North Texas Daily

Equity and Diversity Conference returns

Equity and Diversity Conference returns

January 31
11:39 2013

Morgan Gentry

Staff Writer

For 13 years, UNT’s Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity program has hosted the Equity and Diversity Conference, which will take place Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Union.

It’s a one-day conference that features three keynote speakers and five concurrent workshops as part of this year’s theme “A Journey to Freedom.”

The theme honors the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Students will have the opportunity to hear and interact with the speakers, as well as learn about their paths to freedom in their respective fields.

This year’s speakers are award-winning journalist and veteran CNN anchor Don Lemon, chief diversity officer for the Human Rights Campaign Cuc Vu and Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, the National Youth Vote Director for the Obama for America Campaign and co-founder and chair of the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network.

Vice president for Institutional Equity and Diversity Dr. Gilda Garcia hopes that students make new connections and gain the value of inclusion. She believes that including new people and having an understanding of different perspectives can really broaden a student’s horizon.

“We try to make this about all the ways people are different and celebrate it,” Garcia said.

The speakers were selected based on input from UNT students. Director of Multicultural Center Programming Uyen Tran Parsons said that the mix of speakers this year is widespread, with a variety of issues to cover like immigration, race, ethnicity and women’s rights.

“The event is not just for UNT students and faculty, other universities and communities,” Tran Parsons said. “The event is a great way to network across the Metroplex with individuals who care about diversity issues.”

With around 400 people expected to attend, the conference will have workshops addressing service learning, emotional intelligence, unconscious bias, stereotypes, abilities or disabilities and learning about privilege and what it means to have it.

“Everybody brings different perspectives, but I’m looking forward to Don Lemon,” Garcia said. “I love his bow ties.”

UNT students will be able to attend the conference for free. Tickets cost $50 for staff, faculty and alumni, and $150 for non-UNT participants.

Everyone must register before Friday morning to attend. The conference runs from 8:30 a.m to 5 p.m., and attendees can come and go as they please.

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