MOVING TO SYSTEMIC CHANGE
Another look at the Charleston Racial Disparities report
Introducing our panelists will be YWCA Greater Charleston Executive Director LaVanda Brown.
DR. PATRICIA WILLIAMS LESSANE | Former Executive Director, Avery Research Center
Cultural anthropologist Patricia Williams Lessane, PhD, serves as associate vice president for academic affairs and associate professor in sociology at Morgan State University. Prior to this, she served as executive director of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston. She also served as co-principal investigator for the Race and Social Justice Initiative at the College of Charleston.
While at the College of Charleston, she also taught anthropology, African American studies, and first year experience courses, and was a tenured faculty member at the College’s library. She has also worked at The Field Museum and The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
Her edited volume of essays entitled Teaching Daughters of the Dust as a Womanist Film and The Black Arts Aesthetic of Filmmaker Julie Dash was published by Peter Lang Publishers in July 2020. Along with Violet Showers Johnson and Gundolf Graml, she is the co-editor of Deferred Dreams, Defiant Struggles: Critical Perspectives on Blackness, Belonging and Civil Rights (2018) published by Liverpool University Press.
She is a producer and humanities scholar for Julie Dash’s upcoming documentary, Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl, currently in production. Her 2015 New York Times editorial, No Sanctuary in Charleston, provided personal and social commentary on African American life in Charleston following the massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church. She has written opinion pieces about the intersection of race, gender, and class in black life in the US for the Post and Courier, the Baltimore Sun, and Skirt magazine.
She holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from Fisk University, a master of arts degree in liberal studies from Dartmouth College, and a PhD in anthropology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a Fulbright specialist and in 2016 was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Málaga in Málaga, Spain.
She has been named the College of Charleston’s 2018 Administrator of the Year, and received the 2018 #WhatWomenBring Nonprofit & Social Services Award by YWCA Greater Charleston for her work as a nonprofit leader.
DARON LEE CALHOUN II | Coordinator, College of Charleston Race and Social Justice Initiative
Historian Daron Lee Calhoun II, coordinator of the College of Charleston Race and Social Justice Initiative at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, specializes in the history of African American higher education. He began working with the Race and Social Justice Initiative in May 2016, coordinating speaker events and programs.
He has served in various capacities at the College of Charleston, including assisting with educational outreach and serving as a producer and head researcher on a feature-length documentary with film director Julie Dash. He received his bachelor of arts degree in African American Studies from Morehouse College, and attended the College of Charleston’s graduate history program. He is also a community activist and is involved with a variety of social justice organizations.