After a successful first day, the Intersect committee was excited to begin the second day of its Diversity and Leadership Conference.

“Yesterday went really well for a conference opening - it was a little hectic but we have all gotten into our routines,” said senior Delaney Hinnant, Intersect logistics coordinator, “today we really want to make sure that all of our sessions and our keynote speaker address wrap the whole conference up and connect everything we have been talking about in terms of diversity and leadership.”

The first session of the final day of Intersect began at 10:30 a.m. and had presentations such as "Through Various Lens: Using Your Privilege to Combat Prejudice," "#Slactivism: Can Social Media Activism Really Make a Difference," "An Unblock Party: Addressing Organizational Inequities," "Color-Blind Racism," "Why Pronouncing My Name Correctly Matters" and "Teaching about Race and Racial Inequities on Predominantly White College Campuses."

After a short break, the second session began at 12:30 p.m. with presentations such as "Battle Fatigue: Collateral Emotions," "Addressing Our Media’s Ethnically Refractive Lens," "An Introduction to Cultural Appropriation," "Context vs. Content: Understanding the Root Causes of Social Justice Issues," "Examining Roles of Campus Organizations in the Success of Underrepresented Students," "I’d Like to Check You for Ticks, but Don’t Touch My Hair" and "#RealTalk: On Unfiltering Our Lives to be More Authentic."

"This conference has been amazing in seeing so many different students from such different backgrounds getting involved," said Uchenna Baker, director of Residence Life, after her presentation about "Context vs. Content: Understanding the Root Causes of Social Justice Issues." She then suggested that all students listen to each other and judge their peers based on content rather than context.

The day remained busy as participants attended a final session starting at 1:30 p.m. focusing on  "Organizational Development: Skills Necessary to Work Cooperatively with Others to Address Inequities," "(DIS)CONNECTED: An Exploration of Our Hyper Social World," "How Will You Know, What You Don’t Know?" or "Pop Culture Power and Privilege." 

After an enlightening three sessions, the conference concluded with a keynote address presented by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, titled, "The Diversity Blues: Reframing the Diversity Agenda at WHCUs."

"We are dealing with racism 2.0 — contemporary discrimination," said Bonilla-Silva. "So many different ethnicities are still dealing with racism everyday, it's just that those being racist do it more subtly than they used to. So even though that is an improvement, we have not achieved our ultimate goal of diversity and equality."

The talk focused on apparently isolated incidents of racism throughout colleges and universities all across the country. Bonilla-Silva spoke about understanding the depths of the problems before trying to solve it.

“We need to keep our eyes on the prize. We need to fix the campus culture," said Bonilla-Silva. "These racially structural problems are not just national issues but local ones as well. You need to demand diversity in what you see around you — architecture, faculty, staff, students, food. All of it matters.” 

With the end of the key note address, the conference came to a close with more 250 participants going their separate ways in the hopes of improving diversity in their society and effectively leading social change.

Please note All comments are eligible for publication by ENN.