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2023 Steward Speakers Annual Gala honoring heroes in education and diversity featuring actress Nia Long

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The Steward Speakers Lecture Series will celebrate the end of its 2023 speaker season with the theme being “Arts, Culture and the African American Influence,” with the return of its annual gala. Powered by IUPUI, the event will take place Thursday, April 13 at the
Indianapolis Downtown Marriott.

It will feature award-winning actress and producer, Nia Long, well known for her iconic work in Boyz n the Hood, Friday, Love Jones, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Third Watch and The Best Man franchise.

She’s made a significant contribution in television and film. It’s critically important for us to bring in thought leaders who help motivate and invoke topical issues facing our community,” said Steward Speakers President and Founder, Matthew Steward.

He began developing the speaker series events as a student at Indiana University Bloomington through its Union Board. The Union Board was a campus run student entertainment program that planned and hosted guest lectures, plays and theatre events. Mr. Steward was in charge of organizing lecture series, inviting notable guest lecturers.

Upon graduation and returning to Indianapolis, he discovered Indianapolis did not have such a forum. So together with his family, he decided to create Steward Speakers. With the help of local community leaders such as Bill Mays, the late owner and founder of May Chemical Co. who widely referred to as “Indiana’s most successful black businessman” along with other community leaders, Steward Speakers was introduced as a unique community organization in November 1986.

Since then, Steward Speakers has been dedicated to enhancing the community by providing opportunities to engage with America’s best leaders and brightest luminaries.

The night of celebration will also recognize the commitment of leaders in education and diversity:

Steven Jones
Director of the Malcolm X Institute of
Black Studies and Dean for Professional Development
Wabash College

Amy Conrad Warner
Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement

Karen L. Dace, Ph.D.

Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Pat Payne – Lifetime Achievement
Director of the Racial Equity Office
Indianapolis Public School

The mission of the series is to inform, inspire, and invoke action by fostering meaningful dialogue and cultural exchanges with exceptional lectures and events designed to engage Hoosiers who rarely have access to nationally and internationally-renowned African American leaders.

These leaders are among the best and most respected individuals in their fields; including politics, education, military service, science and medicine, journalism, sports, entertainment, and more.

Contact senior staff writer Jade Jackson at 317-607-5792. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON

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