The Black Awareness Coordinating Committee (BACC) was formed during the Spring 1969 quarter at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The purpose of the group was "to foster and sustain an awareness of Black people being an integral part of our nation's society."
In 1977, the organization touted itself as being the only organization "run exclusively for and by minority students." At the time, the groups membership consists mostly of Black and Puerto Rican undergraduates, though several graduate students belonged to the organization as well. Some of the programs sponsored by BACC included a Black student orientation, Black Awareness Week, and Educational Day. Educational Day was designed to introduce inner city high school students to the world of higher education. Throughout the years, the group sponsored various events such as a presentation by Dick Gregory, a talk on Frederick Douglass, and a memorial celebration in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1991 when the Commission for Promoting Pluralism was established, partnering with BACC to deliver the annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. That April, the Commission held what was then called the Conference on Racism. Twenty years later, in 2002, the Commission renamed the conference to the Expressions of Diversity Conference. Then in 2010, the Annual Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King was combined into a week-long celebration named: Expressions of King’s Legacy. Which was led by the President’s Commission on Pluralism and Inclusion held in January. 2012 marks the year that this program was moved under the Office for Diversity & Inclusion, continuing with the name of Expressions of King’s Legacy. Many campus members played an important role in the start of this celebration and the continuing of it as the longest standing diversity program at RIT.
Thank you for making our 35th Anniversary one to remember!
Keynote speaker: Fredricka Whitfield
Fredricka Whitfield is an anchor for CNN/U.S. She is based in the network's world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Whitfield anchors the weekend edition of CNN Newsroom.
Since joining CNN in 2002, she has reported from all over the world including the Persian Gulf region during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Beijing during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, London at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games and Washington, D.C. during the 2009 presidential inauguration.
Prior to CNN, Whitfield was a correspondent for NBC News and served as an Atlanta-based correspondent for NBC Nightly News, The Today Show and Dateline NBC. She covered stories such as the highly contested 2000 presidential race and the resulting ballot recount as well as the 1996 Olympics, the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta and the manhunt for bomber Eric Rudolph. Whitfield also reported on the 1999 refugee crisis in Macedonia during the Kosovo War.
Before her time at NBC, Whitfield was a reporter and anchor at WPLG-TV in Miami, an evening anchor for News Channel 8 in Washington, D.C., and a general assignment reporter at KTVT-TV in Dallas as well as at WTNH in New Haven, Conn. She began her professional career as a reporter and morning anchor for WCIV in Charleston, S.C.
In her nearly three decades long career, Whitfield has garnered multiple awards and honors for her broadcasting. In 2000 she earned an Emmy award nomination for long form storytelling. Her other notable awards include the 2002 Howard University School of Communications Alumna of the year, 2004 Alfred I. DuPont Award winning team for CNN’s coverage of the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia, 2005 George Peabody award for the network’s live coverage of Hurricane Katrina and aftermath, 2005 Ebony award for Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications, 2007 Emmy award for outstanding live coverage of a breaking news story long form, 2008 NAMD Communicator of the year, 2008 Howard University postgraduate achievement in the field of Journalism, and 2009 NYABJ long form feature. Whitfield was also a part of the network’s Peabody Award winning coverage of the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill and the 2011 Arab Spring.
Whitfield earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Howard University.
Experience the vocals of the Fisk Jubilee Singers
The Fisk Jubilee Singers are vocal artists and students at Fisk University in Nashville, TN., who sing and travel worldwide.
The original Jubilee Singers introduced ‘slave songs’ to the world in 1871 and were instrumental in preserving this unique American musical tradition known today as Negro spirituals.
They broke racial barriers in the US and abroad in the late 19th century and entertained Kings and Queens in Europe. At the same time, they raised money in support of their beloved school.
In 1999, the Fisk Jubilee Singers were featured in Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory, a PBS award-winning television documentary series, produced by WGBH/Boston.
In July 2007, the Fisk Jubilee Singers went on a sacred journey to Ghana at the invitation of the U.S. Embassy. It was a history making event, as the ensemble traveled to Ghana for the first time and joined in the celebration of the nation’s Golden Jubilee, the 50th independence anniversary.
In 2008, the Fisk Jubilee Singers were selected as a recipient of the 2008 National Medal of Arts, the nation's highest honor for artists and patrons of the arts. The award was presented by President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush during a ceremony at the White House.
The Fisk Jubilee Singers continue the tradition of singing the Negro spiritual around the world. This allows the ensemble to share this rich culture globally while preserving this unique music.
Judge Robert L. Wilkins
Judge Wilkins was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on January 15, 2014. A native of Muncie Indiana, he obtained a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 1986 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1989. Following law school, Judge Wilkins served as a law clerk to the Honorable Earl B. Gilliam of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. In 1990, he joined the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where he served first as a staff attorney in the trial and appellate divisions and later for several years as Special Litigation Chief. In 2002, he joined the law firm of Venable LLP as a partner, handling white-collar defense, intellectual property and complex civil litigation matters. During his tenure with the Public Defender Service and in private practice, Judge Wilkins served as the lead plaintiff in Wilkins, et al. v. State of Maryland, a landmark civil rights lawsuit that inspired nationwide legislative and executive reform of police stop-and-search practices and the collection of data regarding those practices. Judge Wilkins also played a key role in the establishment of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, serving as the Chairman of the Site and Building Committee of the Presidential Commission whose work led to the Congressional authorization of the museum and the selection of its location. As a practicing lawyer, he was named one of the “40 under 40 most successful young litigators in America” by the National Law Journal (2002) and one of the “90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years” by the Legal Times (2008). On December 27, 2010, Judge Wilkins was appointed United States District Judge for the District of Columbia, where he served until his appointment to the D.C. Circuit.
An Evening of Music | Thursday, January 28, 2017 | 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. | Third Presbyterian Church | 4 Meigs Street Rochester NY
Experience the vocals of the Fisk Jubilee Singers
Also featuring Kearstin Piper Brown and The Chancel Choir of Third Presbyterian Church
- Ailey II
- Justin Kauflin
- Borinquen Dance Theatre
- Sister Outsider
- Kelly Hall Tompkins
- Craig Ketter
- Curtis Babers
- THREE MO’ TENORS
- The Meeting – a play by Jeff Stetson
- Joshua Bennett
- Garth Fagan Dance Company
- David Johnson