November 3, 2003

Diversity month kicks off

By Eric Rangus

The 2003 Unity Month celebration delivers the largest, most all-encompassing schedule of the event’s 20-year history. From the Unity Fair kickoff this afternoon in the Dobbs Center all the way through to the Nov. 22 Unity Ball, activities are scheduled most every day on campus and off to commemorate the diverse community Emory has become.

As befits the full docket, this year’s theme requires two sides of a T-shirt to advertise: "E=MC2 Emory=Multi Cultural Com-munities" is the front, and "UNITY=An Equation To Which We’re All Solutions" decorates the back.

"The planning committee came up with that very quickly," said Donna Wong, associate director of multicultural programs and services. "By participating in this kind of planning, they have a sense of ownership of the whole celebration."

Part of 2003’s expanded calendar is simply structural. Last year, the celebration known as Unity Week was extended to cover all of November, and the event was rechristened Unity Month.

But much of the increased emphasis on diversity comes from the work of the Unity Planning Committee, a 30-plus-person group of students and staff that touches all areas of the University.

Programmatic staples such as the poetry-based Café Unity, the cultural fashion show and faculty/student basketball games are being augmented by a variety of new events.

Delivering the month’s keynote speech, Nov. 10, will be Jane Elliott, a former grade-school teacher who now is a renowned public speaker on antiracism. While teaching in Iowa in the late 1960s, Elliott created an exercise that rewarded children based on the color of their eyes. The point she wanted to illustrate about racism was easy—even for third graders—to see.

Elliott’s work was chronicled on the PBS program Frontline in 1985. "A Class Divided" became Frontline’s highest rated episode ever.

Elliott has a full day planned on campus. She will speak at 7 p.m. on Nov. 10 in WHSCAB Auditorium, following a 6 p.m. screening of "A Class Divided" in the WHSCAB lobby. A smaller lecture is planned for students in three separate classes at 9:30 a.m. in Winship Ballroom.

Elliott’s lecture is just one of many notable events taking place throughout the month. Spelman College President Beverly Tatum will help kick off the month’s festivities with a Nov. 3 address in White Hall. "An Evening With Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam" brings a Tony Award-winning poetry reading to Glenn Auditorium, Nov. 19. The yearly RACES forum explores interracial dating, and a smorgasbord of artistic events—plays, films, dances—are mixed in with luncheon and dinner events and more guest speakers, providing everyone on campus a diversity of activities to go with a diversity of community.