CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Elms College opened it’s doors to students and the community for the Black Experience Summit on Friday.

The auditorium at Elms College began filling up early with people attending the 6th annual Black Experience Summit. This year’s theme was embodying faith, seeking racial justice, and featured panelists and keynote speakers including Dr. Shannen Dee Williams, a professor and author, and Timothy Jones, a writer trainer and ordained minister.

Dr. Harry Dumay, President of Elms College, told 22News, “It is really important for western Massachusetts in general to have an annual conversation on the experience of African Americans and the African diaspora in the United States.”

The two keynote speakers wove together the historical experiences of Black nuns in the Catholic church to current day Black Lives Matter movement and it’s relationship with the Catholic church.

This year marked the first where the summit was co-sponsored, the Sisters of St. Joseph joining the college as the co-sponsor as the spirit of the summit aligns with the sisters mission.