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Race relations expert, Ebony Ball highlight Black History Month at UW-Stevens Point

January 31, 2023
Daryl Davis
Daryl Davis, a respected expert on race relations, will present “Diversity Lessons from a Black Klan Whisperer” Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 4 p.m. at UW-Stevens Point. His talk is one of several Black History Month activities on UWSP campuses.

An extraordinary storyteller and respected expert on race relations will speak at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in February, one of several events planned to mark Black History Month.

Daryl Davis has engaged leaders of the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist groups for nearly 40 years with this question: “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?” On Wednesday, Feb. 15, he will present “Diversity Lessons from a Black Klan Whisperer” from 4-5:30 p.m. It will be offered in-person in the Dreyfus University Center Theater and online. It is part of the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership speaker series.

First encountering racism at age 10, he has met hatred with civility, patience and listening, which has helped people ignite positive change. For Davis, it’s led to lasting friendships with many who changed their own minds and disavowed hateful beliefs – some of whom gave him their KKK robes and hoods. Davis’s talk is free and open to the public, but preregistration is required at

Davis inspires and empowers audiences with tools they can use to make better workplaces, communities, and relations with family and friends. His work is chronicled in his book, “Klan-Destine Relationships,” and the documentary, “Accidental Courtesy,” which will be screened Thursday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m. in the Collins Classroom Center, Room 227.

On Saturday, Feb. 18, the Black Student Union will host the inaugural Ebony Ball at UW-Stevens Point. Open to the community as well as university students and employees, the masquerade-themed event begins at 5:30 p.m. with music and other student-led entertainment to showcase beauty and diversity. Mandela Barnes, former lieutenant governor, is the keynote speaker. Dinner features soul food-African cuisine.

“Come dressed to impress, ready to be entertained, ready to learn and dance the night away,” said BSU President Chiamaka Obinna. Tickets are $20 for community members and university employees and $10 for UWSP students. They are available at the Information and Tickets Office in the DUC or at

On Thursday, Feb. 9, Conference 2020, a one-day symposium on how the events of 2020 continue to impact marginalized communities, will be held at UW-Stevens Point at Wausau. Local physician Adedayo Onitilo will present the keynote, “Why Talking about Race Still Matters.” Participants will learn about cultural considerations including microaggressions and implicit bias, policing task force survey data, being an ally and other ways to strengthen communities. Register for free.

Throughout February, artwork is featured just outside the Laird Room in the DUC of the Stevens Point campus.

Photojournalist John Nance of Appleton shares some of his “Meet your Neighbors” photography exhibit; and Kiba Freeman, a spray paint artist in Stevens Point and distinguished UWSP alumnus, exhibits works representing diversity and self-reflection. Also learn more about four African Americans who shaped equity and Wisconsin history, who are also highlighted in a Laird display. The art is available for viewing whenever the DUC is open.

Several movies will be screened, in addition to “Accidental Courtesy” on Feb. 9. These are at 6 p.m. in the DUC Theater:
–“The Woman King,” Saturday, Feb. 11
–“Wakanda Forever,” Thursday, Feb. 16
–“Disclosure,” Thursday, Feb. 23

“Black History Month gives us an opportunity to celebrate the rich history, culture, diversity and contributions that our Black community has made at UWSP and beyond,” said Chancellor Thomas Gibson. “From Daryl Davis, we will learn to overcome our fears, confront our prejudices, recognize similarities and appreciate differences. This is part of the purpose-driven education UW-Stevens Point offers on our campuses and in our communities.”