Washington University community invited to explore race and ethnicity

'Day of Discovery and Dialogue' to take place Feb. 5 and 6 on Danforth and Medical campuses

race-ethnicity-300With the scholarship and expertise of university scholars as a backdrop, the Washington University in St. Louis community will come together to explore the important issues of race and ethnicity at a universitywide event to be held Thursday and Friday, Feb. 5 and 6.

“Race & Ethnicity: A Day of Discovery and Dialogue” will include a series of panel conversations and open forums with scholars, students and leaders, exploring challenges that the university community is facing, particularly in light of recent events in the St. Louis region and across the country.

“Each of us has to take a very hard look within ourselves and within our community to find answers to deep-seated issues that have divided us for so long,” said Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. “Since last August, the complicated issues of race, equality and social justice have rightly surfaced as challenges we must face head-on. As we have acknowledged many times during the last several months, here on our own campuses we know we can and must do better and be better. Bringing the university community together for an honest, meaningful conversation is a significant and necessary step toward turning that promise into reality.”

The “Day of Discovery and Dialogue” will open with an introduction by Chancellor Wrighton and Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, in Connor Auditorium of the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center on the Medical Campus. The introduction will be followed at 5:30 by a lecture titled “Tales to Astonish: Why Race Matters and Why It Shouldn’t” by Gerald Early, PhD, the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters, professor of English and director of African and African-American Studies, all in Arts & Sciences, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.

Scheduled open forums, all of which will be held in the Emerson Auditorium and Frick Forum of Knight Hall on the Danforth Campus, include:

  • “The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity,” led by Adrienne D. Davis, JD, vice provost and the William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law, at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 6;
  • “Race and Ethnicity in Everyday Life,” led by Vetta L. Sanders Thompson, PhD, professor, Brown School, at 10:45 a.m. Friday, Feb. 6;
  • “Moving Beyond Stereotypes,” led by Kimberly J. Norwood, JD, professor of law and of African and African-American Studies, at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6; and
  • “The Future and Our University Community,” led by Provost Holden Thorp, PhD, at 3:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6.

The event will conclude with a pre-show discussion and performance of “The Six” by Black Anthology. Tickets are required for this presentation only and are available for purchase from Black Anthology.

Space is limited. All members of the Washington University community who wish to attend are asked to register online here. If you are not able to join in person, sessions will be streamed live.

More information, including a complete schedule and listing of events and speakers, is available here.