NOVA Celebrates Black History Month with Virtual Events Offering Perspectives, Opportunities and Remembrance

February 11, 2021

Northern Virginia Community College will host a series of events that celebrate Black History Month through the many perspectives of black excellence. The college is excited to host virtual discussions with experts and students, workshops, speeches and remembrance ceremonies.  

Separate registration is required for each event. Please review the following information to join the college in celebration. Some events may be open to students only, for press inquiries contact the Office of Media Relations,

Criminal Justice Reform for Virginia Communities of Color
For Black History Month, the Lyceum Committee presents the Black Women Lead Series with a presentation each week of February. The schedule with registration information for each presentation follows with photographs of the presenters shown below the descriptions of the presentations.

Vickie Williams, an entrepreneur who created OPN-Door Communications; a mediation, conflict coaching and training firm, will discuss the legalization of cannabis in Virginia. Sheba Williams is the founder of Nolef Turns, a nonprofit organization that works to remove the policies and stigma surrounding prior criminal convictions, and she will discuss what criminal justice reform means for communities of color in Virginia.

Date: Thursday, February 11th

Time:  3 p.m. 

Special Guests and Contributors:

  • Vickie Williams, Founder, OPN-Door Communications
  • Sheba Williams, Founder, NoLefTurns

We M.A.D.E. It in Creating a Chance to Advance
From tragedy to self-transformation to triumph, join NOVA for an in-depth conversation about criminal justice reform and the prison system, environmental and social justice in Flint, Michigan. This conversation will be with the M.A.D.E. (Money, Attitude, Direction & Education) Institute. Founder and co-founder of this prestigious non-profit will share their journeys of personal struggle toward becoming successful entrepreneurs in how they are helping to give people another chance in life to succeed.

Date:  Tuesday, February 16th
Time:  1 p.m. 
Special Guests and Contributors: 

  • Leon El-Alamin, Founder – The M.A.D.E Institute
  • Timothy Abdul-Matin, Co-Founder – The M.A.D.E Institute

Healthy and Sustainable Communities for All
Join NOVA for a conversation with the President of the Fairfax County Branch of the NAACP and Executive Director of Green New Deal VA, Karen Camblin as she discusses how Virginia communities can address inequity as well as climate change to restore Virginia’s environment.

Date:  Tuesday, February 18th

Time:  12:30 p.m. 

Special Guest:

  • Karen Camblin, President, Fairfax County NAACP 

More Than an Athlete
Join NOVA for a conversation with black professional athletes in discussing their journey and life in and out of the sports arena with particular focus on their careers while making a difference in society.

Date: Tuesday, February 23rd

Time: 4 p.m. 

Growing Up Black in Rural America, Breaking Barriers & Leading a Life of Service:
A Talk with West Virginia University’s Vice President of Student Affairs

Join NOVA for a talk with Major General Kenneth Gray, Vice President for Student Affairs at West Virginia University, as he discusses growing up Black in rural America. He will discuss breaking barriers in leading a life of service.

Date: Wednesday, February 24th

Time: 1 p.m.

Special Guest:

  • Kenneth Gray, Major General Vice President

Spoken Word Performance by Keynote Poet, Ashlee Haze
NOVA presents; Ashlee Haze, a poet and spoken word artist from Atlanta by way of Chicago. Earning the nickname “Big 30" because of her consistency in getting a perfect score, she is one of the most accomplished poets in the sport of poetry slam. She has been a part of the Atlanta Poetry circuit for over a decade and has been writing over 15 years. Ashlee Haze is a 3-time Queen of the South poetry Slam Champion, 2-time Women of the World Poetry Slam Finalist and 2-time National Poetry Slam semi-finalist. She recently appeared on NPR's Tiny Desk series alongside Queen & Slim composer Blood Orange. Her sophomore book "Smoke" is available now.

Date: Wednesday, February 24th

Time: 7 p.m.


Special Guest:

Remember the Titans: A Tribute to Coach Boone and the 1971 Titans Football Team
Please join NOVA for a special event to remember the historic 1971 T.C. Williams High School Titans football team, one of the first integrated football teams in the nation.  Special guests and team members who were touched by Coach Boone’s legacy will talk the team, unity, how their lives changed as well as current events.  The remarkable story was depicted in the Disney movie, ‘Remember the Titans’ (2000), about a newly appointed African American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.

Date:  Wednesday, February 24th

Time:  4  p.m.

Soul Food Dinner with Distinguished Writer, Jesse J. Holland
The distinguished American journalist, author and TV personality will join NOVA for a (virtual) discussion on his past work on such remarkable projects. He was one of the first black journalists to cover the Supreme Court for the Associated Press and further covered race and ethnicity for the publication. He left AP in 2005 to pen such books as; ‘Black Men Built the Capitol: Discovering African American History In and Around Washington, D.C.’ and ‘The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves in The White House’. He further wrote the Star Wars book; ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Finn’s Story’ and was nominated for an NAACP award for his book ‘Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther.’

Date: Thursday, February 25th

Time: 6 p.m.

Working Together to Change Health Disparities
Join NOVA for a conversation with Dr. Ethlyn McQueen-Gibson, DNP, MSN, RN-BC who will present “Working Together to Change Health Disparities.” The Director of the Gerontology Center for Excellence at Hampton University and an Associate Professor of its School of Nursing will address the racial disparities in health in Virginia and how they can be changed by engaging the entire community.

Date: Thursday, February 25th

Time: 7 p.m.

Special Guest:

Dr. Ethlyn McQueen-Gibson, DNP, MSN, RN-BC

All events are sponsored by The NOVA Alexandria Campus and the Dr. Jean Braden Center for Women, Gender and Social Equity as well as The Institute for Public Service. All sessions of this programming for Black History Month are curated by the Black Student Union; NOVA Student Services; Nathan Carter, Chief Diversity Officer and Mohamed Ali, Partnerships and Programs Coordinator for the Division of Language, Arts and Social Sciences. For any program questions, please contact him at For any press inquiries, please contact Hoang Nguyen, Public Information Officer at  

Topics: press release