Washington University in St. Louis will invite its entire community to gather to explore issues of diversity and inclusion at a Day of Discovery & Dialogue. The event will take place Feb. 24-25 on the Medical and Danforth campuses, offering participants the opportunity to pick up a conversation that began last February with the inaugural gathering, which was inspired in large part by events that transpired in Ferguson and the larger St. Louis region in 2014.
“It is not only important that we continue the constructive dialogue that began last February, it is absolutely vital as we keep working on becoming a more engaged, welcoming and inclusive community,” said Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. “Last year’s event was just the beginning. We must sustain our momentum in order to live up to our goal of ‘doing better and being better.’”
The Day of Discovery and Dialogue also fulfills one of the goals identified by the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee appointed last spring and tasked with developing a strategy and action plan for the university in these areas. The continuation of universitywide diversity and inclusion events was among the committee’s 12 recommendations.
The event will begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, in the Eric P. Newman Education Center on the Medical Campus with a keynote address and conversation with Maria Hinojosa, anchor and executive producer of National Public Radio’s “Latino USA,” the network’s only national Latino news and culture weekly program; and executive producer of “America by the Numbers” on PBS. An award-winning journalist, Hinojosa has reported domestically and internationally for some 25 years and is the founder of The Futuro Media Group, which is dedicated to producing journalism that gives a “voice to the voiceless,” telling stories that are under-reported by traditional media. After her talk, Hinojosa will be joined on stage by a Washington University student for a brief conversation, followed by a Q&A session with the audience.
The event will continue at noon Thursday, Feb. 25, in Knight Hall’s Frick Forum with lunch and an interactive event that will put on display commentaries, videos or other reflections submitted by members of the university community. Anyone wishing to contribute thoughts on “what inclusion means to you” may do so at any time using the #WashUVoices hashtag on social media.
The afternoon will open with a welcome from Wrighton, followed by “Discovering Inclusion, Short-Form,” a series of brief presentations by Washington University students, faculty and staff in lecture and creative formats, with time for group reflection throughout. The presentations will lead into “Envisioning Inclusion, Real-Time,” a small-group exercise for all participants designed to consider the important question: “How do we achieve the inclusive community we aspire to be, where all individuals can be heard and respected?” Provost Holden Thorp will help to close the afternoon by facilitating collective reflections on the day.
The event will continue into the evening as SiriusXM personality and Washington University alumnus Joe Madison, host of “The Joe Madison Show,” brings his broadcast to campus. The program, titled “An American Conversation: On Campus, Protest to Progress,” will focus on diversity on college campuses and feature members of the Washington University community and other invited guests. The show will be recorded in front of a live audience from 7-9 p.m. in the Emerson Auditorium in Knight Hall, and will air on SiriusXM on March 4. A 1971 Washington University graduate, Madison’s show airs weekday mornings from 6-10 a.m. ET on SiriusXM’s Urban View Channel to an audience of 26 million potential listeners.
A complete schedule of events is available on the WashU Voices website, where participants are encouraged to register and learn more.
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