UW–Madison Diversity Forum 2020 - The Pandemic Effect: Exposing Racism & Inequities

Diversity Forum 2020 Videos & Resources

The 2020 UW–Madison Diversity Forum, “The Pandemic Effect: Exposing Racism & Inequities,” was held as a virtual conference on Oct. 27 & 28, 2020. Browse through a full collection of videos, presentation materials and other resources to revisit or continue the learning from the sessions in the Diversity Forum. Please send any questions to events@cdo.wisc.edu.

Download the 2020 program (PDF)

Each year, Academic Planning and Institutional Research (APIR) compiles a presentation for the campuswide Diversity Forum, which provides an overview of available statistics on students, access and success initiatives, faculty and staff trends, climate studies, and other relevant topics.

Day 1 Session Descriptions and Resources

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Keynote Address: Seeing the Racial Water by Robin DiAngelo

Our New Inequities: Recognizing the Effects of Historic Racial Disparities During COVID-19

Scientific evidence shows minority populations, especially Black and Latinx communities, are experiencing a higher incidence of COVID-19 contraction and death. What appears to be a racial connection is linked to inequity in employment, healthcare access, pre-existing conditions and other disparities driven by poverty. This discussion will examine how historic disparities in every aspect of life for minority populations from food deserts and racism to immoral medical experiments and environmental contamination have resulted in increased vulnerability to disease and a growing gap in mortality rates for Black and brown people.



  • Angela Byars Winston, Ph.D., Professor of Internal Medicine, Director of Research and Evaluation in the UW Center for Women’s Health Research, Associate Director in the Collaborative Center for Health Equity, and faculty lead in the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research
  • Jennifer Young Choe Edgoose, M.D., Associate Professor (CHS), Family Medicine & Community Health, School of Medicine & Public Health
  • Gina Green-Harris, Director, Center for Community Engagement & Health Partnerships, School of Medicine & Public Health
  • Mariela Quesada Centeno, PhD. student, Human Development & Family Studies; Maternal and Child Health Community-Based at Centro Hispano; Roots4Change Co-op Administrator
  • Melissa Metoxen, Community & Academic Support Coordinator for the Native American Center for Health Professions, School of Medicine and Public Health

Activating the Commitment to Change: History of Campus Activism

All the stages of social change have a purpose from protests and marches to voting. Converting emotions and commitment to the next steps of change is essential to lasting impact and long-term solutions, but the work in between can be hard to define. This session address student activism; successes & challenges including the 1969 Protest which led to the creation of the Afro-American Studies Dept. and its 50th anniversary; Halloween costumes, Latinx, Pride, current SIC and other key times on campus. It will delineate ways to get involved with hands-on, real-time projects and grassroots steps essential to building toward the long-term change many of us have committed to making.

Presentation Materials


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Stress as a Public Health Crisis: The Daily Grind of Discrimination and Racism on Campus and Beyond

Originally termed Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, the differential impact of landmark events, systemic racial disparities and daily micro-aggressions on Black and brown people has been declared a public health crisis by Dane County. Emerging science shows the economic, psychological and emotional stresses suffered by people of color, especially Black people, is contributing to disparities in every realm of health and wellness from focus in the classroom to mortality rates. The intricate ways these stresses are manifested and create “triggers” that can block full social and intellectual engagement, as well as cause physiological responses, will be discussed from historic and contemporary contexts.


  • Claudia Marte, Mental Health Provider – Students of Color Focus, University Health Services
  • Alia Stevenson, Chief Programs Officer, Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness
  • Carl Wesley, Ed.D., President and CEO, Center for Self-Sufficiency

Racial Injustice in America: The Evolution Was Not Televised

Social media and international televising of the tragic death of George Floyd rocketed the issue of racism and social justice to heights all over the globe. During the past century of racial struggle, Gil Scott-Heron’s prophetic song, “The Revolution Will Not be Televised,” which became an anthem of the Movement in the 1970s, has proved prophetic. Modern media was the key to bringing the need for a social revolution into focus. The unending evolution of racism and resulting social injustice has always been real to its victims but remained a myth to the skeptical masses. The recorded documentation of countless incidents now make injustice undeniable, but for African Americans experiencing the daily terror, tragedy and trauma, there was never a question of how it came to this. A panel of African American men — the most frequent targets — discuss pervasive racism and how to change direction.This year’s town hall features the following speakers:

  • Ruben Anthony, Ph.D., President & CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison
  • Christy Clark-Pujara, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor in the Dept. of Afro-American Studies, College of Letters & Science
  • Mandela Barnes, Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin
  • Jerlando F.L. Jackson, Ph.D., Vilas Distinguished Professor and Department Chair, Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, School of Education
  • Elizer Darris, ACLU of Minnesota Smart Justice Campaign Organizer
  • Joshua Hargrove, Senior Associate at Tracey Wood & Associates law firm in Madison

A Brief History of Systemic Racism in America presentation (PDF) – by Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara

Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island (book) by Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara

The Untold Story of Black Suffrage in Wisconsin | Madison365

ACLU-MN Campaign for Smart Justice – The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is an unprecedented, multi-year effort to reduce the U.S. jail and prison population by 50% and to combat racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

Urban League of Greater Madison | Empowering Greater Madison Since 1968

Volunteer Opportunities | Urban League of Greater Madison

Donate to the UW–Madison Black Cultural Center Fund

Day 2 Session Descriptions and Resources

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Keynote Address: A Conversation with Austin Channing Brown

First Wave scholar Alpha Stokes performs “Rock, Paper, Scissors”

Untitled – by Corina Robinson (PDF) – Read “Untitled” the poem performed live by First Wave scholar Corina Robinson

Learn more about the First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Learning Community

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

Austin Channing Brown

HERSTORY: Voices from Women Students of Color Pursuing Careers in STEM Fields

The conditions for women of color to thrive in STEM involve a recipe of student success strategies that are culturally relevant and intentional. For example, research shows positive mentoring lowers attrition, increases GPA, and advances academic goals. The right environment or interventions develop student identity and promote advanced education in STEM. While there are many well-intentioned programs aimed to support women of color in STEM fields, often they are developed without input from the students they serve. This session will provide a unique opportunity to get a student’s perspective. Learn from students’ promising practices and opportunity areas for increasing and retaining women of color in STEM fields. Learn what makes students feel welcome and reduce feelings of alienation and isolation. Undergraduate and graduate women of color will share their experiences and offer recommendations for broadening participation and creating belonging for women of color in STEM.


  • Kudirat Alimi, computer sciences student, College of Letters & Science
  • Desiree Bates, Ph.D., Computational Chemistry Leader, Dept. of Chemistry, College of Letters & Science
  • Cheryl B. Gittens, Ed.D., Interim Deputy Vice Chancellor for Diversity & Inclusion, Elzie Higginbottom Vice Provost & Chief Diversity Officer
  • Eryne Jenkins, microbiology student, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
  • Baila Khan, public health masters student, School of Medicine and Public Health & College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
  • Bukky Leonard, mathematics curriculum and instruction doctoral student, School of Education
  • Angelica Lopez, biomedical engineering student, College of Engineering
  • Alexandra Villa, geoscience doctoral student, College of Letters & Science
  • Jazsmin Washington, chemical engineering student, College of Engineering

Medieval Studies Perspectives on Contemporary Racism and Cultural Encounter

Medieval images and symbols have increasingly been harnessed by alt-right groups to promote fantasies of pure white races in the past and present. In response, Medieval Studies scholars have emphasized how much more culturally diverse medieval culture was, but an emphasis on medieval globalism and cultural interchange often masks underlying racist narratives and structures that reveal fundamental continuities. The proposed workshop discussion will draw on lessons from a current seminar (Visualizing Race from Antiquity to Early Modernity) to explore how teaching classes on the pre-modern past can be used to shed light on current structures of racism, and how narratives of the past still underlie much of the scholarship of the history of premodernity in the present. Discussion will focus on short readings that connect medieval and contemporary racism. We will promote inclusive discussion following strategies recommended by the Mellon-sponsored Discussion Project.


  • Andrew Cade Barrow, graduate student, English, College of Letters & Science
  • Thomas Dale, Ph.D., Professor of Medieval Art and Architecture & Director of Graduate Studies, Art History, College of Letters & Science
  • Alex Kohler, undergraduate student, Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, College of Letters & Science
  • Holly McArthur, doctoral student, German, Nordic, and Slavic+, College of Letters & Science
  • Tirumular “Drew” Narayanan, doctoral student, Art History
  • Özlem Eren, doctoral student, Art History

Ableism Interrupted

This session explores the definition of ableism and how it has been institutionalized in higher education. Attendees learn about the different forms of ableism that exists on college campuses and how this affects disabled students, staff, and faculty. Participants had the opportunity to engage in discussion and ask questions related to able-bodied privilege. Finally, attendees learned actionable steps to address ableism. This is an introductory level session that is recommended for administrators, faculty, staff and students.

Presentation Materials

Ableism Interrupted presentation (PDF)

Additional Resources

Employee Disability Resources, UW–Madison

McBurney Disability Resource Center, UW–Madison


  • Kate Lewandowski, Access Consultant, McBurney Disability Resource Center
  • Mari Magler, J.D., Assistant Dean and Director, McBurney Disability Resource Center
  • Patty Cisneros Prevo, Assistant Director of Inclusion & Engagement, Wisconsin Athletics

Niceness is Not Anti-Racism: How White Women Can (and Must) Step Up Their Game

It’s not a secret that white women have continually failed Black women as allies. In this workshop, we will encourage white woman-identified participants to think more deeply about their allyship, discuss their failings honestly to overcome white fragility, and decide on some actions to improve. Presenters will deliver content and provide space for discussion around two main themes: 1) Intersections of white supremacy and patriarchy and 2) Anti-blackness.

Presentation Materials

Niceness is Not Anti-Racism presentation (PDF)

Additional Resources


  • Jessi Corcoran, Resource and Narrative Development Coordinator, UW Population Health Institute
  • Nestic Morris, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Email Jessi at jjcorc16@gmail.com or Nestic at nesticm@wcasa.org to further connect on topics or unanswered questions.

Fragility of Ability: Cripping Diversity to Enable Inclusive Action in a (Post-) COVID World

Through the lens of “fragility,” we invite more accessible ways to live and advocate for social justice as an anchor that informs social justice work and fosters cross-movement solidarity. “Cripping Diversity” asserts disability as essential to discourses on diversity: not an afterthought, not a mere matter of compliance, but an anchor that informs social justice work and fosters cross-movement solidarity. We recognize this pivotal moment in anti-racism action as coinciding with COVID-19 and we take the virtual formats as an opportunity to explore how we can creatively leverage affordances of technology to do intersectional DEI work. How do we create (digital) spaces that foster community and allow diverse embodiments and expressions of identity without imposing default uniformity? Concrete takeaways will focus on what we can learn from our current “remote” world to build a more inclusive future, whatever its form, and a more inclusive concept of diversity.

Employee Disability Resources, UW–Madison

McBurney Disability Resource Center, UW–Madison


  • Sarah Gamalinda, doctoral student, French
  • Jennifer Gipson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, French and Italian, Folklore Program Affiliate, UW–Madison
  • Clai Schlichting, recent UW–Madison graduate
  • Brigitte Fielder, Ph.D., Associate Professor, College of Letters and Sciences
  • William Winters, III, Digital Campaign Strategist and Coach

Designing an Intentional & Equitable Hiring Process

To build an inclusive, streamlined hiring process, the Career Exploration Center (CEC) and Cross-College Advising Service (CCAS) engaged in an in-depth review of its hiring practices to implement a process that: reduces bias, maximizes the candidate experience, and aligns with office values of promoting & fostering diversity and inclusion. We will share our concrete steps and systematic approach in this multi-faceted session (lecture, workshop, and Q&A). Participants will leave with a hiring practice toolkit to apply to their own organization’s hiring practices.

Presentation Materials

Intentional & Equitable Hiring handout (PDF)


  • Megan Armstrong, Academic Advisor, Cross-College Advising Service
  • Brian Bischel, Assistant Director, Cross-College Advising Service
  • Jonathon Ferguson, Director, Career Exploration Center
  • Kala Grove, Coordinator for New Advisor Training, Office of Undergraduate Advising
  • Alex Mok, Assessment Coordinator, Cross-College Advising Service
  • Gayle Viney-Goers, Communications Director, Cross-College Advising Service

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Witnessing Whiteness at UW–Madison

Studying how white racial identity influences our thinking and behavior is often overlooked in our pursuit to build cultural literacy of faculty, staff, and students. This session will share information about a workshop series called “Witnessing Whiteness: The need to talk about race and how to do it”, which seeks to help white participants explore their personal relationship to race, notice and respond to interpersonal and institutional racism, and improve relationships and collaboration across race to foster a more inclusive teaching and learning environment. The workshop will highlight why the facilitators decided to offer the “Witnessing Whiteness” community of practice at UW–Madison and how it has impacted past participants. Activities and resources will be shared to help session attendees reflect on their own white racialized identities and ways to continue learning in the future.

Presentation Materials

Witnessing Whiteness presentation (PDF)


  • Emily Dickmann, Associate Director for Training & Community Building, Office of Undergraduate Advising
  • Annette McDaniel, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, School of Human Ecology

Including People with Disabilities Based on their Abilities

As disabled individuals, we will discuss our strengths as well as the challenges we have faced. Yet the focus is not on ourselves, but on removing barriers for people with many different disabilities so they can succeed and thrive in work and in our communities. The format will be an introductory presentation, followed by a small-group discussion. We will encourage attendees to reflect on their own experiences and those of people they know. We will provide a safe space for attendees to ask disability-related questions.

Presentation Materials

Accommodating People With Disabilities presentation (PDF)

Additional Resources

Employee Disability Resources – UW–Madison

McBurney Disability Resource Center, UW–Madison


  • Julie Johnson, Data Loss Prevention, UW–Madison Information Technology
  • Laura Ogle, Privileged Access Management Admin, Office of Cybersecurity

Liars, Cheaters and Short-Haired Girls: Lessons on Gender Identity, Discrimination, Microaggressions and Beyond

Note: This session was canceled due to an emergency. Check back later for a recording of the intended presentation.


  • Julie Minikel-Lacocque, Ph.D., Associate Professor & Department Chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, UW–Whitewater College of Education and Professional Studies

Centro Hispano-School of Education Partnership: Linguistically and culturally responsive training to increase mental health and well-being of Latinx communities

The panel will describe the specific components of the grant that is to adapt state-of-the-art (and science) training for preparing heritage language students to provide mental health and community services to Spanish-speaking and bilingual members of the Dane County Latinx community. This partnership based in mutual beneficial and mutual respect, is a model for other community-university partnerships and for other communities of color. The partnership is also one of the first to provide specific use of multiple languages in mental health services for a Latinx community experiencing significant cultural and linguistic isolation and in a context of oppression, cruelty, and racism. Working together, the partnership will increase the quality of service currently available to serve Latinx populations, address social determinants of health present in Dane County, and increase the workforce equipped with fully bilingual and bicultural skills.

Presentation Materials

Centro Hispano-School of Education partnership grant summary (PDF)


  • Evelyn Cruz, Director for Program Planning and Evaluation, Centro Hispano
  • Gabriella Gaus, doctoral student, Counseling Psychology
  • Stephen Quintana, Ph.D., Professor & Chair, Counseling Psychology
  • Alyssa M. Ramírez Stege, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Counseling Psychology

Democracy, Diversity, and the American Experiment

This session is not available as a re-watchable recording.

First Wave (FW) Artistic Director, Professor Chris Walker and FW Creative Director, James Gavins, will co-facilitate Democracy, Diversity, and the American Experiment: a performance dialogue created and presented by scholars of the First Wave Hip Hop & Urban Arts Scholarship Program at UW–Madison.

In this session, we will explore ethical dilemmas that surround the idea of The American Experiment, in conjunction with OMAI/First Wave’s 11th Annual Passing the Mic Intergenerational Hip Hop Theater Festival taking place every evening this week (to register for free events, visit omai.wisc.edu/passing-the-mic). This 75 minute performance / discussion session will prompt conversations around the complexities that come with existing in the American Experiment. Who does this experiment serve and is it equitable for all who exist within this space?

The session will break in and out of performance, prompting the audience to discuss how they would handle the situation that has played out before them. The audience will participate through “call & response” with the performers and discuss prompts in their breakout rooms.


  • James Gavins, Creative Director, First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Learning Community
  • Chris Walker, Professor of Dance, Artistic Director of NuMoRune Collaborative, founding artistic director of the First Wave Hip Hop Theater Ensemble at UW–Madison

The Power of a Story: Bridging Our Differences Through Perspective Giving, Perspective Taking and Empathy

Think of a story that hooked your emotions; a story that may have altered your worldview, even just a little. When we lean in and listen, the power of story improves our emotional intelligence through awareness and experience of varied emotions, and the practice of empathy for others; particularly those with lived experiences different than our own. Empathy is a muscle we can build to understand what others are feeling. And, we need to build additional muscles to understand why the feelings are experienced. Research suggests a one-two punch of perspective-giving and perspective-taking is an effective way to build bridges that ignite social change across communities. Join us as we introduce you to – and provide space to practice – skills that build emotional intelligence capacity to share in story; give and take in differing perspectives; and bridge our differences for the purpose of moving beyond fragility and othering into the creation of authentic relationships and experiences.

Presentation Materials

Power of Story presentation (PDF)


  • Tamie Klumpyan, Program Manager, Inclusion@UW, Office of Learning and Talent Development
  • Sheridan Blanford, Director of Inclusion & Engagement, Wisconsin Athletics