Panel Discussion on Feb. 22 Celebrates Black History Month

This February, community colleges in our area are working together to honor and celebrate Black History Month. Two colleges of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities Shoreline-West region, Gateway Community College (GCC) and Housatonic Community College (HCC), are collaborating on an upcoming virtual panel honoring diversity, equity and inclusion.

The free event, entitled “Panel for Peace & Solidarity II: Moving America Forward”, will take place virtually on Monday, February 22nd from 1:30pm – 3:30pm. Hosted by Gateway Community College’s Office of Student Activities, the discussion aims to inform and educate participants through insightful conversation and listening. Panelists will share their perspectives on how we can all help to “move America forward”.

Panelists include:

Dr. William T. Brown:  Chief Executive Officer, Gateway Community College

Dr. Jane Gates - Interim President, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities

Dr. Dwayne Smith - Chief Executive Officer, Housatonic Community College

Dr. Ann-Marie Jones:  Program Coordinator, Nuclear Medicine Technology, Gateway Community College

Deja Scott:  Social Justice and Safe Zone Educator, Facilitator, Consultant

                     Social Justice Teacher, Hyde Leadership Charter School, Bronx, NY

Dr. Colena Sesanker:  Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Gateway Community College

Chair, Faculty Advisory Committee to the Board of Regents for Higher Education

Alfred Guante, Director of Gateway’s Office of Student Activities, anticipates attendees will gain a deeper understanding and will be given a chance to participate by asking questions of their own.

“They will gain insight on how these accomplished panelists think and will have the opportunity to ask questions as well. Part of moving forward begins with the ability to listen, to learn from each other and use the information acquired to spread awareness that can begin the process of truly understanding how actions affect an individual, a group, a country and even the world,” Guante explained.

The panel discussion, which can be seen by visiting or via GCC’s Facebook page at, is one of several community college events held throughout the month of February to honor Black History Month.

“It is our honor to recognize and commemorate the extraordinary history and great contributions African Americans have had on our culture,” said Dr. Thomas G. Coley, President of the Shoreline-West Region. “We invite the communities we serve to join our students, faculty, and staff as we celebrate Black History Month.”

For more information about the wide variety of Black History Month events going on at community colleges throughout our region, please visit: