education also includes administration, curriculum, and supervision. To further affect change in the field, she trains, mentors, conducts site visits, provides consulting recommendations and other education support to and for novice teachers through Rutgers Alternate Route Teacher Training Program, of which she is a co-founder and instructor since the program's inception in 2003. Dr. Hudson is also the District Mentor Coordinator for the iLearn Charter School Organization in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and an Education Consultant in her tri-state area, serving New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.

Dr. Hudson is the developer of the first through fourth editions of A Handbook for Mentors: Helping New Teachers Succeed & Persist, a project funded through the Diversifying the Teacher Pipeline grant awarded by the New Jersey Department of Education through Rutgers Center for Effective School Practices. Dr. Hudson has also authored District Mentoring for Quality Induction Program (Mentee/ Mentor Edition: Participant Workbook; The Back-to-School Survival Kit: A Jump-Start Workshop; The At-Risk Student; and her latest works include her book released in October of 2020, Flying on Broken Wings, a memoir with a strong focus on how education saved her from a world of despair. The memoir also has an accompanying Teacher's Guide and is currently being taught in high schools. In 2022, she was published in the scholarly Journal for Multiculturalism. The title of her publication is “Teachers Should be Humanitarians First”; this article features a close look at some of the inequities in today’s education system.

Event description:
This “Talk” will take the audience through the writing of Flying on Broken Wings as the author boldly shares what motivated her to write such a compelling story of childhood trauma in a life, she did not choose for herself. Yet, through her love for education, and a spirit too bold to be broken, she found her way to the other side of that trauma and became triumphant.

The author will also share snippets of her writing process and how long it took to complete this work which propelled her on a journey to freedom and unimaginable heights.


Universal Human Rights Month
Guest speaker: Stephanie Mills
“Lez Talk About It!”
(undertitle) “Human Rights for People Fighting Two Constant Battles (Homophobia & Racism)”

Attendance: 15 people


Bio: Stephanie Mills (She/Her)
Stephanie Mills is the Director of Programs for Hudson Pride Center. She champions leadership in the development, and planning of HPC’s evolving groups, as well as implementation of HPC’s Health Services. Stephanie oversees support groups and social programs at Hudson Pride. She manages the Client Services & Youth Program staff which provides Hudson County residents with preventative and treatment information surrounding HIV/AIDS, direct access to testing to determine their status, and — if found to be positive— assists them with navigating linkage to medical care, as well as with a variety of other care services that HPC supports.

Stephanie is a New Jersey native, born and raised in Paterson, where she obtained her high school diploma from East Side High, depicted in the famous film, “Lean On Me”. She graduated from William Paterson University, earning her B.A. in English. She served as an AmeriCorps member (AmeriCorps is a voluntary civil society program that engages adults in public service work with a goal of helping others and meeting critical needs in the community), which included mentoring and coordinating programs for high school students as well as serving as the Program Director for then-Mayor, Corey Booker’s “Brick City Serves” initiative, where she nurtured partnerships with schools, nonprofit organizations, and social services leaders to bridge community needs with effective resources.

Since joining the HPC team in 2011, Stephanie has contributed tremendous efforts to creating safer spaces throughout Hudson County for our LGBTQ+ community. She was unanimously voted as Vice Chair for the Hudson County HIV/AIDS Planning Council, proudly serves on the Jersey City AIDS Task Force, Jersey City Public School Early Childhood Advisory Council, recently committed to Partners In Prevention’s Board of Trustees and the Hudson County Substance Use Task Force. Her accomplishments include making her family proud, becoming a parent, being invited as a highlighted speaker for college LGBTQ+ focused events, being featured in the Business Equality Magazine (Top 40 under 40 LGBTQ+ Leaders) and being promoted to Director of Programs with Hudson Pride Center. She hopes to develop a robust LGBTQ+ presence and an inclusive community center in Paterson, NJ.

Event description:
Stephanie Mills gave a very educational and interactive presentation at New Jersey City University. In honor of Universal Human Rights Month, Ms. Mills spoke about the importance of human rights to the LGBTQI+ community. She talked about the ways her identity shaped her journey as an activist and leader, and shared examples of her experiences with homophobia and racism. She encouraged the guests to share their own stories and led a very interesting Q&A session. Ms. Mills’s event ultimately created a safe and comforting environment, especially for NJCU’s queer student body, particularly in light of recent events in Colorado Springs which cruelly targeted the LGBTQI+ community.

Talking points

  • Human rights for people fighting two constant battles (homophobia & racism)
  • Hudson Pride Center
  • Coming Out & Stigma - The need (and right) for inclusive & safer spaces
  • Identifying as Lesbian (Gender Identity vs Sexuality)
  • My experiences of discrimination (Being Black & Masculine presenting)
  • Sakia Gunn
  • Becoming a parent (How my ethnicity & LGBTQ+ identity shapes my parenting)
  • LGBTQ+ History Curriculum
  • Protect, Love, & Support Black Trans Women
  • How NJCU can continue to support Black LGBTQ+ Community