Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Clarence Page headlines Diversity Forum

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has presented annual Diversity Forums since 1998. Now in its 17th year, this centerpiece event for the university’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement (DDEEA) continues to address issues stretching beyond the borders of campus.

In a year that has seen activism, triumph and tragedy in Madison and other cities across the country, all members of the community — university-affiliated or not — are invited to attend the free two-day forum.

Photo: Patrick J. Sims

Patrick J. Sims

“We’re going to dive into the continuing urgency to define and address some of the longstanding issues of our time with a specific focus on our region and state,” says Patrick J. Sims, vice provost and chief diversity officer. “We’re beginning to see the pieces come together from the implementation of UW-Madison’s Diversity Framework to how we effectively reach out to support the communities that are inextricably the ties and targets of the Wisconsin Idea.”

The 2015 Diversity Forum, “Call to Action: Taking Our Diversity Work into Broader, Deeper and More Inclusive Waters,”takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 3, and Wednesday, Nov. 4, in Union South’s Varsity Hall. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided on both days.

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“We can’t and won’t relent on fine-tuning the role diversity plays in higher education for preparing students for the 21st century and the global workforce,” says Sims. “We’ve made progress and will keep pushing to resolve the challenges involving culture, race, society and economics.”

Clarence Page
Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune Columnist Clarence Page

The winner of the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, keynote speaker Clarence Page has been a columnist and a member of the Chicago Tribune editorial board since July 1984. His column is syndicated nationally by Tribune Media Services. He also participated in a Chicago Tribune vote fraud investigation, which won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for public service.  Page shared a 1980 Illinois UPI (United Press International) award for an investigative series titled “The Black Tax,” and a 1976 Edward Scott Beck Award for overseas reporting in Southern Africa.

In 1992, he was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and later received a lifetime achievement award from the National Association of Black Journalists. His 1996 book, “Showing My Color: Impolite Essays on Race and Identity,” was published by HarperCollins.

Following Page’s keynote will be a special open discussion on intergenerational community activism, racial justice and social advocacy with Clarence Page and M. Adams. Adams is a  UW–Madison graduate in bacteriology and published co-author, and Co-Executive Director of Freedom, Inc., a non-profit organization that helps low-income to no-income communities of color look at new definitions and solutions to ending violence against women, gender-non-conforming and transgender folks and children. Adams also is among the founders of Young, Gifted and Black, a grass-roots coalition dedicated to bringing about social, political, cultural, and economic change by challenging the root causes of violence, poverty, racism and discrimination. Our discussion moderator will be Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer Patrick J. Sims.

At the forum, participants can choose between books or film. A discussion of the university’s Go Big Read selection, Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy,” will take place; others may choose to watch two documentary film projects and participate in discussions with the experts behind them. “Journey of Hope: Stories of Transformation” features local activist Carmen Porco; “Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams” features producers from Wisconsin Public Television.

On Wednesday, Nov. 4, participants can choose from more than a dozen breakout sessions and town hall discussions.  Among these sessions will be a discussion on pre-college youth achievement in “A Continuing Town Hall Discussion: The Broken Cycle of Opportunity,” featuring John Odom, Madison community leader; Jennifer Cheatham, superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District; and Ruben Anthony, executive director of the Greater Madison Urban League. A discussion on community climate and diversity beyond the campus will also take place in “A Tale of Two Cities: Perceptions vs. Reality in the Greater Madison Area.”

For a full list of breakout sessions and times go to: https://diversity.wisc.edu/forums/diversity-forum-2015/. The Diversity Forum is hosted by the Office of the Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer and the DDEEA. For additional details, go to https://diversity.wisc.edu/ and click on the 2015 Campus Diversity Forum button.