Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Edison State Celebrates Black History Month

Keynote Address from Former Piqua School Teacher

Black History Month keynote speaker, Liz Stafford.
The Diversity Committee at Edison State Community College is presenting three special events to celebrate Black History Month. The events, which focus on Unity, begin Wednesday, February 17 and conclude Monday, February 29 with a keynote address from Mrs. Elizabeth “Liz” Stafford. All events will be held on the Piqua campus and are free and open to the community.

The first event is a viewing of the historical documentary, “Ties that Bind: From Swastika to Jim Crow.” The one-hour documentary tells the previously untold story of the many German Jewish professors who, expelled from their homeland by the Nazis, found new lives and careers at historically-black colleges and universities in the South. The viewing will be held on Wednesday, February 17 at 12 p.m. in the Robinson Theater with a brief discussion following.

The second event will feature Shane Carter Executive Director of the Lincoln Community Center in Troy, Ohio, during a special town hall discussion titled, “Reflection on Unity.”

Mr. Carter will speak to the value of acceptance and moving forward in today’s quest for unity. Carter’s presentation will include excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the relationship he had with Piqua’s own, William McCulloch. Carter will provide ways in which the ideas fostered by Martin Luther King, Jr. have helped shape his life. The discussion will be held on Wednesday, February 24 at 12 p.m. in the cafeteria.

The third and final event will be held Monday, February 29 from 5:30–7:30 p.m. and will begin with a social hour that includes refreshments, followed by featured performances from African-American and gospel dance groups, musicians, poetry readings, trivia, and a special keynote address.

The keynote address titled “Unity for All People” will feature Mrs. Elizabeth “Liz” Stafford, of Troy, Ohio. Mrs. Stafford, as she’s known throughout the Miami Valley, has spent the majority of her career in education. Although she is now a retired teacher, she has never stopped giving back to her community.

She began her career as the first African–American female to teach health and physical education, including swimming in the State of Ohio. In 1977, she joined the teaching staff at Piqua’s Bennett Junior High School where she taught eighth grade Language Arts and Social Studies for 15 years. Outside of teaching, Mrs. Stafford’s passion for helping youth led to founding a youth program called N.U.B.I.A. (New Union of Blacks Improving America) and starting a clothing business, which she used to help students with self-esteem issues.

Today, Mrs. Safford is a committed member and one of the founders of New Life Baptist Church in Troy, Ohio. Her philosophy can be summed up in one phrase, “If I can help one somebody, my life would not have been in vain.”

The Diversity Committee at Edison State Community College is committed to advancing the College’s academic mission and goals in the areas of diversity, equality, inclusion and human rights by leading efforts to define, assess, and cultivate diversity as both an institutional value and an academic priority.

The Black History Month events are offered free of charge thanks to sponsorships from Edison State Community College, Unity National Bank, and U.S. Bank. For more information, contact Marva Archibald by calling 937-778-7908 or by emailing

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