Diversity Forum 2nd keynote speaker named—Steven Canals, creator and executive producer of FX drama series ‘Pose’

Steven Canals
Steven Canals

Steven Canals, a screenwriter and producer best known for co-creating and executive-producing the FX television show Pose, will provide the Day 2 keynote address at the 2021 UW-Madison Diversity Forum.

Over three seasons, Pose has featured the largest transgender cast ever assembled for a scripted series. Season 1, set in the late 1980s, introduced the stories of Black and Latinx LGTBQ+ models and dancers enmeshed in New York City’s drag ball culture. Season 2 begins in 1990 by evoking the AIDS crisis of the era, with more than half of the characters living with HIV or AIDS. The third and final season, which premiered on May 2, 2021, is set in 1994 with the AIDS epidemic in full swing. Beyond its diverse casting, Pose has won acclaim for its daring themes and perspectives. The New York Times has called Pose a series that “demands attention,” and Variety calls it “revolutionary.”

Hailing from the Bronx, Steven Canals earned an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA, where he developed the first script for Pose. Prior to working in entertainment, he served as a LGBT resource coordinator at SUNY-Cortland while completing his Master’s degree there part time. He is of Afro-Puerto Rican heritage and identifies as queer. Canals resides in Los Angeles.

In addition to Steven Canals, Diversity Forum welcomes Dr. Russell Jeung, a professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University and cofounder of the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center, as the Day 1 keynote speaker. A highly respected sociologist, Dr. Jeung has studied social movements, community organizing, race and religion and the Asian Pacific Islander experience for decades. In the last year, he has also emerged as a powerful advocate and voice in the media for revealing and countering racism, xenophobia and hate directed at people of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) descent in the United States. Professor Jeung co-founded Stop AAPI Hate with the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and Chinese for Affirmative Action.

The new deadline for submissions for 2021 Diversity Forum presentations is Monday, May 17

For the second year, the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement is issuing a call for proposals for breakout sessions at the Diversity Forum, held on November 2 and 3 at Union South as well as online in an anticipated hybrid format. We welcome submissions from campus partners, Madison-area community members, and partners throughout the Midwest. Proposals for 75-minute breakout sessions may take the form of workshops, panel discussions or lectures and can be submitted here.

Successful proposals will meet some or all of the following criteria:

  • Align with the Forum’s mission to update, educate and activate attendees
  • Provide an interdisciplinary perspective on the latest research and best practices in diversity, equity and inclusion with practical applications for a broad audience
  • Respond to or build upon key issues of the day and/or reflect the keynote and overall themes of the 2021 conference
  • Help increase attendees’ understanding of matters of importance to people from historically marginalized or underrepresented groups
  • Provide a relevant contextual starting point for discussion, self-learning and/or interactive work among attendees

Learn more about the call for proposals, including examples of well-received past breakout sessions: https://diversity.wisc.edu/2021/03/call-for-proposals-uw-madison-diversity-forum-2021/

For more information on Diversity Forum, contact Mary Carr Lee, Communications Director at the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement, at Mary.CarrLee@wisc.edu

DOWNLOAD PHOTOS: https://uwmadison.box.com/s/bsmglvkshnhd0b2dhqw8a4z0fvgs85i0