North Texas Daily

14th Annual Equity and Diversity Conference to give participants a new view on how to treat one another

14th Annual Equity and Diversity Conference to give participants a new view on how to treat one another

14th Annual Equity and Diversity Conference to give participants a new view on how to treat one another
February 17
23:13 2014

Ashley Salazar / Intern Writer

Actress Vivica A. Fox and documentary filmmaker Lee Mun Wah are keynote speakers at UNT’s 14th annual Equity and Diversity Conference, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at the Gateway Center.

This year’s conference, “Celebrating Diversity, Building Inclusion,” will have several information sessions focusing on different topics throughout the day and a 90-minute special set of advanced workshops that allow participants to dig deep into difficult topics.

“The Equity and Diversity Conference is held each year as an opportunity for those who work in higher education to focus on issues of diversity, inclusion, equity and access,” director of multicultural programming Uyen Tran-Parsons said.  “It allows participants to stay up to date on legal changes and trends, and fine tune their professional skills.

Registration for the conference closed on Feb. 14 and is currently full.  Anyone interested in attending will be placed on a waiting list and the Learning Center will call participants as cancellations come in.

Tickets are free for students, $50 for UNT faculty, staff and alumni, $150 for general public.

The conference will begin with a light breakfast during check-in at 8 a.m. and a brief welcome speech will be given before the day’s first keynote speaker, Mun Wah..

Tran-Parsons said she has attended many of Mun Wah’s workshops and always leaves with a different perspective on life.

“Lee Mun Wah has a very unique teaching style, one that is calm and zen, yet evokes critical thinking about what you believe and why you believe it,” Tran-Parsons said. “He gets you to think about your role in advancing social justice issues.”

A session by Valerie Davis and Dolores Bischof – members of the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau – will follow with “The Economic Status of Women of Color.” It will cover topics such as women’s participation in the workforce, women’s contribution to family income, educational attainment, the wage gap and impact of the gap on women’s retirement incomes.

“We are looking forward to having the opportunity to network with students and others in attendance at the conference,” Bischof said. “Young women seem to have a lack of interest in or knowledge of laws that protect their rights as working women.”

UNT’s Learning Center’s Coordinator for Academic Success Programs Tara Petty and Coordinator of Supplemental Instruction Aisha Marshall will also speak in a session, “It’s About Ability!” which will discuss designing programs and services inclusive of students with learning differences.

“I hope students, faculty, staff and the community really take advantage of the information that will be shared at the conference. What we focus on becomes our reality,” Marshall said.  “Diversity is such an integral part of our success. We have a long way to go to address the inequalities that currently exist. I believe that positive change is possible and inevitable.”

The second keynote guest, Fox, will close out the conference with a speech at 4:15 p.m.

“Ms. Fox works in the entertainment industry – a profession that has a long history of being ‘behind the times’ when it comes to equality,” Tran-Parsons said.  “She can provide insight into a world that others may not know that much about, a world that is beyond red carpet events and movie premieres.”

Tran-Parsons said she feels the conference is a great time investment.

“Diversity continues to be an important topic, whether you are in politics, education, or corporate America,” she said. “I encourage everyone to examine their role in advancing equity and access for all.”

A full list of workshops and speakers can be found on UNT’s 2014 Equity and Diversity Conference page.

Feature photo: Vivica A Fox. Photo courtesy of

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