Ninth Annual Diversity Symposium Focuses on Building Inclusive Communities, Explores the Impact and Implications of Race and Class
On September 6, a capacity crowd filled the ballroom of the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center as Institute Diversity hosted the Ninth Annual Diversity Symposium, an all-day forum for discussions among faculty, staff, and students.
In light of this year’s theme, “Building Inclusive Communities,” the Diversity Symposium featured a variety of lectures, panels, and performances that explored the impact and implications of race and class on individual success and community engagement in higher education institutions.
The morning sessions featured an opening keynote from John Quiñones, author, broadcast journalist, and host and creator of What Would You Do?, and panel discussions on race, class, and bias.
Quiñones shared his inspiring journey from migrant farm work and poverty to more than 30 years at ABC News and the anchor desk at 20/20 and Primetime. “When journalism is done right, stories can shed light on injustice,” he said. “Peter Jennings once told me to talk to the moved and the shaken – not the movers and the shakers.”
After the morning sessions, the Diversity Symposium awards luncheon included Diversity Champion Awards and Faces of Inclusive Excellence presentations and an artistic performance that addressed issues of race in contemporary society.
Four Diversity Champion Award winners were honored for advancing equity at the Institute, particularly at the intersections of race and class. This year’s winners are Anne Pollock (faculty), Jocelyn Thomas (staff), Jennifer Salcedo (student), and the Center for Engineering Education and Diversity (CEED) (unit). To view the 2017 Diversity Champion Awards video, visit https://youtu.be/NrK61wCwIzY.
“The Diversity Champion Award means so much to me, everyone within our office, and the students we serve. The recognition shows that not only do you see us, but you accept us, and value what we do,” remarked Felicia Benton-Johnson, assistant dean and director for CEED.
Sixty-five honorees were featured in this year’s Faces of Inclusive Excellence publication, which was distributed at the Diversity Symposium. The publication recognized a diverse group of faculty, staff, and students who are committed to advancing a culture of inclusive excellence at Georgia Tech and who have distinguished themselves in their research, teaching, and/or service. To view the 2017 Faces of Inclusive Excellence video, visit https://youtu.be/8L9OLnHIMwY.
Following the awards and recognition presentations, Dahlak Brathwaite, writer and performer of Spiritrials, delivered a powerful performance on race and the criminal justice system. To view his performance, visit www.bit.ly/2xiQQr4.
“The last five years have been particularly challenging on college campuses as we have grappled with issues of free speech, political ideologies, race, gender identities, access, and disability,” said Archie Ervin, vice president for Institute Diversity. “I want to thank the faculty, staff, and students who attended and contributed to the discussions during this year’s Diversity Symposium. These conversations are important to our journey toward becoming the kind of community that we want to be.”
To learn more about the Diversity Symposium, visit www.diversity.gatech.edu/diversitysymposium.