Walking the Talk: Be inspired by CLA grads using their influence for social change
This event was held online via Zoom.
The College of Liberal Arts is hosting a series of roundtable discussions with community leaders that seeks to answer the question “What’s next for us to eliminate institutional and systemic racism in society in the wake of George Floyd’s death?”
Learn more about the What's Next? series
Share your thoughts...we’re listening
If you were able to attend this event, or viewed the recording, please let us know what resonated with you.
CLA is grounded in the principle that through the liberal arts we can examine, influence, and build a better society for everyone. Many of our graduates are doing just that, and especially in the arena of racial justice. A few of them will share their stories. All of us will be inspired.
- Ernest Comer III, Presidential Co-Chair, UMN Black Alumni Network; Associate Director, African American Leadership Forum (BA '09, speech communication)
- Suzie Hewitt, Senior Lead Marketing Manager, Lumen Technology (Bachelors of Individualized Studies '14)
- Amber Jones, Community Outreach Coordinator, Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage (BA '15, African American & African studies)
- Toussaint Morrison, Writer, Actor, Community Organizer, On Site Public Media (BA '06, theatre arts)
- Keith Mayes, Associate Professor, Department of African American & African Studies
Ernest Comer III is the Associate Director of the African American Leadership Forum, he is co-leading the organization and driving leadership development initiatives for the Black community. As an entrepreneur, professional, philanthropist, and author he is dedicated to connecting businesses and individuals to resources for continuous learning and enrichment. Ernest is a career advancement strategist with more than a decade of experience encouraging highly effective solutions to meet exceptional standards and create unforgettable experiences. A husband and father of two Ernest is passionate about personal and professional growth, wellness, and education. He works to provide greater exposure to unpopular examples of leadership, influence, and success helping people get further faster while being more satisfied in the work that they do.
Suzie Hewitt has found success in male-dominated industries such as sports and entertainment, and the technology sector. Following a long career working in professional sports, managing talent, and brand, Suzie is currently a Sr. Lead Marketing Manager for Lumen Technology, formerly CenturyLink. Over the years, Suzie has worked with executive leadership to change habits, transform management styles, and identify ways for these individuals to create a more inclusive, healthy, and balanced environment both at work and at home. Suzie is passionate now more than ever to help people of color and women become their authentic self and walk through life and corporate America with a purpose.
Amber Jones is originally from Chicago, IL, and has lived in the Twin Cities for the past nine years. She is currently the Outreach Coordinator for the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage, an agency of the State of Minnesota. She possesses over ten years of community engagement, advocacy, and leadership experience. She has worked in various public and non-profit industries, including education, community & economic development, museums, & state government. Amber has done everything from leading community engagement initiatives in large institutions to build better relationships with African American communities, to organizing several policy and advocacy campaigns for systemic change at multiple levels of government. She is committed to increasing access & participation in social, economic, and political processes among communities of color; to cultivating the next generation of leaders; and to encouraging unity and self-determination among people of African descent. Amber graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities with a B.A. in African American & African Studies and a minor in Political Science.
Keith Mayes is an Associate Professor of African American & African Studies at the University of Minnesota and the Horace T. Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor. Holding a Ph.D. in History from Princeton University, his professional interests include the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement; education policy and history; black holiday traditions; and racial equity and critical ethnic studies pedagogy. Professor Mayes authored the book Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African American Holiday Tradition and is currently working on The Unteachables: Civil Rights, Disability Rights and the Origins of Black Special Education. Professor Mayes also established the Mayes Educational Group, LLC, which provides consultant, professional development, and training services in the areas of racial equity; curriculum development; ethnic studies and social studies, and special education.
Toussaint Morrison is a writer, filmmaker, and community organizer. Hailing from New Orleans, and raised in South Minneapolis, Morrison pivoted from his initial passion for theater and into moderating intervention-based forums across the country addressing racism, sexism, sexual assault, substance abuse, and transphobia. His work has now shaped into a public media outlet as On Site Public Media where he hosts forums in communities to discuss tough topics and also lead marches addressing social justice.