Let's Talk About Race

The urgent need to come together as a community to discuss racism and institutional barriers and how we will overcome them to become a truly diverse and inclusive university is clear. Over the coming year, the Office of Inclusive Excellence will launch “Let’s Talk about Race,” a series of university-wide lectures, town halls, and other events to foster conversations toward achieving our goal of deep cultural and structural transformation.

On this page:

Past Events

Mary B. Talbert oval portrait.
Photo: The Buffalo History Museum

Date & Time: Thursday, September 24, 12:00-1:30 pm (click here to watch a recording of the event)

Intended Audience: UB Faculty, Staff, Students and Alumni, and local community members

In celebration of the newly named Mary Talbert Way on UB’s North Campus, we invite you to learn more about Mary Burnett Talbert’s extraordinary life and work. Talbert is described by the National Women’s Hall of Fame as a “civil rights and anti-lynching activist, suffragist, preservationist, international human rights proponent, and educator.” Her pioneering work in the fight for freedom laid the foundation for the civil rights movement, and her legacy continues to this day.

Presented by the Office of Inclusive Excellence


Image of Dr. Williams smiling.

Lillian S. Williams (Panelist) is Associate Professor and former chair of the Department of African American Studies. For more than 40 years, Williams has worked to retrace and commemorate Mary Talbert’s life and social justice efforts. She is the author of Strangers in the Land of Paradise and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites and the Michigan Street African American History and Culture Commission.

Image of Wiley-Upshaw smiling.


Lillie Wiley-Upshaw (Panelist) is chair of the Buffalo Niagara Freedom Station Coalition and Co-Chair of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission, and focuses on the significant impact African American struggles for individual liberties have had on Buffalo and the broader region. 


Image of Dr. Emberton smiling.

Carole Emberton (Moderator) is Associate Professor in the Department of History. Through her research on the Civil War era, Emberton examines how violence shapes our social, political, and cultural worlds both past and present.  She is currently completing a book on the testimonies of ex-slaves collected by the Federal Writers’ Project in the 1930s.

A Call to Action: Town Hall with the Provost and Unit Diversity Officers at UB

Date & Time: Wednesday, July 15, 3:00-4:30pm

Intended Audience: UB Faculty, Staff and Students

In recent weeks, broad cross-sections of UB faculty, students, alumni and staff have been meeting to identify collective strategies and action items to address the persistent inequities perpetrated on Black/African American, Indigenous, Hispanic/LatinX, and other People of Color. These conversations are part of a larger, national reckoning from years of structural racism sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Such struggles have a long history at UB, and were highly visible in the student protests of the 1960s and 70s, which launched new UB programs, including African American Studies, Puerto Rican Studies, and Native American Studies. Yet despite efforts to advance impactful and sustainable change at UB, barriers to equity remain. How can we move forward together with action now that will accelerate changing the culture at UB and create a university continuously engaged in reflecting on and correcting bias in its policies and practices?

This program brings together Provost A. Scott Weber and Unit Diversity Officers (UDO’s) from UB schools to review the concerns about racial, institutional and social inequities faced by students, faculty, and staff, and to discuss constructive, actionable steps to address long-standing issues. There will be an opportunity to send questions or suggestions via text message before and during the program by texting realtalk to 88202 followed by your question.

Presented by the Office of Inclusive Excellence

"Real Talk About Race" with Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington

Image of Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington smiling.

Date & Time: Friday, June 19, 12:00-1:00pm

Intended Audience: UB Faculty, Staff, Students and Alumni

June 19, 1865 marks the day that Union General Gordon Granger led troops into Galveston, Texas to let nearly 250,000 enslaved folks know that the government had emancipated them. Each year many in the African American community commemorate this emancipation in a celebration known as Juneteenth. Today, 155 years later, there is still work to be done. At this event, the UB community joined Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington, President and Founder of the Washington Consulting Group for a real conversation about race, racism and the role of universities in moving society forward to the next round of freedom, followed by a Q&A session.

Presented by the Office of Inclusive Excellence

More about Rev. Dr. Washington

Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington is the President and Founder of the Washington Consulting Group, named by the Economist as one of the Top 10 Global Diversity Consultants in the world. Dr. Washington has served as an educator, administrator, and consultant in higher education for over 36 years. He serves as an invited instructor in the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is the President and Co-Founder of the Social Justice Training Institute and a Past President of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). Dr. Washington also serves as the Pastor of Unity Fellowship Church of Baltimore and is an Elder in the Unity Fellowship Church Movement. He currently chairs the board for Many Voices, a Black church movement for gay and transgender justice.

Dr. Washington earned his Ph.D. in College Student Development from the University of Maryland College Park, and a Master of Divinity from Howard University. He has received many awards and honors, including the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Legends of Excellence Award for his contribution to the lives and education of Black and LatinX faculty, staff and students.

In addition to his work in higher education, Dr. Washington has an extensive list of corporate, non-profit, government, and faith organization clients. Some of his clients include Starbucks, Wachovia, Wells Fargo, Shell Oil, Boston Bank, Green Peace, Human Rights Campaign, The Taskforce, The Peace Corps, the Government Office of Accountability, The Presbyterian Church International, Metropolitan Community Church, and the Baptist Church Convention.

Ongoing Events

Black Lives Matter Book Club

During this moment of reckoning with systemic racism, the legacies of slavery in America, misogynoir, and police brutality, the Gender Institute will host a virtual book club featuring the work of Black feminist scholars, public intellectuals, and activists during the 2020-2021 academic year facilitated by Mopelolade Ogunbowale (Visiting Assistant Professor,Transnational Studies) and Dana Venerable (Ph.D. Candidate, English). Register here: https://bit.ly/GIBookClub. For more information visit the Gender Institute website.

Presented by the Gender Institute