• Midland College hosts diversity conference

    “Embracing Differences:  Communication, Culture and Social Injustice”

    On Friday, April 16, the Midland College Fine Arts & Communications Division invites all to a special FREE virtual conference that aspires to gain a greater understanding of how communication can positively influence social justice and affect culture.  Conference time is 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

    Keynote speaker is Michelle Cantu-Wilson, director of Teaching and Learning Initiatives and Special Projects at San Jacinto College in southeast Houston. She is a member of the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE) and is the co-host of LatinX Learners. Michelle has worked closely with the Diverse Student Populations – Equity, Education and Excellence department at San Jacinto College and has been involved in district-wide equity work that has seen the creation of college-wide Equity Chats for employees.

    Spotlight speaker is James Chase Sanchez, who will conduct a special conference workshop that guides participants through raw interview footage of people discussing race and racism from his last documentary, Man on Fire, which was about the legacy of white supremacy in Sanchez’s hometown of Grand Saline, TX. Participants will spend time in small groups and a larger group discussing the rhetorical underpinnings of each interview’s ideological perspectives on race. In the end, Sanchez will tie these individual interviews to rhetorical, sociological and critical race theory perspectives to show how we can reframe implicit bias and white supremacy.

    The April 16 conference agenda also includes breakout sessions from other engaging speakers throughout the country, including Midland College faculty and students.  These sessions will focus on thoughtful and meaningful discussions as well as guided self-reflection where participants will be able to uncover and examine diversity, equity, and social justice issues and topics. A special feature of the conference will occur between 11:20-12:00 noon when top Midland College Speech students will compete in a social justice speech competition.

    Conference coordinator is Betty Clements, Midland College department chair of Modern & Classical Languages and Speech. Other key Midland College employees who have helped organize the conference are Dr. Whitney Rakich, who served as conference planning chair; Dr. William ‘Chris’ Brown, conference panel chair; Steve Gaines, speech competition chair; and Will Torres, conference program chair.  The Midland College Foundation Chaparral Circle Endowment Fund is providing funding.

    The conference is free; however, registration is required.  Registration information and detailed conference agenda is available at www.midland.edu/differences

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