Arnie Fielkow, Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans CEO

NEW ORLEANS, LA — Monday, April 9 will mark the kickoff of the 2019 Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans HBCU Speaker Series: Presented by Morris Bart. 

A media reception at 5:30 p.m. will precede the program, which begins promptly at 7:00 p.m. The inaugural event of the series, which will be hosted by Xavier University of Louisiana, will welcome Pastor Chris Harris of Bright Star Community Outreach in Chicago, who will discuss the model of NATAL – the Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War – and how he is applying it to train faith leaders and mental health professionals as counselors to provide violence prevention services in inner-city communities in the United States.

This event marks the introduction of a three-part series aimed at connecting the Jewish and African-American communities in the Greater New Orleans area on relevant topics of mutual interest. The past, present, and future of the Jewish/African-American relationship will be explored by different national and local experts, with future events planned for Dillard University and Southern University at New Orleans in the fall.

“The Jewish Federation is committed to enhancing relationships throughout the New Orleans area, especially with the African-American community, as a means to making a positive impact in our region,” said Arnie Fielkow, Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans CEO. “The Federation’s partnership with Xavier, Dillard, and SUNO in conjunction with our 2019 speaker series represents a tangible and meaningful opportunity for the Jewish and African-American communities to come together to learn more about each other and about ways that we can work together going forward.”

“The bonds between the African-American and Jewish communities are significant and longstanding. It is my hope these speakers will strengthen these bonds for many years to come,” added Morris Bart, the 2019 HBCU Speaker Series’ sponsor.

““Xavier University was founded to promote the creation of a just and humane society through education of disenfranchised communities.  Today we continue that legacy as we envision the next 100 years of service. Xavier serves as an equalizer in the community making certain that all talent is developed and that our students learn the important role they each play in making a global change,” said President Reynold Verret of Xavier University of Louisiana. He added, “Recently I founded the Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit to specifically focus on topics of social justice and living our mission in all we do. We will continue the work we were founded to accomplish, and look forward to partnering with the Jewish Federation to continue this important dialogue on how we collaborate to achieve our shared goals of justice and humanity for all people.” 

Other programs encompassed in the Jewish Federation’s broad African-American community outreach initiative include: Shalom: A Cross-Cultural Conversation – an hour-long, monthly segment on WBOK 1230AM’s The Good Morning Show with Oliver Thomas that explores the history and current state of African-American/Jewish relations; an annual Youth Civil Rights History Tour of Alabama that launched on November 20 with nearly 100 area middle school students and chaperones traveling to Selma and Birmingham to visit sites significant to the civil rights movement; and the Alex Schoenbaum Jewish Scholarship Fund at historic St. Augustine High School, an annual scholarship program and assembly on Jewish/African-American relations sponsored by philanthropist Emily Schoenbaum that commenced in December 2018.

Being America’s only historically Black and Catholic University is just the first of the distinctions that have set Xavier University of Louisiana apart for more than eight decades. Despite its relatively small size (3,300 students), Xavier is a nationally recognized leader in the STEM and the health sciences, producing more African American students who graduate from medical schools each year than any other university in the United States. Its College of Pharmacy is among the top producers of African American pharmacists.

Its liberal arts based programs in such areas as art, business, education, psychology, and political science – as well as such recent additions as bioinformatics, data science, neuroscience, crime and social justice, and jazz studies – offer students an unbeatable combination of traditional classroom study, hands-on research, service-learning opportunities, and life experiences.

The winning Xavier formula? Provide students with a well-balanced curriculum and an environment that nurtures their intellect and feeds their souls.

At Xavier eXcellence awaits yoU. For more information about Xavier University of Louisiana visit us online at or follow us on Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter @XULA1925. To book interviews and/or to speak with our experts in the field of pharmacy, education, premed, public health, science, technology, math, business, English, communications and the arts, contact Diana Hernandez at (504) 520-5120 or