Diversity Conference at Colorado State University Features Well-Known Keynote Speakers, More Than 55 Workshops

Colorado State University’s Diversity Conference this year will feature Morris Dees, N. Scott Momaday and Aly Coln, three keynote speakers who have a powerful influence on advancing cultural diversity within America.

     The fifth annual conference, "Diversity in the 21st Century: Access and Opportunity," is Sept. 26 -29 at the Colorado State campus and features more than 55 workshops in addition to the keynote addresses. All workshops and keynote addresses are free and open to the public.

     Morris Dees will deliver a keynote address, "With Justice for All," from 7-9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, in the Main Ballroom of the Lory Student Center. Dees, an attorney, founded the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1971 in Montgomery, Ala., with Joe Levin. Originally a small law office committed to equal rights issues, the non-profit center today is known internationally for tolerance education, legal victories against white supremacist groups and tracking hate groups throughout the United States.

Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center helped implement the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as well as establishing desegregation of recreational facilities, reapportionment of the Alabama legislature and integration of Alabama State Troopers. In the 1970s and 1980s, cases led by Dee and Levin won equal benefits for women in the armed forces, ended involuntary sterilization of women on welfare and reformed prison and mental health conditions.  In 1991, the center launched Teaching Tolerance, a program that provides teachers with free classroom materials on tolerance and diversity.   

A book-signing will follow Dees’ address in the Duhesa Lounge. Dees’ lecture is sponsored by the Monfort Professor-in-Residence program.

N. Scott Momaday will speak from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, in the Main Ballroom of the Lory Student Center. Momaday, who won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his novel, "The House Made of Dawn," draws upon the oral storytelling traditions of Native Americans in his work. The author of many books and articles, his works include "The Names: A Memoir," "In the Bear’s House" and "The Way to Rainy Mountain." A Kiowa Indian, Momaday founded the Buffalo Trust, a non-profit organization devoted to preserving and restoring Native American culture and heritage. In addition to writing novels, Momaday is a playwright, painter, storyteller and professor of English and American literature at the University of Arizona. His paintings, drawing and prints have been exhibited nationally and internationally.  

Momaday’s keynote address is sponsored by the Monfort Professor-In-Residence program. A book signing will follow Momaday’s address from 9-10 p.m. in the Duhesa Lounge in the Lory Student Center.

Journalist Aly Coln will speak from 2-4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, in the North Ballroom of the Lory Student Center. Coln is the Poynter Institute’s reporting, writing and editing group leader and director of diversity programs. At Poynter, Coln coaches journalists to explore diverse approaches to covering news and teaches ethical decision-making, as well as how to connect with under-covered communities. Col?n also consults with news organizations on diversity, ethics, writing and leadership. Formerly a diversity reporter at the Seattle Times, Col?n’s stories often focused on intersections where people of different races, cultures, gender and abilities meet. As a writing and journalist coach, he helps reporters and editors address diversity issues.

Col?n’s address is sponsored by Colorado State University student media.

In addition to featuring keynote addresses, the diversity conference will offer workshops for the public and local school children on a variety of topics as well as a cultural extravaganza for the community. Topics addressed in the workshops include equal opportunities in the workplace and for educational opportunities, cultural competency training, a comparative look at American cultural values and why they conflict with values from other countries, and discussion about diversity initiatives in the science, technology, engineering and mathematic disciplines.   

The conference is designed to address multiple issues for varying audiences, including people of different racial, gender and ethnic backgrounds.

For a complete schedule of workshops and events and to pre-register for the free conference, visit www.colostate.edu/Depts/OEOD.