Friday, June 25, 2021
12–1:30 p.m. ET


Although freedom and liberation are often considered synonymous, this Juneteenth, we take another approach. Engaging the thoughts and actions of Black Americans demonstrates that notions of freedom and liberation are contested and diverse. The Diaspora’s diversity brings to the table numerous ways of working towards a free AND liberated world for Black people. Can this world be known in the 21st century? Can freedom and liberation coexist? What obstacles remain to be dismantled and eradicated? Are we already free, and how can this be?

Black & Free is NCID's 2nd annual Juneteenth event.


Dr. Caree Ann Banton

Dr. Caree Ann Banton is the director of African and African American Studies and an associate professor of African diaspora history at the University of Arkansas. She received a MA in development studies from the University of Ghana in July 2012 and completed her doctoral work at Vanderbilt University in June 2013. Her research focuses on movements around abolition, emancipation, colonization as well as ideas of citizenship, blackness, and nationhood in the 19th century. Her research has been supported by a number of fellowships, including the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship that allowed her to do research in West Africa, the Andrew M. Mellon Foundation Fellowship at the Robert Penn Warren Center where she joined a group of scholars across a wide range of academic disciplines in the Sawyer Seminar — “The Age of Emancipation: Black Freedom in the Atlantic World" — to study abolition, anti-slavery, and emancipation for the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Lapidus Center Fellowship at the Schomburg Center and the Nancy Weiss Malkiel Fellowship for exceptional scholarship and participation in service activities. At the University of Arkansas, Caree teaches classes in Afro-Caribbean history, African diaspora history, and race. Her book manuscript, "More Auspicious Shores”: Barbadian Migration to Liberia, Blackness, and the Making of the African Republic, 1865– 1912, a study that explores continuities and mutabilities in black experiences of freedom, citizenship, and nationhood across the Atlantic world was published by Cambridge University Press in May 2019. 

Dr. Philip Butler

Dr. Philip Butler is an assistant professor of theology and posthuman artificial intelligence systems at Iliff School of Theology. He is also the founder of the Seekr Project, a distinctly Black conversational artificial intelligence with mental health capacities. His work primarily focuses on the intersection of neuroscience, technology, spirituality and race. He has designed artificial cognitive architectures for synthetic evolving life forms (SELF), presented on emotionally regulating brain computer interfaces, and has constructed block chain protocols and infrastructures for a world leader in the industrial hemp space. He is also the author of Black Transhuman Liberation Theology: Spirituality and Technology and most recently the editor of Critical Black Futures: Speculative Theories and Explorations. 

Dr. Jennifer Gómez

Dr. Jennifer M. Gómez, board member and chair of the Research Advisory Committee at the Center for Institutional Courage, is an assistant professor at Wayne State University in the Department of Psychology and Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child & Family Development (MPSI). She is also the lead co-editor of the 2021 special issue of Journal of Trauma & Dissociation- Discrimination, Violence, & Healing in Marginalized Communities. For the 2021-2022 academic year, Dr. Gómez will be a fellow at the Stanford University Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, where she will write her book, Cultural Betrayal, Sexual Abuse, & Healing for Black Women & Girls: From Black Lives Matter to MeToo (Publisher: APA Books). Her primary research focus is cultural betrayal trauma theory (CBTT), which she created as a framework for empirically examining the mental, behavioral, cultural, and physical health impact of violence on Black and other marginalized youth, young adults, and elders within the context of inequality. Dr. Gómez has published over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, scholarly writings, and pieces for the general public. Her work has been recognized by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Ford Foundation, and Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR).  Dr. Gómez’s ultimate goal for her research is to identify avenues of hope and healing for individuals, families, communities, institutions, and society.

LaTricia Mitchell

LaTricia Mitchell is the regional director of Black student movements with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. She is a change agent, academic, and community servant, and has spent the better part of the last 10 years caring for Black undergraduate students at predominantly white institutions, most often working at the University of Michigan. LaTricia has been a leader in organizational equity, team work, and non-profit fundraising structures. In her work with students, LaTricia has empowered them to embrace an authentic expression of faith that makes room for activism and a passion for justice. She is pursuing a master of divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a master in clinical social work and infant mental health at Wayne State University. She is also in the process of becoming ordained with the African Methodist Episcopal church. Above all, LaTricia's work blends the themes of racial equity, mental health, youth engagement, and a liberating faith.

Dr. Dominique Thomas

Dr. Dominique Thomas is editor of The Community Psychologist. He attained his BA in psychology from Morehouse College and his MA and PhD in community psychology from Georgia State University. He was a scholarship-to-practice fellow in the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. Dr. Thomas is interested in the areas of Black identity, racial socialization, activism, campus racial climate, Afrofuturism, and the Black Radical Tradition. He co-edited a special issue of Community Psychology in Global Perspective, Black Lives Matter in Community Psychology and is co-editing a forthcoming special issue in the American Journal of Community Psychology, Imperial Algorithms: Contemporary Manifestations of Racism and Colonialism.


Dr. Meredith Hope

Dr. Meredith Hope is currently a scholarship-to-practice fellow at the National Center for Institutional Diversity. 

Dr. Hope examines culturally specific community contexts as social change agents and protective resources for positive development and health outcomes among at-risk and/or Black youth and emerging adults. Recent scholarship has been published in American Journal of Community Psychology, Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, Psychology of Religion & Spirituality, and Journal of Child & Family Studies. With an eye toward developing evidence-based interventions, Dr. Hope plans to expand this line of research by partnering with community stakeholders to promote academic and health equity by enhancing local resources for diverse youth and emerging adults in disenfranchised communities.