Race week: rethinking diversity

” Thirteen years ago President Bill Clinton hosted the town meeting on race in EJ Thomas Hall, and the effects of this first meeting are still felt more than a decade later. I challenged all Americans to join me for at least a year in addressing the enormous challenge of making one America out of all of our racial, ethnic diversity in this country, Clinton said.”

Thirteen years ago President Bill Clinton hosted the town meeting on race in EJ Thomas Hall, and the effects of this first meeting are still felt more than a decade later.

I challenged all Americans to join me for at least a year in addressing the enormous challenge of making one America out of all of our racial, ethnic diversity in this country, Clinton said.

Clinton chose the University of Akron as the first location of a series of town halls designed to address the issue of race in America.

In commemoration of the tenth-anniversary of Clinton’s visit, a commission was formed to launch a one-week event that brought together key-note speakers, films and face-to-face discussions centering on race.

Due to the popular response, Race Week continues three years later.

The success of Rethinking Race is in largely due to the committee largely comprised of faculty who incorporate rethinking race into their curriculum, Fedearia Nicholson, the director of multicultural development and co-chair of Race Week, said.

The committee’s members come from all departments of the university and make it a point to emphasize the week-long event into their classes. Many require students to attend lectures and write papers about the events. All of them feel it is their responsibility to prepare students to be leaders in a global workforce and that includes learning to interact with people of different races, genders sexual orientations.

This year an estimated 5,000 students are expected to attend the week’s worth of events.

The committee has also made it a point this year to book speakers and schedule events that reflected more than the black and white discussion. This year, the event attempts to reach out to races that are often not discussed.

For the first time the event scheduled a Native American, Robert Roche, speaker to address the problems of indigenous peoples. Roche will speak Feb. 11 at 6 p.m.

Dr. Evelyn Hu-Dehart, professor of history and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University, spoke about being a Chinese-American, race, immigration and citizenship. Her Feb. 2 lecture marked the first time that Race Week included the heated topic of immigration.

Nicholson said that part of the week’s goal is to give students the opportunity to think about and address challenging and complicated issues.

The event also organizes face-to-face panels. These panels have a facilitator who leads a group of students in discussing Hate Speech, the Constitution and You and The Politics of Immigration.