October 31 , 2005
Month events meant to spark dialogue, celebrate diversity
By chanmi kim
Are You In?” is the challenge of this year’s
Unity Month, which kicks off today, Oct. 31, with a fair in the Dobbs
Center’s Coca-Cola Commons.
Unity Month’s purpose is not only to celebrate
diversity but also to “learn
from each other’s differences and similarities,” said planning committee
chair Donna Wong, associate director of multicultural programs and services. “It
is intended to educate and raise awareness about the different cultures and riches
at Emory,” she said.
To coincide with this year’s goal of opening
lines of communication, Wong said, Unity Month planners worked to
increase the educational activities that
promote discussion and learning. “We really focused this year on having
dialogue—difficult dialogue,” Wong continued.
This year’s keynote speech, to be given by Stanford
Lawrence Bobo and Marcyliena Morgan, professor of sociology and associate professor
of communications, respectively, is a testament to this commitment. Titled “Talking
Race Post-Katrina,” it will be held Nov. 14 in the School of Law’s
Tull Auditorium and will cover such issues as racial dynamics, the growing gap
between the rich and poor, and African Americans in New Orleans after Hurricane
Katrina, Wong said.
Provost Earl Lewis will lead the “Student Dialogue
on Diversity,” to
be held on
Nov. 8. Other “difficult dialogues” include a lecture by Beverly
Daniel Tatum, president of Spelman College and author of the book, Why Are
the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria, on Nov. 9; and another lecture, “Is
Bill Cosby Right?,” by Bakari Kitwana, lecturer and author of The Rap
Gangsta Rap and Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop, and Said Sewell, assistant professor
of political science at the University of West Georgia and NAACP state secretary.
panel discussion, “Affirmative Action from
a Minority Perspective: Is
it Fair?” (Nov. 15), will include representatives of the medical, business
and law schools, and will cover not only University admissions but also employment.
Not all difficult dialogues are about race: Faisal
Alam, founder of Al-Fatiha Foundation, an organization dedicated
the rights of gay, lesbian
and transgendered Muslims, will give a speech on Nov. 2 about being a Pakistani
American and a homosexual.
Some Unity Month events will simply be celebrations
of diversity. These include the Cultural Beats Show, in which 10
will perform cultural dances;
the Fall Unity Carnival, which includes a Cultural Fashion Show; and Caribbean
and Soul Food Tastings.
But Unity Month isn’t just about dialogue and
celebration. Another focus
of this year’s event is on service, Wong said. Hunger and Homelessness
Awareness Week, hosted by Volunteer Emory, will include sandwich-making days
at the Dobbs Center (Nov. 7–8) and its annual hunger banquet (Nov. 7).
AIDS Awareness Week, which begins Nov. 28, will feature an AIDS health program,
a Red Cross Blood Drive and an AIDS exhibition in the Dobbs Center. Fundraisers
include Heart Walk Atlanta for the American Heart Association (Nov. 5) and the
Pakistani Student Association’s Turkey Trot-Run (Nov. 17); and Emory Cares
International Service Day (Nov. 12).
For more information or a full listing of
Unity Month events, visit www.emory.edu/MULTICULTURAL.