Newark Mayor Ras Baraka To Be Featured Panelist In NJPAC’s ‘Standing In Solidarity Celebration’ Of HBCUs


Photos: NJPAC\City of Newark

May 28, 2024 — Newark, NJ — New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) will host an in-person Standing in Solidarity event on June 17, 2024, at 6PM in honor of the Juneteenth holiday. This program marks the conclusion of the Standing in Solidarity season, a series of social justice conversations often paired with a PSEG True Diversity Film Series screening.

“NJPAC is committed to bringing our community together to talk about the issues that are genuinely important to all of us,” says NJPAC President and CEO John Schreiber. “Both as virtual gatherings and, now, as really meaningful in-person events, the Arts Center’s Standing in Solidarity conversations have been a unique opportunity for so many of us to learn, listen deeply and find common ground.”

The documentary Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities (Firelight Films, 2018) is the PSEG True Diversity Film and will be screened in the Chase Room at 6PM. Following the screening, a panel of prominent leaders — all graduates of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) — will discuss the cultural, economic and social impact of HBCUs.

The panel will be moderated by Calvin Ledford Jr., president of the PSEG Foundation and director of PSEG Corporate Social Responsibility.

“In the heart of our nation’s story lies the profound legacy of historically Black colleges and universities. HBCUs exemplify hope, progress and opportunity,” says Ledford.  “As a proud alum of Hampton University, I am honored to moderate a panel discussion alongside fellow HBCU graduates. I look forward to exploring the impactful legacy of these institutions on American history, culture and identity. Together, let us celebrate Juneteenth and embrace the pivotal role HBCUs play in shaping generations and our nation.”

Members of the panel include Brielle Lewis, director of Sponsorship Strategy & Activation at Prudential Financial, Dr. Karma Brown Warren, medical leader and phlebologist at Metro Vein Centers, Inc., and Mayor of the City of Newark, The Honorable Ras J. Baraka.

“It is in relationships with both people and ideas that we define ourselves, and from there hone our dreams, and shape our world. That is why the educational, social and cultural dynamics of higher education institutions, and in particular, HBCUs, are so critical to America’s sound and solid foundation in peace and prosperity,” says Mayor Baraka. “Just as Juneteenth broke the last chain in the bond of slavery, HBCUs release the free expression of African American students as they claim their identities and forge their path forward.”

Following the panel conversation, the Juneteenth festivities will move to the Hahne Building (54 Halsey St.) for an afterparty, starting at 8:45PM, hosted by Heritage Hall. Heritage Hall is the site of the pop-up photography exhibit “HBCU Experience” produced by students from MENTOR Newark. The interactive exhibit is designed to share the culture of the schools and show off HBCU pride.

To RSVP and for more information visit Standing in Solidarity.

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States.  It is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey — where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day.  As New Jersey’s anchor cultural institution, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city.  Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts.  NJPAC has attracted more than 11 million visitors (including more than two million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.  Visit for more information.
About PSEG Foundation
The PSEG Foundation (501(c)(3)), the philanthropic arm of Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) (NYSE:PEG), prioritizes investments in promoting environmental sustainability, social justice, and equity and economic empowerment.

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