Heather Tomko in a green and black shirt
Features & Articles

The Diversity of Diversity

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity Forum 2021 is, well, diverse in its topics and speakers. From challenging what counts as “bad” English to the role of social media in disability advocacy to using improv techniques to fight injustice, there’s a workshop for everyone at the virtual event.

Here are six sessions that will expand your consciousness and help to build a more just world for everyone.


Presenter: Heather Tomko
Wednesday, July 27, at 2 p.m.

From the workshop summary: You may have heard of #HotGirlSummer, but what about #DisabledGirlSummer? If this past year has taught us anything, it’s how much interaction and discussion happens online. In this session, we’ll delve into the intersection of disability and social media and the impact of representation online. We’ll cover how social media can be a huge benefit for the disabled community as well as what happens when the voices of disabled people get drowned out online. You’ll learn how social media algorithms can inadvertently silence disabled voices online and why that’s problematic. You’ll be introduced to some powerful online disability advocates and learn how to be a social media ally yourself.

“Bad” English: Dismantling Stigma and Taking Down Barriers to Communication

Moderator: Salvatore Poier
Thursday, July 29, at 2 p.m.

From the workshop summary: With a growing population of students whose first language is not English, it is fundamental for university instructors to nourish and appreciate different accents and sentence constructions. These often underline different ways of thinking and processing language that enrich us and our students. Moreover, many American students coming from unprivileged backgrounds also need to learn academic English, almost as if it was another language. The panel, which will include ESL speakers, will focus on the difficulties of entering a “perfect” English world and how the preoccupation with speaking perfectly can get in the way of social and academic relations.

Age Diversity in the Workforce: Adapting to Five Generations

Presenter: Lauren O. Wright
Thursday, July 29, at 10:45 a.m.

From the workshop summary: Generational diversity is growing increasingly prevalent in institutions of higher education. This diversity, like any form of diversity, can be an organizational asset when coupled with inclusion. If not, it will almost certainly produce conflict, reduced satisfaction and employee turnover. At the end of this workshop, participants will have tools for supervising a multigenerational staff, direction for turning dysfunctional conflict into functional conflict and a foundation for adapting their team or organization to generational diversity.

Supporting Sexual Assault Survivors

Presenters: Carrie Benson and Daniel Jacobson López
Thursday, July 29, at 2 p.m.

From the workshop summary: Participants will be provided with a brief overview of sexual violence on college campuses, and then the presenters will discuss cultural considerations toward working with survivors of sexual violence who belong to marginalized groups. Topics surrounding masculinities, heterosexism and racism also will be discussed.

Improv Activism: Learning How to Become Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Presenter: Emiola Oriola
Thursday, July 29, at 2 p.m.

From the workshop summary: This workshop will examine the impact that fear of the unknown has on our perspectives and participation in everyday activism. Choosing to avoid impromptu, unscripted, live dialogues and experiences with diverse people about tough topics may keep us safe from failure, but it also will keep us far from growth. This experiential workshop will lead participants through impromptu activities and lessons meant to help them address their own fears of the unknown and see the many benefits of becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable, even when it doesn’t make us look, feel or sound good—because the goal is not false perfection but honest progression.

Making Anti-Racism a Daily Practice

Presenters: Kirsten Ivey-Colson and Lynn Turner
Wednesday, July 28, at 10:45 a.m.

From the workshop summary: This workshop will introduce participants to The AntiRacist Table 30-Day Challenge—a long-form, self-paced anti-racism educational resource centered around history, nonviolent communication, meditation, reflection and art that extends beyond the traditional diversity training. Participants will learn what an anti-racist lens is and begin to understand anti-Blackness, its legacy and why it is important to dismantle. Participants will be empowered to take steps beyond reading a book and practicing anti-racism in theory, moving to practice and action in meaningful ways.

And so much more

Of course, there are many more sessions, including featured speakers and poster presentations, to explore during the July 26-29 forum—see the full schedule and register now.