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Critical Race Studies Fall Symposium Addresses Importance of Rest, Resilience

'Stay Woke, Take a Nap' Offering Nap Bar, Panel on Campus Nov. 11


By Mike Emery

The upcoming Center for Critical Race Studies (CCRS) Fall Symposium promises to be a literal “snooze fest” … and in this case, that is a good thing. 

The Center will explore the importance of rest, sleep and most importantly, clarity in our lives during its 2021 Fall Symposium and Interactive Rest Experience. Titled “Stay Woke, Take a Nap,” CCRS will host Houston’s Nap Bar for a daylong experience at the University of Houston-Downtown. Additionally, a panel of experts will address our nation’s collective burnout following a year of anxiety and illness and the overwhelming professional and personal obligations that impact people’s sleep habits … and ultimately, their health. 

“The theme for this year’s fall symposium and interactive rest experience came about as a result of the Center for Critical Racer Studies Fellows’ interest in exploring how ideas around rest and resistance materialize in the lives of UHD students, staff, faculty, and other members of our community,” said Dr. Felicia Harris, Assistant Director of CCRS and Associate Professor of Communication Studies. 

The Nap Bar experience will be conducted on campus from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in UHD’s Mural Area of the Academic Building. University Community members are invited to visit this area to de-stress, rest and catch some Z’s during a break from work or classes. Participants can elect to rest or sleep at the pop-up Nap Bar or engage in a virtual reality experience aimed at increasing natural melatonin, stimulating relaxation and promoting rest.

At noon, UHD Community members can hear from experts addressing sleep, self-care and balancing school, careers, friends, family and more. 

The panel discussion will be conducted in A300 and include the following speakers: 

  • Khaliah O. Guillory, Certified Sleep Expert and President & CEO of Nap Bar Houston 

  • Dr. Liza Barros Lane, UHD Assistant Professor of Social Work 

  • Kemonta Jackson, Program Coordinator for UHD’s Call Me MISTER 

“I’m particularly excited about Khaliah Guillory, the founder of Houston’s Nap Bar and a certified sleep expert, who will curate an interactive rest experience and share the science and tools behind why it’s so important to prioritize our rest — even if it is just a power nap,” Harris said. 

According to Jackson, students often find themselves “burning the candle at both ends” with obligations to school, jobs, family and extracurricular activities. A conversation on this very topic can be constructive to both their mental and physical well-being. 

“As our students navigate a life of balancing education, work, and their social lives, it is important they practice healthier lifestyles,” Jackson said. “Understanding issues of balance and the importance of practicing healthy habits are a pipeline to developing an awareness for one’s self, as well as others.” 

For details on the CCRS Fall Symposium or to register for a visit to the pop-up Nap Bar, visit the event’s website.  

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.