VUU Kicks Off “Build Power Week” Starting Monday, February 22 events raise awareness of ways to harness the power of the Black community

February 19, 2021

Richmond, VA – Virginia Union University will kick off its inaugural ‘Build Power Week’ with a number of speaking engagements featuring a number notable lectures and seminars featuring University President & CEO Dr. Hakim Lucas, PhD and Board of Trustee Chairman Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson. Both come in addition to the next installment of the VUU Global Presidential Lecture Series featuring award-winning songwriter and acclaimed gospel artist, Bishop Charles Jenkins of the historic Fellowship Baptist Church in Chicago. 

To kick off the week, Charles Jenkins will host his first session of a two part lecture series. Part I of the series will take place Monday February 22 at 12 noon, with Part II being held Wednesday February 24th also at 12 noon.  

Charles Jenkins is wildly celebrated as a man of faith, connector, dealmaker, problem solver, community builder, entrepreneur, humanitarian and friend. For 20 years, he served as the senior pastor of the historic Fellowship Baptist Church in Chicago. His impactful service drew thousands of new members, while he implemented and championed dynamic life-changing community based programming. Charles’ transformational leadership is diverse and has been key in securing thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for Chicago. Jenkins is also a multi award-winning songwriter and acclaimed gospel artist with GRAMMY® recognition, 12 Billboard #1 honors, 9 Stellar Awards, and more. Charles is a member of Morehouse College’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Scholars and Preachers, a receipt of BET Networks Icon Man of Change Award, Black Enterprise Magazine’s Urban Business Game-changer Award, and Illinois’ Gift of Hope Life Saving Partner Award for leading national efforts that garnered thousands of new organ donors in African American communities. Charles is currently a fashion executive leading efforts to design a collection in Paris, France. He is married to accomplished speaker and author Dr. Tara Rawls Jenkins. They have three beautiful children Princess, Paris, and Charles III. 

Also on Wednesday February 24th at 7:00pm, VUU President Dr. Hakim Lucas, PhD will be featured by Rice University’s Center for Engagement Research & Collaborative Learning (CERCL),serving as the orator for “Repairing the Breach: How HBCUs Can Save America, Again!”. This engagement will be an inaugural event for one of Rice University’s newest organizations ‘Black Leadership Across Campuses’ (BLAC). The CERCL and the Virginia Union University Center for the Study of HBCUs will collaborate, as Dr. Lucas will present a theoretical framework on ways Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ (HBCUs) can assist in the efforts to repair the social, economic and political breaches widening the foundation of American culture.  

In addition, The Richmond 34 will be holding a press conference Wednesday February 24th at 10am as well. The press conference will be broadcast live on YouTube. Virginia Union University Commemorates the Richmond 34 each year as a way to showcase the history and leadership that VUU has continues to develop. This year marks the 62nd year since the sit-ins. 

On February 22, 1960, 34 VUU students courageously staged a sit-in at the lunch counter of Thalhimers department store in downtown Richmond to protest segregation and to support a similar sit-in staged in Greensboro, North Carolina. They were arrested for “trespassing” in what became among the first mass arrests of the Civil Rights Movement. This was a crucial event that set off the “Campaign for Human Dignity.” 

To close out Build Power Week, Board of Trustee Chairman Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson will take the stage as he will be feature on another installment of Fireside Keynote on Friday February 26th at 12 noon. Dr. Richardson’s last Fireside Chat, hosted by Sr. Vice President, Academic Affairs & Provost,   Terrell L. Strayhorn, explored the life and legacy of Dr. Richardson as outlined in his book, Witness to Grace.  

Also on Friday February 26th at 6:00pm, Dr. Richardson will be featured by American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), on the topic of Race, Religion, and Social Justice.  

About VUU: Virginia Union University is a premier liberal arts urban institution of higher education and center of excellence for the preparation of students and the development of leaders for tomorrow’s world. It was founded in 1865 to give newly emancipated slaves an opportunity for education and advancement. Virginia Union University offers a broad range of educational opportunities that advances liberal arts education, teaching, research, science, technology, continuing education, civic engagement, and international experiences. Visit https://www.vuu.edu/ for more information.