Various University of Georgia departments have come together to sponsor the 2021 Symposium on Recognition, Reconciliation and Redress this Friday and Saturday, a virtual look back at slavery on campus and the repercussions Athens faces today because of it.
The two-day event will consist of 14 sessions detailing the university’s ties to slavery, including lectures from guest speakers and performances from UGA students and community members. Sessions one through seven will be held Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The remaining sessions will be held the next day from 9 a.m. until 5:45 p.m.
Each session will last about an hour and groups will break for a 30-minute lunch both days.
Topics of discussion will include Athens’ connection to the Indian Removal Act, the fight for reparations and justice for former residents of Linnentown and the experiences of Black UGA students decades after racial integration in the 1960s.
Also prompted to speak at the symposium are Phaidra Buchanan and Kyle Patel, co-founders of Beyond Baldwin, a student-led organization that formed in summer 2020 after construction workers uncovered slave remains while renovating Baldwin Hall in 2015 and the five years of community activism that followed.
Beyond Baldwin advocates for a higher minimum wage for university employees, and pushes UGA to acknowledge its history of racism, and also fighting for closure of the race gap separating students and faculty on campus.
Aside from lectures and discussions, musical and theatrical performances will shine a light on racial injustice. Students and faculty from the Department of Theatre and Film Studies will perform a piece that will “explore the methods and benefits of collaborative interdisciplinary teaching for the study of slavery,” according to the symposium’s program. The symposium will close with a performance from East Athens Educational Dance Center Performance Group.
“This virtual symposium will be a space for a conversation among a broad group of people and organizations interested in exploring racial justice within and beyond the UGA community,” according to a description on the event’s program.
The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required and can be found on the symposium website.