Stories of Life event brings together Black History Month lived experiences in the BYU community
PROVO, Utah — BYU Athletics partnered with the BYU Marriott School of Business to put together a Stories of Life event on the Marriott Center floor in celebration of Black History Month.
Hundreds of BYU students, student-athletes, coaches, faculty, staff, administrators and community members attended. The event was emceed by the duo from Let's Talk Sis, Alexis Bradley and Chante Stutznegger. They shared some of their own experiences and also introduced a performance of American Prophet by noted Latter-day Saint recording artist Alex Boyé and a stirring keynote address from His Name is Green Flake creator and director Mauli Bonner.
Located throughout the Marriott Center floor were displays with QR codes that attendees could scan to hear different stories from Black individuals connected to the BYU community, documenting experiences of their own or those of their ancestors, specifically relating to Black resilience. A few of those stories are all available to hear via the links below.
A native of San Bernardino, Calif., Hall was named the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year and earned a spot on the All-MWC Third Team as a junior in his first season on the men’s basketball team at BYU. Prior to his time with the Cougars, Hall played his sophomore season at Dixie State and spent his freshman season at Pepperdine. After graduating from BYU, Hall played professionally in Turkey, France, Austria and Japan. In 2006, he played for the Utah Eagles of the CBA. In 2009-10, Hall played for the Shiga Lakestars in Japan. Following his playing career, Hall returned to BYU in 2010 to serve as the director of basketball operations on Dave Rose’s staff for three seasons. Hall then worked as an academic advisor in the BYU athletic department from 2013 to 2018, before serving as an honor code office administrator in the BYU Student Life Department the past four years. He now works in the BYU athletic department as the Director of Player Development for BYU football. Hall graduated from BYU in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in recreation management and later earned a master's of public administration in 2020 from Marriot School of Business at BYU. He and his wife Tara are the parents of five children, Halle, Swift, Maddox, Tatum and Jordan.
>> Listen to Mike's story <<
Michelle Love-Day has been an educator for 22 years. She received her bachelor's in education (K-8, minor In Spanish), and master's in reading (K-12) from Bowling Green State University, and a master's in education, leadership, and policy from the University of Utah. Her second language is Spanish, and she studied abroad in Alacla, Spain. Leaving her home state of Ohio, she taught in North Carolina until relocating to Utah in 2005. She was a second grade teacher, literacy coach, principal and associate director of educational equity for Granite School District. In March 2020, she went back to Jordan School District and is now director of the Language and Culture Services Department. She has various licenses and certificates in ESL, Gifted Education, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
Her style of hands-on learning, encouragement, and realness has helped students to overcome their barriers to success. Michelle has worked with teachers to inspire, motivate and encourage. She shares information and ways parents can work with schools, advocate for their children and how they can assist in creating a rich, diverse literacy environment at home and in school. As she began to see the need for Black students in Utah, she created an online virtual academy called RISE, where students learn their Black history.
A long-term member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, INC., she believes in working in and giving back to the community. Mrs. Love-Day serves on many boards including the Hale Centre Theater Board of Trustees, Clark Planetarium Board, The Policy Project and the Conviction Integrity Board. In 2022, she was appointed by the governor to sit on the Ethnic Studies Commission. She enjoys acting on stage and in commercials and is a member of the Actors Equity Association.
She is passionate about schools being student focused, equitable and a place where all students feel that they are welcomed and have an adult they can believe in and who believes in them. In 2019, she ran for candidate for Bluffdale City Council and is the proud mother to five children and wife to a supportive husband.
>> Listen to Michelle's story <
Elder Peter M. Johnson
Elder Peter M. Johnson was sustained as a general authority seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 2019, at age 52. At the time of his call, he had been serving as an area seventy and a member of the Sixth Quorum of the Seventy in the North America Southeast Area. He is currently serving as an executive director in the Missionary Department.
Elder Johnson received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Southern Utah University. He received a PhD in accounting from Arizona State University. He began his career in 1992 as staff accountant for Grant Thornton CPA. He has worked as an associate professor at Brigham Young University–Hawaii, assistant professor of accountancy at Brigham Young University, and associate professor of accountancy at the University of Alabama.
Elder Johnson has served in a number of Church callings, including full-time missionary in the Alabama Birmingham Mission, counselor in a bishopric, ward Young Men president, stake financial clerk, ward mission leader, stake president, and president of the England Manchester Mission (2020-2022).
Peter Matthew Johnson was born in New York City, New York, on November 29, 1966. He married Stephanie Lyn Chadwick in 1990. They are the parents of four children.
>> Listen to Elder Johnson's story <<
Yvonne Nsabimana Baraketse moved to Belgium as a refugee in 1994 after losing her father and half of her extended family in the Rwandan massacres. There she earned her BA in corporate logistics and transportation management before moving to New Orleans. In 2005, she relocated to Utah as a refugee from Hurricane Katrina. After a work stint back in Europe, she earned her MPA from the BYU Romney Institute in 2016, and a second master’s in educational studies from WGU.
Yvonne is currently the president and CEO of Ngoma y'Africa Cultural Center, a nonprofit organization she founded seven years ago. She is also an educator and a cultural consultant. She teaches African dance with the BYU Department of Dance and Black history with Rise Virtual Academy. She taught French Immersion with the Provo City School District for six years and has served as the chair of the Black Advisory Committee with the PCSD for three years. She dedicates her time to create a more united community and serves as the advisory board member for the dean of the BYU Marriott School. Yvonne and her husband have four children.
>> Listen to Yvonne's story <<
Ronell Hugh is first and foremost a proud husband and father having been married to his wife, Briawna, for 20 years. They are the parents of four kids — Palmer, Portia, Teya and Thatcher. As a family, they love to travel and explore together, play games and enjoy every type of entertainment (concerts, sports, movies, etc). Professionally, Ronell is currently a vice president of product marketing and strategy at Qualtrics. His other professional experience includes a variety of business and marketing positions at Drift, Adobe, Microsoft, Walmart, Hewlett-Packard and Real Salt Lake.
He is also an advisory board member for BYU Marriott School of Business, Ensign College and Opportunity@Work. In addition, he launched a social enterprise in February 2021 focused on racial inclusion called Breathing Inclusivity. Originally from Bad Kreuznach, Germany, his hobbies include photography, golf, snowboarding, basketball, football (or as Americans call it, soccer), mountain biking and gaming. Ronell earned his MBA from the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business and completed his undergraduate work in communications also at BYU.
>> Listen to Ronell's story <<
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