News & Events
The Office of Institutional Diversity hosted its annual Day of Dialogue, where campus community members joined in group discussions and workshops centered on issues of race, gender and social justice.
Organizer Sabrina Gentlewarror said the day-long event, subtitled, "Race and Gender: Making Connections," aimed to raise awareness about racism and gender bias and explore avenues for creating equality on campus and beyond.
"BSU has a long commitment to diversity and social justice issues," she said. "Dialogue focused on issues of diversity and social justice builds on this history as we work together to make this campus -- and our lives -- characterized by an even deeper commitment to fostering respect and equity for all."
Keynote speaker was Rinku Sen, an Indian-American author and activist who is president and executive director of the Applied Research Center, a national racial justice think tank and home for media and activism.
One of her talking points centered on her concept of four levels of oppression. The first three levels are: the individual (internalized), the interpersonal (person-to-person), and the institutional. Finally is the structural. "At the structural level is when we start to get into the unjust rules that govern our society," she told a crowd in the campus center's auditorium.
Those rules that oppress diverse populations need to be changed and new ones implemented, she said. That starts at the individual level and works up to the institutional level, where people can bring about reformation. "A group of people can come together and shape an institution," she said, noting the importance of BSU's Day of Dialogue in promoting that type of change.
"That kind of love that transforms communities and cities will hopefully transform the world," she added.
In concluding, she said race is a big issue with equality today, but not the whole problem. Other dimensions, including gender and sexual identity, must be examined. "Race is a part of everything, but not all of everything," she said.
President Dana Mohler-Faria delivered the welcoming remarks for the day, saying the event would help increase understanding among participants about race and gender issues. "We need to then bring that understanding back to the fabric of this institution," he said.
Breakout sessions throughout the day aimed to tackle several aspects of race and gender equality, including: raising self awareness about the issues; increasing knowledge about race, gender, gender identity and the discrimination diverse populations experience; and improving skills for creating greater personal, institutional and societal awareness of racial and gender equity.
There was also a panel discussion featuring BSU students and employees who shared their experiences regarding race, gender and gender identity, and discussed their work to create greater racial and gender justice. (Rob Matheson, '07, University Advancement)
President Dana Mohler-Faria delivers the welcoming remarks.
Rinku Sen's full keynote address with audience Q and A.
Dr. Sabrina Gentlewarrior discusses how a person's identity determines their status in the world.