Anthony Ray Hilton in a black suit
Features & Articles

Prison Reform, Anti-Asian Hate Among Topics of Upcoming Forum

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Featured speakers at this year’s Diversity Forum will include Anthony Ray Hinton, who was wrongfully convicted of two murders and spent 30 years on death row in Alabama. 

Among the longest serving death row prisoners in the state, Hinton was convicted on the basis of misidentification, bias and inadequate legal representation. With the assistance of the Equal Justice Initiative, led by renowned attorney Bryan Stevenson, Hinton was exonerated and released in 2015. The 2019 film “Just Mercy” depicts Stevenson’s journey in seeking justice for wrongfully convicted death row inmates, including Hinton.

Hinton’s story is one of many that showcase the theme of this year’s virtual forum: dismantling oppressive systems and building just communities. 

Other featured speakers will include ACLU national board president and civil rights leader Deborah Archer and Russell Jeung, co-founder of the Stop AAPI Hate—a coalition that tracks and responds to incidences of hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Anneliese Singh, the award-winning author of “The Racial Healing Handbook” and the “Queer and Trans Resilience Workbook,” will speak as part of an event on building community-supported healing.

Scholars from the University of Pittsburgh will also be featured throughout the July 26-29 event. Keisha N. Blain, associate professor of history, author and president of the African American Intellectual History Society, will speak on Wednesday, July 28. Jules Gill-Peterson, associate professor of English and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies, and Darren Whitfield, assistant professor in the School of Social Work and Department of Psychiatry and direct practice chair, will speak as part of the panel on transgender rights on Wednesday, July 28.

The full schedule of events, including workshops, is now available on the Diversity Forum 2021 website.

Register for the forum today.

Pre-forum institute

In conjunction with the forum, the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is offering a two-day pre-forum institute, Racial Equity Consciousness: A Framework to Foster Antiracist Practices and Culture Across Communities, from July 26-27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The two-day intensive and interactive course is designed to provide individuals with a framework for advancing racial equity within their organizations. At the pre-forum institute participants will learn the six areas of developing racial equity consciousness. The cost of pre-forum institute is free to University of Pittsburgh faculty and staff. 

Deadlines approaching

The Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the Center for Creativity are looking for creative projects as part of this year’s Art of Diversity Showcase.

All members of the Pitt community and the Pittsburgh region are invited to submit creative work of any kind, including visual art, music, dance and writing. Work will be displayed on the showcase gallery website and University social media channels with artist attribution. Submit your work by July 9

Members of the Pitt community and the community at large are also invited to submit virtual poster presentation proposals by July 16. Presentations should exhibit research, community-based efforts and educational initiatives designed to address or eliminate inequities in communities. Poster presentation videos will be submitted and recorded on Flipgrid (code to be sent after submission review) and will be available to the audience throughout the duration of the forum.