Black Excellence Podcast Expands Beyond Black History Month to Celebrate Alumni Achievement Year Round
After the phenomenal success of the “28 Days of Black Excellence” podcast during this year’s Black History Month, the project is continuing with the launch of the “UIC Black Excellence” podcast. The initial podcast was co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Strategic Marketing and Communications and the Office of Diversity, Equity & Engagement and ran daily throughout the month of February as it spotlighted the history and achievements of UIC’s Black Alumni, faculty and staff.
As the initial podcast run ended, the creators realized that 28 episodes would not be enough to contain all of the profoundly impactful work that Black alumni, faculty and staff are engaged in. Going forward, the project has been expanded into a monthly series that released its second episode in June.
Aisha El-Amin, PhD, associate vice chancellor for equity and belonging in the Office of Diversity, Equity & Engagement, spearheaded this project in the hopes of connecting current and past UIC Black populations through storytelling with the sharing and celebration of their generational legacies.
As an alumni herself, the podcast offered El-Amin the opportunity to reconnect with these legacies as well. “It is humbling,” El-Amin shared. “I have met people I have admired from afar and made new connections that serve as points of inspiration.”
The two released episodes of the “UIC Black Excellence” podcast have featured interviews with Bobby L. Rush, U.S. representative for Illinois’ 1st congressional district and Emanuel “Chris” Welch, State Representative in the Illinois General Assembly and the first Black lawmaker to become Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.
Some noteworthy alumni featured in the original 28 episodes included Dr. Alfred Tatum, Provost at Metropolitan State University of Denver; Dr. Robert Winn, the 2nd African American to lead a national cancer center; Al Riley, Former State Representative for the 38th District of Illinois; Ertharin Cousin, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome; and Bishop Horace E. Smith, MD, Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc.
Each episode is structured as an interview with a notable UIC graduate or previous faculty/staff member that explores the UIC and post-UIC experiences. Interviews focus on stories of resilience and advice for the current and future generations of Black and African descent students, faculty, and staff.
El-Amin hopes that this podcast will serve as a starting point for campus members to reach out to, seek mentorship from and learn more about the interviewees.
She reiterated that the mission of this ongoing project is to allow “the Black community to see how important we are as part of UIC’s rich history and to tell our stories in ways that we embrace, see ourselves in and feel inspired by.”
For more information and access to the series, and to listen to the Emanuel “Chris” Welch episode, please visit: https://today.uic.edu/podcast/black-excellence-emanuel-chris-welch