Black and African American students and professionals, along with allies and advocates, are invited to gather for a networking and community-building event on the UW-Green Bay campus on Tuesday.
The first-ever Black in the Bay event will take place on Tuesday, February 4 from 5 until 6:30 pm in the 1965 Room in the University Union Building, 2430 Campus Court, Green Bay.
“The event is a great networking event to learn about what life is like in the Green Bay area, the Fox Cities area as Black professionals who also have the identity as residents of this community,” said Mai Lo Lee, director of multi-ethnic student affairs at UW-Green Bay.
Lo Lee said she organized the event to connect students with the local Black community.
“So for a lot of my students, the big question I get from (students) is, ‘how do black people live here?’” she said. “It’s very hard and it’s an uphill challenge for them on a predominantly white campus in a predominantly white community. So when they hear that black people live here, I think for a lot of my students they’re like, ‘How? Why? How are they surviving?’”
The event is not just for students, though — Lo Lee said a lot of Black people in Green Bay and the Fox Cities might feel isolated and be unaware that a Black community really does exist in the area.
“And even if they do know that it exists, how often is it acknowledged? Then how often is their authentic experience heard?” she said. “Obviously we know how important visual representation is, but, but when we go beyond the visual representation, it’s finding the authentic representation. So oftentimes we may see individual people of color, but how often do we engage in listening and talking to really hear their authentic experience?”
Lo Lee said about 25 Black professionals in a variety of fields have already committed to attend and she expects up to 70 people in total, including representatives of the Green Bay Police Department and mayor’s office.
The event will encompass some networking time as well as a panel discussion on issues important to Green Bay’s Black community. Lo Lee said it’s the first of several events in support of various ethnic communities.
“We have done networking and panel events with professionals. This is the first time that we kind of put a serious name to it,” she said. “So this is our first Black in the Bay. In April, we’re going to be doing Asian in the Bay. That will be a panel of our Asian-American individuals who are in this area. And then I’m working with each heritage month. So Latinx in the Bay (in September), and Native in the Bay (in November).”
The Black in the Bay event is the first of a series of Black History Month events taking place on campus.
The event is free. Registration is not required but is requested, and can be done online at this link.