Mason School to Host Community Leaders for a Free, Virtual Discussion on The Black Experience
On Tuesday, January 26th at 12 PM EST, the Raymond A. Mason School of Business will host the next installment of its Mason D&I Perspective Series. The hour-long virtual event is open to current students, staff, faculty, alumni, and Executive Partners, and will focus on the awakenings of 2020 and the events which brought greater attention to systemic racial inequalities and injustices that impact communities of color across the United States.
“There were a number of events that collided in 2020 to make the year cathartic on issues regarding race and equality,” said Maurice Jones, CEO and President of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and panelist for the event. “One was certainly the pandemic and the disproportionate impact that it had on communities of color. The second piece is we’re seeing events like the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor and people can’t help but be moved. The culmination of these events being broadcast to a captured audience all in the same year really awakened more folks to the journey that the country still has to navigate when it comes to racial justice.”
A native of Virginia, Jones has lived in and served the Hampton Roads community for the last 15 years. He was President of Pilot Media, serving in several organizational capacities before becoming the President and Publisher of The Virginian-Pilot in 2008. He was appointed Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and served as the Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia before assuming his current role at LISC where he leads one of the country’s largest organizations supporting projects to revitalize communities and catalyze economic opportunity for residents.
“What I hope people walk away from a gathering like this with is a resolve to make sure that we don’t go back to making peace with racial injustices,” Jones said. “These injustices were not created by any of the events that occurred in 2020. They simply were highlighted for folks in a way that was uniquely powerful. An event like this at the Mason School will continue the drumbeat for resolving these inequalities, solving these problems, and closing these gaps that break down along race.”
Jones will be joined by Dr. Rex Ellis and Ron Busby, Sr. on the discussion panel for the Mason School’s January 26th event.
Ellis served as the Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) at the Smithsonian Institute before his retirement in 2019. He was previously the Vice President of the Historic Area for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and was the first African American to hold the position in the foundation’s history.
Busby is currently the President and CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) and serves on the Pfizer Small Business Council, National Newspapers Publishers Association Foundation Board of Directors, and the White House African American Leadership Council. He is a former successful businessowner, growing his first company, USA Superclean from $150,000 annualized revenue to over $15 million in only ten years and was recognized as the largest Black-owned janitorial firm in the country.
The panel will be moderated by Dr. Tatia Granger, Clinical Associate Professor in Organizational Behavior at the Mason School. Granger’s extensive experience in leadership coaching at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional and executive levels will help to facilitate the discussion as panelists explore and address the challenges and opportunities related to race and equality.
“This session, as many of the others in our D&I Perspectives Series offers an opportunity for listeners to do just that, listen; and then, process and decide what’s next for them as individuals and as members of the Mason School community. We’ve all seen how important self-reflection can be when we are engaged around difficult topics, so I hope that the conversation finds its way into each participant’s head and heart as the factual profile that it is,” Granger said.
For more information and to register for the free, virtual event on January 26th, visit Mason D&I Perspectives Series: Race in America – The Black Experience.