Kaleidoscope Conference explores multiple perspectives, encourages inclusive excellence
The Kaleidoscope-Multiple Perspectives conference took an energetic approach to provide empowerment, embrace differences, inspire action and facilitate a solution-oriented process for living a productive life on March 28 in the University Conference Center. Hosted by UWF’s Office of Equity and Diversity, the conference welcomed more than 160 attendees for a day of listening, networking and gaining new perspectives.
April Reign, creator of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag and social justice activist, was one of the keynote speakers for the event. Reign discussed the viral hashtag and how to pursue justice in the digital age.
“We all have a responsibility to step up and not just be allies, but advocates of those who are more marginalized than we are,” Reign said. “It’s imperative that we have those conversations with those who may be resistant to change and may not understand the benefits of diversity and inclusion.”
Sam Whiteout, activist and cultural commentator, was also a keynote speaker at the conference. Whiteout focused on an approach to allyship, which is building interpersonal relationships with trust, and encouraged the audience to enact positive change in their community.
“Diversity and social justice is about embracing the idea that varying perspectives and different experiences, which are valuable unto themselves, enhance each other and enrich each other in a way that makes them into something larger,” Whiteout said. “Whether the differences are experiential or ideological, the only way that we are going to be able to parse through them and navigate the tensions that may or may not exist is by leaning into them and embracing it.”
Six spotlight sessions were held using two stages on opposite sides of the room, giving attendees a new perspective at each presenter’s turn. Spotlight presentations from UWF faculty, staff and students included:
- “Women Leaders in Higher Education: Motivation and Work-Life Balance,” by Anamarie Mixson, executive specialist in the Office of the President
- “Women in STEM,” by Elizabeth Fouche, graduate assistant for Building and Event Services in the University Commons; Baylee Moster, hall director in Housing and Residence Life; and Isiah Griffin, graduate assistant for the Office of Career Development and Community Engagement
- “Black and Queer: Two Males Discussing Identity,” by Cecil Robinson, graduate student in the strategic communication and leadership program and Terri Massenberg, graduate student in the college student affairs administration program
- “Using Identity Walks in the University: Opportunities and Challenges for Difficult Dialogues,” by Kwame Ntiri Owusu-Daaku, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
- “Getting It: Overcoming Barriers to Thinking About Racism as a White Person,” by Dr. Ben Stubbs, director of student involvement and the associate dean of students
- “Think Before You Speak: Ways to be Inclusive with Your Language,” by Peyton Lipscomb, retention initiatives coordinator
The program also included two panel discussions and the opportunity for a small group discussion. The conference’s focus was on strategies for personal growth and development. Kaleidoscope is part of the John C. Pace Jr. Symposium Series which is designed to bring distinguished scholars, artists and leaders to Pensacola for lectures, performances and a variety of interactions with faculty, students, staff and the public.
The Office of Equity and Diversity is committed to fostering a climate of inclusive excellence and hosts several programs that encourage greater understanding of self and others for students, staff, faculty and the community.
For more information about UWF’s Office of Equity and Diversity, visit uwf.edu/respect.