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UL Lafayette sponsoring community dialogue series on race, social justice

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A multiday public dialogue at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette will explore issues of race, equality and social justice within the city and beyond.

“Race & Social Justice: A Three-Day Community Conversation” includes four events – a trio of virtual panel discussions and an in-person, interactive “privilege walk.”

The virtual discussions are open to the public; the fourth event is for students and other members of the University community. All are free and will be held Sept. 8-10.

In a joint statement, organizers said the events “reflect the University’s role as a forum for open, honest discussions about challenges faced by our community and nation as a whole.”

“In recent weeks, Lafayette has entered a renewed period of civic expression, debate and self-examination about issues of race, social justice and equality. As a public institution, the University has an obligation to engage these topics and explore their effects through both scholarly examination and community discourse.”

Tuesday, Sept. 8

“New Perspectives: The Impact of Faculty Diversity on Student Success,” a virtual panel discussion, will feature undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and alumni who will share personal stories that demonstrate the importance of faculty diversity for the student experience.

It is part of the Office of Campus Diversity’s Courageous Conversations series.

Panelists will include undergraduates Kailon Babineaux, Farrah Loston, and Keilen Tauriac; graduate student Julian Brooks; faculty members Denise Linton and Kiwana McClung; and alums Bianca Cook and Evan Daniels.

Deans of the UL Lafayette’s academic colleges will also participate. Taniecea Mallery, UL Lafayette’s chief diversity officer, and Tonya Bolden-Ball, UL Lafayette alum and project manager of South Louisiana Community College’s Center for Minority Excellence, will moderate.

It is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m. For more information and to register, click here.

Wednesday, Sept. 9

Faculty from the College of Liberal Arts will share insights from research and teaching in their respective fields that shed light on recent police shootings and protest movements.

Topics during the virtual panel discussion will include the justice system and the history of incarceration in the region; police practices and reform; racial profiling; protest and free speech; social disparities and exclusion; the legacy of slavery and racism in Lafayette and the Deep South; and the Civil Rights Movement and its legacy.

A chat-based question-and-answer session will follow presentations by faculty members Amy Brown, Mary Farmer-Kaiser, Theodore Foster, Dave Khey, Maria Seger, Gabriela Vitela and André Williams.

The discussion is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m. via Zoom. The meeting ID is 97055572253; the passcode is 2020.

Thursday, Sept. 10

Two events are scheduled for Sept. 10.

The Guilbeau Center for Public History is sponsoring an online panel of community organizers and social justice advocates who will speak about the Black experience in Acadiana, both historically and in the wake of the police shooting of Trayford Pellerin.

This conversation-based webinar is part of the center's Shared Histories Project, which is documenting the COVID-19 pandemic and the movement for Black lives. 

Confirmed speakers include Phebe Hayes, director of the Iberia African American Historical Society; Skyra Rideaux, co-founder and chief operating officer of Conversation Starters, a Lafayette-based consultation firm that focuses on diversity issues; and Corey St. Ewart, founder of Acadiana Black.

History undergraduate student Trevian Ambroise will moderate.

The discussion will begin at 5 p.m. and will be held via Zoom. Participants are asked to register here. More information is available on the Guilbeau Center’s website.

The Guilbeau Center is part of the Department of History, Geography and Philosophy.

Also on Sept. 10: “Watch Your Step,” a privilege walk, will be held from 4-5 p.m. on the band practice field near Baker Hall.

During the event, participants will be asked a series of questions; their ability to move forward is based on their responses. The activity requires participants to reflect on the ways society privileges some individuals and their experiences over others.

“Watch Your Step” is sponsored by the University Program Council. It will be hosted by Boo Milton, a UL Lafayette graduate and community organizer.

In order to maintain social distancing at this in-person event, spaces are limited. Students are asked to bring their Cajun Cards to participate. Masks are required.

More information is available on University's Calendar of Events

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