Don’t just recognize difference. Make a difference.
That was the advice keynote speaker Dr. Roger Cleveland offered at the 11th annual Diversity Breakfast at Eastern Kentucky University on Tuesday, Oct. 2.
Cleveland, a former EKU faculty member now serving as the director of the Center for Research in the Eradication of Educational Disparities and as a professor of education at Kentucky State University, said, “Diversity matters, but it’s not enough.”
He said the path forward must include moral leadership, courageous conversations and a move from comfort to critical consciousness. “And it must start with ourselves.”
Also at the event, attendees heard from several speakers about diversity-related initiatives at the University, including a Summer Scholars program, a Diversity Scholar Research Group, Diversity Office Scholarship Program and Athletes on a Mission. The African Dance Ensemble and several Latino students provided the entertainment.
Equity Award recipients were also recognized: Dr. Nicola F. Mason, faculty; Dr. Ashley Sweat, staff; Clinton Nowicke, student; and Amie Gallion and Carol Murphy Reed, principal and school counselor, respectively, at Madison Middle School.
Juan Castro, an Ecuador native, brought greetings on behalf of the Board of Regents. President Benson also spoke, and student Stephen Jones spoke briefly about how, after encountering rounds of adversity in childhood, education has given him hope.