Three Cheers for Diversity

For those of you who were busy this past weekend, you missed a truly remarkable event. An event of celebration, introspection, anger, hope, love, cooperation, sacrifice, possibility and change. You missed the Diversity Leadership Conference.

Friday’s speaker Given Kachepa opened my eyes further to the widespread problem of modern day slavery that occurs everyday in every country including the United States. In fact, after Mr. Kachepa’s speech and the movies presented, I thought seriously perhaps for the first time, about the hands which had made my clothes, prepared my food from raw material to meal, and had dug both the coal to heat my home and the silver and stones of my jewelry from the earth.

I wondered and wonder still if they had more than one nutritious meal everyday, clean water, warm clothes and access to healthcare and education as I do. The Diversity Leadership Conference has already impacted me and I thank Given Kachepa for his courage, faith and call for action.

Saturday was full of wonderful, thought provoking speakers and session leaders. I lead a privileged and charmed life as a white middle-class married woman in America. The conference truly opened my eyes to ongoing prejudice and discrimination that people live with every day. Speakers Dr. Mack T. Hines, Dr. Rita Villareal-Watkins and Derek Greenfield also challenged us all to think about diversity in the world, our countries, states, universities and communities and to be true stewards of change.

Only time will tell if I am personally able to keep my eyes open against the blinding nature of my personal privilege but thankfully awareness is the first step.

And there are people on our campus who are always committed to helping all of us embrace diversity to build better communities and lives.

These people planned this phenomenal event and without them our campus would seem less interesting, less diverse and less inviting. LaQuita Hancock, Romeal Dorasay – Johnson, Osiris Santos, Tracey Paxton, Brandon Soliz, Lauren Moore, Jessica Herrera, Lauren Luman, Elizabeth Mejorado, Alicia Lara, Jennifer T. Roberts, all of the volunteers, dignitaries and sponsors, I thank you. You are all wonderful examples of the good that can be accomplished when a group of people come together, embrace each others diverse lives and sacrifice your time, energy and talents to organize an event toeducate, mobilize and inspire others.

You all truly inspired me this weekend. Words cannot adequately describe my gratitude to you for this event. Thank you for your hard work and for living lives that touch and inspire us all. We are all better for meeting and getting to know you all this past weekend.

Thank you,

Amanda Hill

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