KOKOMO, Ind. – What is social justice? And what role does it play in diversity, equity, and inclusion?
These questions and more will be examined in the inaugural social justice speakers series event at Indiana University Kokomo, at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 28.
Civil rights attorney Joseph Richardson will present, “DEI vs Justice: How we ALL Win,” in the Kelley Student Center, Room 105. The event, hosted by the IU Kokomo Multicultural Center, is free and open to the public.
Tess Barker, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management, said considering these types of issues benefit all students, as well as their communities.
“I hope it allows students to see the way they can impact the world for the better,” she said. “For students from diverse backgrounds, it underscores that IU Kokomo is a place that values and supports their success. It also creates graduates who are more able to work in a global, multicultural world. Even those who don’t attend will benefit from being in classrooms with other students who express a broader worldview.”
Barker plans for future speakers to discuss specific first-person experiences, but said Richardson provides a broader view of how social justice and the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion are different, but must work together.
“We wanted to have someone who would talk about these ideas in a more expansive way, someone who could help students, the campus, and the larger community think about how social justice impacts everyone, no matter what their first person identity or experience is” she said. “He shows how they are connected, but also different and distinct. We hope everyone who comes will be inspired to find their own entry point into justice work in a different way.”
As an attorney, Richardson can offer context to many national events that don’t always make sense to people outside the courtroom. The goal for this presentation, and future speakers in the series, is to equip those attending to be catalysts for moving towards increased justice on the campus, in the community, and globally.
“I hope to get our campus community to start thinking about social justice as work we can all be involved in, and the Multicultural Center is going to be a place we can find connection and support in continuing that work,” she said. “The center will be a place to focus people’s energy and interest to support their work in this area in the future.”
Barker hopes to have two more speaker series events during the 2021 to 2022 school year, with one focused on the role of art and artists on social change. The campus equity ambassadors will pick the topic and speaker for an additional presentation.
The social justice speaker series is funded with grants from the IU Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council, The IU Queer Philanthropy Circle, and NIPSCO.