bridging differences symposium

William Woods to host fifth annual diversity and equality symposium

“Bridging Differences: Conversations on Gender, Race and Equality” to feature lectures, discussions and annual art exhibit

After a year’s hiatus due to COVID-19, William Woods University (WWU) is set to host its fifth annual symposium next week with programming that explores issues of diversity and equality. Moving to a mostly virtual format for the first time, “Bridging Differences: Conversations on Gender, Race and Equality” will be held from Monday, March 29 through Wednesday, March 31, featuring lectures, discussions, and a film screening.

“We established the symposium five years ago as college campuses and our nation wrestled with issues of race relations, sexual misconduct, equality and free speech, and it is clear that in 2021, the need for such dialogue is as important as ever,” said Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett, president of William Woods University. “William Woods will always be committed to fostering a diverse, inclusive and respectful campus environment, and the discussions we are about to once again engage in reflect that.”

The symposium was made possible through a generous donation by former William Woods associate professor of Spanish Dr. Mary Mosley, who stated “my hope is that William Woods can become known as a leader in addressing these important social issues, and a university that is not afraid to confront the country’s most pressing problems.” The symposium is also sponsored by the President’s Concert and Lecture Series at WWU.

The schedule of symposium events consists of the following:

Monday, March 29

3:30 p.m., Dulany Library Auditorium: John Lewis: Good Trouble

Using interviews and rare archival footage, John Lewis: Good Trouble chronicles the civil rights icon’s 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, healthcare reform and immigration. This film screening is limited to 28 people.

7 p.m., Virtual (Zoom): Keynote presentation by Dr. Andrea Boyles – Unpacking the Matrix: Learning Racism as an Intersecting Sphere of Discrimination

andrea boyles

Dr. Andrea Boyles is a community-centered, social justice feminist and race scholar, whose research accounts for topics ranging from the intersection of race, gender, and class; community and neighborhood disorder; segregation and racial-spatial politics to race, place and policing; social movements and collective actions; and social inequality.

Tuesday, March 30

5:00 p.m., Virtual (Zoom): Stories Along The Way

WWU Board of Trustees members Major General Byron S. Bagby and Vicki Wilkerson ’77 will share stories and engage in conversations about the importance of diversity and inclusion throughout their lifetimes.

7:00 p.m., Virtual (Zoom): Alex Tha Great

Alex tha Great

Alex Tha Great (Given Real Encouragement Amongst Turmoil) is a spoken word artist, speaker, playwright, and activist. She was the runner-up for the 2018 National Civil Rights Museum Drop The Mic Poetry Slam and a 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam finalist.

7:00 p.m., Virtual (Zoom): Intersectionality of Race, Gender and Trauma

A panel of men from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated will discuss the intersectionality of gender, race, trauma and mental health. They will also discuss their experiences with social work and how the profession has impacted the larger Black community. The panel will be moderated by WWU Board of Trustees member Major General Byron S. Bagby.