• 48°

7th annual Diversity, Inclusion conference is Sept. 20-24

The seventh annual Tri-State Conference on Diversity and Inclusion will be a week-long virtual event filled with community, collaboration, commitment, learning and inspiration.

Robert Pleasant — chairperson for this year’s conference and associate director of Student Resource Commons at Ohio University Southern — has worked with the conference planning committee to provide opportunities for self-reflection, increase cultural competency and to deliver tools to break down divisive barriers.

“The country is grappling with issues around race, social justice and challenges brought on by the pandemic,” Pleasant said. “However, I believe that we’ve been given this opportunity to unite and finally begin an authentic dialogue on the many lingering issues in America concerning race and other cultural issues.
“Each member of the planning committee understands that, as educational institutions and leaders in our communities, we must provide an opportunity like the Tri-State Conference on Diversity and Inclusion to encourage understanding and collaboration. This conference is a testament to our collective commitment to nurturing a culture that embraces understanding, respect and belonging.”

Join From Anywhere
This year’s conference will be available via Zoom Sept. 20-24. There will be no cost to attend; however, registration is required. Visit www.tristatediversityandinclusion.com for more information. The conference is open to all.

“Though we had hoped for an in-person gathering, the events will be even more accessible for those joining from around the Tri-State and the country,” Pleasant said. “Attendees will have the opportunity to learn and explore from presenters on a selection of topics throughout the week that can help us better serve our communities by addressing the divisions that exist.”

Each day will begin with a morning workshop followed by an afternoon of various breakout sessions.  Overall, the conference will feature 15 sessions during the week.

Speakers on the Issues
Dr. Elaine Richardson, The Ohio State University professor of Literacy Studies, College of Education and Human Ecology, will be the keynote speaker, presenting on “Underlying Conditions: Black Women and Girl-Identified People and Corona.”

Additionally, the conference will include two new student-center events.  On Thursday, there will be a Student Leadership Workshop with Daniel Juday from Columbus. And for the first time in the conference’s history, there will be a student panel discussion on “Student Perspectives: Social Justice, Diversity & Inclusion.”  Panelist Include Gabriela Lett and Brennan Rinehart (Mountwest Community and Technical College), Takira Williams (Marshall University), Langley Sebastian (Transylvania University), and Donovan Grooms (a recent graduate of West Virginia State University). The panel will be moderated by Veella Grooms, of Carnegie Mellon University.
Friday’s closing panel will Include Ohio State Senator Tina Maharath, who represents the 3rd Senate District, Kipp Colvin (Director, Communities & Volunteer Relations, Human Rights Campaign), Yi Ting Wang (Graduate Writing and Research Center, Ohio University), chief Joe Saunders (retired police chief West Virginia State University) and Mayor Matt Perkins (City of Ashland, Kentucky). The panel will be moderated by Dr. Teresa McKenzie, of Ohio University Southern.

To learn more about the 7th Annual Tri-State Conference on Diversity and Inclusion, visit  https://www.tristatediversityandinclusion.com/

This year’s conference is sponsored by Ohio University Southern, Ashland Community and Technical College, Marshall University, the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Morehead State University, University of Rio Grande, Mountwest Community and Technical College and Shawnee State University.