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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)—the second-largest university in Houston—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 more than 15,000 students; boasts more than 60,000 alumni and offers 45 bachelor’s, nine master’s degree programs and 16 fully online programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service; Sciences & Technology; and University College).

For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.

UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.