Tejun Celestin, a junior business administration with finance and information systems and business analytics dual options major, took part in the final Zoom event for “Confronting the Racial Wealth Gap” series at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) on Feb. 11 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. 

Celestin took part in the Q&A portion of the event alongside Associate Professor Harriet Fertik. The event description emphasized in detail how Marianne Wanamaker, an associate professor of economics at the University of Tennessee, was going to guide the final event and conversation in this three-part series. 

“The post-Civil War South was replete with limits on Black economic mobility and understanding our current inequality struggles requires understanding the origin of these differences in the Reconstruction South. Patterns of racial inequality from 1865 through today will be discussed. Could a different Reconstruction strategy have put the United States on an entirely different racial inequality trajectory?” 

Celestin had hoped to be a part of this lecture series for a while and was able to take part in the final event. Professor Fertik and Celestin prepared a few questions they wanted addressed in the lecture series while also taking questions from the 40-person audience. 

“Before, I thought it was only going to be a couple of questions,” said Celestin. “I thought I would know a lot about this topic because over the past year I have been very interested in racial issues, but when I started listening to Professor Wanamaker talk about, I realized how little I actually knew.” 

While this event was a part of a year-long series, this specific one happened to fall during Black History Month. Celestin said it was not directly related to Black History Month, but the information was applicable and important for everyone to learn about.  

“The more I learn about this topic, the more I realize I don’t know,” Celestin said. “This event was really eye opening for areas I can start learning more about Black history.”  

Over the past year, Celestin has taken on the role as the diversity, equity, and inclusion chair for UNH’s student senate. For Black History Month, Celestin has prepared a few events to get students involved and to increase education opportunities; however, the universities switch to an orange mode of operation is affecting what Celestin hopes to do for students.  

“The commission was established last semester and a lot of it has to do with making UNH a more inclusive community,” said Celestin. “One thing I worked on recently was meeting with UNH MECA (Middle Eastern Cultural Association) and UNH dining to better accommodate students that observe Ramadan because often the dining halls do not have the proper foods.” 

Celestin is hoping to bring in guest speakers over Zoom to help students and faculty educate themselves on diversity in the workplace and in communities.