"Connecting Through Dialogue"

imgres BY APRILL EMIG | the Statesman

Racism. Sexism. Homophobia. The question of how to end these oppressions isn’t easy to answer, but the first step might just be a single conversation.

That’s the theme of this year’s Summit on Equity, Diversity and Multiculturalism. “Connecting Through Dialogue” will feature various workshops and speakers that emphasize just that.

The Summit is an annual event hosted by the Commission on Equity, Race and Diversity at UMD. The goal of the Summit is to provide a space to learn about issues surrounding various oppressions, allowing the community a time to gather and reflect.

“It’s such an important first step in organizing and educating and really moving forward,” Jordan Moses, a member of the Summit’s planning committee, said.

There will be six different workshop sessions: three in the morning and three in the afternoon. Within these sessions are multiple workshops, some of which are only for students. All sessions are rated on level of experience, from novice to advanced.

“It gives people who may be more advanced at their journey of inclusivity to say this seems too essential for me,” the director of the MultiCultural Center, Susana Pelayo-Woodward, said.

However, Pelayo-Woodward says the sessions are open to everyone regardless of experience; the rating acts more as a guideline than a barrier. People can come and go to Summit events throughout the day, stopping in at workshops when convenient or only attending the keynote speaker.

“We always want to make sure the Summit is accessible to anyone regardless of their schedule,” Moses said.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Rosa Clemente, a community organizer, freelance journalist and Hip Hop activist who ran for Vice President with the Green Party in 2008.

“We wanted someone who could bring an intersectional lens, to look at what it’s like to experience race and gender as a woman of color,” Moses said.

“I think her message is very powerful. I think she can reach out to many of the students here and challenge them,” Pelayo-Woodward said.

Providing a challenge is exactly what the Summit aims to do.

“We really want to create a culture on campus where these conversations are commonplace,” said Moses. “And even if you are closed off, it’s still going to permeate your life regardless of what circle of the university you’re in.”

According to Pelayo-Woodward, the Summit will provide skills, build alliances and help the community gain knowledge through open dialogue.


University of Minnesota Duluth

2016 Summit on Equity, Diversity and Multiculturalism

Connecting Through Dialogue

February 24, 2016

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