The Springfield College Division of Inclusion and Community Engagement was proud to host its first Courageous Conversations Series sponsored by Berkshire Bank on Wednesday, April 14. The event featured award-winning journalist and CEO of Ernest Media Empire, LLC. Ernest Owens.
"Thank you to Springfield College for having me, and it was an honor to be a part of such a great conversation on very important topics," said Owens. "There is so much going on in the world right now, and to have these courageous conversations is necessary because we have seen so much happen from last June to now, and there is still so much more that has to change. It was great to see the impressive numbers of people who took part in the virtual event, and it's always great to hear from students, so I thank everyone for being a part of the discussion."
Owens’ presentation focused on social justice consumption, with an emphasis on how individuals can take direct action. He provided best practices and tips on how individuals can be more than just a bystander to the movement, but an actual change agent. Following Owen's presentation, the audience was treated to a Q&A session.
“The Division of Inclusion and Community Engagement was so excited to hear from Mr. Owens and have him as our inaugural Courageous Conversation Speaker,” said Springfield College Vice President for Inclusion and Community Engagement Dr. Calvin Hill. “Mr. Owens brought wit, and openness to our series. The idea for our Courageous Conversations series came about based on several summer conversations on race, where members of the Springfield College community came together to discuss how issues of racism impact us all.”
Owens is the editor-at-large for Philadelphia Magazine and president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. He also is the host of the hit podcast "Ernestly Speaking!" As an openly Black, gay journalist, he has made headlines for speaking frankly about intersectional issues in society regarding race, LGBTQ, and pop culture.
“Our goal in hosting this series is to bring increased awareness on dismantling and interrupting bias, racism, xenophobia, and the like as we strive to be a campus and community where all feel and know that they belong regardless of our differences,” added Hill.
In 2018, Owens launched his growing media company that specializes in multimedia production, consulting, and communications. Owens’ work has been featured in The New York Times, and The Washington Post, and on CNN, and other media outlets. He has won countless honors, which include landing on the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 list, winning a Sigma Delta Chi Award, and receiving the 2019 NEXT Award by the American Society of Magazine Editors.
"We are so pleased to support the Courageous Conversations Program because we feel it’s important to foster dialogue around sometimes divisive issues to help us find common ground and solve problems together," said Berkshire Bank Regional President Jim Hickson. "One of our Foundation’s key priorities is providing opportunities for learning around social justice issues and solutions. This program will go a long way toward that goal.”
The Springfield College Courageous Conversations series continues a commitment by the College to stress the need for action pertaining to topics on social justice and equality. The goal of the series is to bring increased awareness on dismantling and interrupting bias, racism, xenophobia, and strive to be a campus where all feel and know that they belong regardless of differences.
Springfield College is an independent, nonprofit, coeducational institution founded in 1885. Approximately 4,100 students, including 2,500 full-time undergraduate students, study at its main campus in Springfield, Mass., and at its regional campuses across the country. Springfield College inspires students through the guiding principles of its Humanics philosophy – educating in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others.