Branson's Human Development Day Features Dr. Cornel West and Mr. Bakari Kitwana, Jan. 21

First described by the American religious philosopher Josiah Royce, the term “Beloved Community” speaks to an idea, a concept of interconnectedness, where individual well-being is inextricably linked to the well-being of others. Branson's first Human Development Day, entitled Branson as a Beloved Community, will offer an opportunity for all members of our community to explore this concept further on Tuesday, January 21.

During Human Development Day, students will participate in a range of activities that will promote exploration of the interplay between individual pursuit and community prosperity. At the end of the day, we hope that students more deeply understand the diverse ways in which they might “make a positive impact in the world by leading lives of integrity, purpose, learning, and joy.”  

To guide our work, we are incredibly fortunate to host renowned scholars Dr. Cornel West and Mr. Bakari Kitwana

Dr. West is one of the foremost experts on social justice in our country and has been on the front lines of every major social justice event in the United States for the last 50 years. Mr. Kitwana is an internationally known cultural critic, journalist, activist, and thought leader in the area of hip-hop, youth culture, and Black political engagement. Both are known for never compromising on matters of principle, a quality deeply valued by all of us at Branson and right in line with the goals of our Strategic Plan. Scroll down to read more about them and their work.



In addition to their lectures and workshops with Branson students that day, Dr. West and Mr. Kitwana will give a special presentation for Branson families, entitled The Beloved Community: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Vision, Democracy, and Contemporary Challenges, on Jan. 21 from 9-10 am. This is a rare opportunity to hear from two of the seminal thinkers of our time. Seating is limited, so RSVP promptly.



1. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Professional Development

  • WHEN: Friday, January 17 from 9 am - 10:30 am
  • WHERE: Crossways 
  • WHAT: This opportunity will support participants in their preparation to engage with Dr. Cornel West and Mr. Bakari Kitwana. In addition, this session will increase the capacity of participants to deepen their dialogue and follow the everyday practice of being inclusive in a more diverse world that is equitable for all. This session is eligible for general professional development credits; please speak to Dr. Arauz for more details.
  • RSVP: Please email Dr. JuanCarlos Arauz

2. To engage in the DEI journey, here is some recommended DEI terminology 

3. Learn about our speakers and experience their work

Dr. Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual – a Harvard University professor, philosopher, author and activist. He has written 20 books and is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. – a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice. Read his bio.

Mr. Bakari Kitwana is an internationally known cultural critic, journalist, activist, and thought leader in the area of hip-hop, youth culture, and Black political engagement, He is the Executive Director of Rap Sessions, which for the last fourteen years has conducted over 150 town hall meetings around the nation on difficult dialogues facing the hip-hop and millennial generations. He is the 2019-2020 Nasir Jones HipHop Fellow at the W.E.B. Dubois Research Institute / Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, and the former Editor-in-Chief of The Source magazine, where he wrote and edited hundreds of articles on hip-hop, youth culture, politics and national affairs. Read his bio.