Campus Convo: Balancing Freedom of Expression and Diversity

Martin Luther King Jr. Advancing One Community Awards are announced prior to the campus conversation of Balancing Freedom of Expression and Diversity on Jan. 18, 2018. The evening's discussion participants were Howard Gillman and Mariah Watson. 

This year’s MLK Legacy Series Keynote will focus on the concept of antiracism and how to be an antiracist.

The lecture “How to Be an Antiracist” will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. This event is free and open to the public.

“Every year, Iowa State has a committee that puts on the [Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy convocation],” said nicci port, project director and LGBTQ+ initiatives for the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion. “That committee works to bring a lecturer to campus, and at that lecture [the Office for Diversity and Inclusion] presents the Martin Luther King Jr. Advancing One Community Awards.

The speaker at the lecture will be Ibram Kendi, an author and a professor of history and international relations at American University in Washington, D.C., and the founding director of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center.

“When I read Dr. Kendi’s book, I understood that being antiracist is where people who have power and privilege, such people who have had systems built for them and who benefit from them, work in ways to dismantle the systems,” port said. “Dr. Kendi’s book has provided me with a great education on utilizing the knowledge I have of the systems that benefit me and moving toward, ‘What can I do to not uphold those systems of oppression and racism?’”

Kendi is the author of the best-selling books "How to Be an Antiracist" and "Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America."

He received a doctorate in African American studies from Temple University and his bachelor’s degree in journalism and African American studies from Florida A&M University.

“Author Ibram X. Kendi's concept of antiracism re-energizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America — but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other,” according to the Lecture Series website. “Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like and how we can play an active role in building it.”

The Advancing One Community Awards will be awarded prior to the keynote address.

“Those awards go to people who have demonstrated the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on campus in their activism or their involvement,” port said.

Up to three individuals are awarded every year from all across campus, including students, faculty and staff.

The awardees for the 2020 Advancing One Community Awards are Liliana Delgado, senior in mathematics; Denise Williams-Klotz, student services specialist for Multicultural Student Affairs; and Nichelle’Le Carrington, graduate student in electrical and computer engineering.

The MLK Legacy keynote is co-sponsored by Multicultural Student Affairs, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Ivy College of Business, College of Design, College of Engineering, College of Human Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, African and African American studies department, history department, University Library, Ames Public Library Friends Foundation, YWCA Ames-ISU and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by Student Government.

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