(Baltimore) – Maryland Humanities hosts Beyond the Statements: Leading Racial Equity in Humanities Organizations, a free series focused on operationalizing racial equity work in the humanities field. The three-part series features local humanities leaders who will speak to the efforts they have led in their respective organizations. ‘

The speakers are Tonya Aikens, President & CEO of Howard County Library System; Omar Eaton-Martínez, Assistant Division Chief of Historical Resources for Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation; and Dr. Tuajuanda Jordan, President of St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Alicia McLeod, Maryland Humanities Board Member and Executive Director of Challenging Racism will moderate the conversations.

Topics include incorporating racial equity into hiring, where to start when leading an organization, and leading the work within a university setting.Conversations will last an hour beginning at 10:00 a.m. and occur on February 22, March 22, and April 19.

“At a time when many organizations have put out public statements in support of Black Lives Matter and in opposition to White supremacy, dismantling our organizational inequities remains an elusive next step,” says Lindsey Baker, Executive Director of Maryland Humanities. “We know other organizations are focusing on this, as well, and we are grateful to serve as a resource to other organizations while educating ourselves.”

Participants can find more information and register on Maryland Humanities’ website.

Conversation Schedule:

Monday, February 22 Omar Eaton-Martínez

Monday, March 22 Dr. Tuajanda Jordan

Monday, April 19 Tonya Aikens

The Panelists

TONYA AIKENS is President and CEO of Howard County Library System (HCLS), a nationally recognized Five Star Library for delivering excellence in public education for all ages. HCLS remains the only library system in Maryland to earn the five-star ranking, attained by fewer than one percent of public libraries in the U.S. Aikens is focused on providing equitable, high-quality educational opportunities and has directed library services for more than 20 years. She currently serves on the Community Action Council of Howard County’s Board of Directors, the Local Children’s Board of Howard County, the Maryland Public Library Administrator’s Intergovernmental Task Force. She also served on Howard County Executive Calvin Ball’s Transition Team and Spending Affordability Advisory Committee, on Howard County General Plan Update’s Planning Advisory Committee, and is an appointee of the Maryland State Librarian to the State Library Resource Center Oversight Commission.

OMAR EATON-MARTÍNEZ is the Assistant Division Chief of Historical Resources for the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, Natural and Historical Resources Division, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County. The division includes include historical house museums, an aviation museum, the Black History Program and archaeological parks. He also oversees the programming of those sites with an emphasis placed on preserving, sustaining and enhancing these resources as well as engaging and building communities through education, outreach and innovation. Most recently, Eaton-Martínez managed the Intern and Fellows Program at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. He builds coalitions that support diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion. He has held a leading role in Museums and Race: Transformation and Justice, a movement to challenge and re-imagine institutional policies and systems that perpetuate oppressions in museums, since 2016.

TUAJUANDA JORDAN has served as St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s (SMCM) seventh president since July 2014. Consistently ranked among the top 100 Kiplinger’s list of Best Values in Public Colleges and among the top 10 Best Public Liberal Arts Colleges in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report, SMCM continues to build upon its solid reputation for academic excellence under her watch. Since joining the College, Jordan has been widely recognized for her contributions to higher education and the larger community. Recently, she was named one of the Top 25 Women in Higher Education by Diverse Issues in Higher Education. In addition to serving on numerous national panels and boards, she was recognized as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2018), Black Leader in Education by The Afro (2017), Purdue University’s Distinguished Women Scholars (2015-16), and as an Influential Marylander by The Daily Record (2015).

ALICIA MCLEOD is the Executive Director of Challenging Racism, an organization whose focus is to empower and inspire people to disrupt racism one compassionate conversation at a time. Previously she led Ellicott City Partnership, a “Main Street” organization. Prior to that, she founded the Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce, which continues to raise the profile of black-owned businesses. Her tenure at each of her places of employment has been marked by the implementation of innovative ideas designed to raise the organization’s profile and draw new supporters to the work. McLeod is a resident of Parkville and brings deep relationships to Challenging Racism’s work. She is in a Masters of Public Administration program at the University of Baltimore with a concentration in non-profit management and holds a B.S. in Marketing from Kean University in New Jersey. McLeod and her partner are the parents of three children: Richard (25), Alyssa (19) and Amanda (18). She joined Maryland Humanities’ Board of Directors in 2020.


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