Registration is now open for the annual UW–Madison Diversity Forum, Rising Above and Reshaping our World in the Image of Justice, which will be held on Nov. 2 and 3, 2021 as a hybrid in-person/virtual conference and will feature keynote addresses by Dr. Russell Jeung and Steven Canals.
Both days of the 2021 Diversity Forum will be streamed online. On day one limited seating will be available at Union South for UW–Madison students and employees who wish to attend in person. The second day of the conference will only be available for online access. Hosted by the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement, the event is free and open to the public.
The Diversity Forum is the university’s premier two-day conference focused on updating, educating, and activating attendees on the most pressing issues of the day. With two decades of history on the UW–Madison campus, the conference provides a platform for learning and exploration around issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.
“We’re pleased to sustain the tradition of our annual Diversity Forum, this year in a hybrid form, by sharing with a broad virtual audience and renewing a limited setting of fellowship and networking,” said Dr. LaVar J. Charleston, deputy vice chancellor for diversity & inclusion at UW–Madison.
“This forum will launch deeper into diversity, inclusion and the immediacy of contemporary issues in social justice, health and employment equity, and civil rights, with a focus on our communities of Asian descent and the exceptional vulnerability of the transgender community. There are no boundaries for where these discussions should occur because of their encompassing impact, but the university has a responsibility to address how we educate our students for life ahead and developing a campus community that supports a safe, productive, and appropriate learning environment.”
Dr. Russell Jeung, professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University and co-founder of the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center, will provide the keynote address on day one. Since March 2020, Stop AAPI Hate has recorded more than 9,000 incidents of discrimination, harassment, and violence against people of Asian descent in the United States. A majority of those incidents have happened in public spaces and nearly two-thirds have targeted women.
Their powerful work has opened eyes, brought about change, and received widespread acclaim, most recently from Time magazine, which named Jeung to their annual “100 Most Influential People” list for 2021 along with his fellow Stop AAPI Hate co-founders. Prof. Jeung’s keynote will discuss the nationwide trends in anti-Asian racism, their causes and their historic roots and will share how the Asian American community is resisting this racism and what gains they have made.
Steven Canals, screenwriter and producer best known for co-creating and executive-producing the FX television series “Pose,” will provide the keynote address on day two. A queer-identifying Afro-Puerto Rican American from the Bronx, Canals began his journey as a storyteller in high school and was named a “TV Writer to Watch” by Variety Magazine in 2018. “Pose” is a drama about Black and Latino dancers and models in New York’s underground drag ball culture in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The show features the largest recurring cast of LGBTQ actors ever for a scripted series. Canals received widespread acclaim for his work with the show, including from the Writers Guild of America, and received multiple Primetime Emmy Awards nominations. The third and final season of the series concluded in June 2021.
At the end of the first day of the conference, a panel of Wisconsin scholars, activists and community leaders will join us to discuss why voting rights are at a critical juncture both statewide and nationally. They will address the ongoing efforts to restrict voting in Wisconsin and try to unpack what’s being done and why, how we got here, and what communities can do to encourage voter participation and ensure that citizens are able to participate in our democracy.
The Diversity Forum will also feature a variety of sessions from educators, researchers and activists addressing vital and compelling topics, including:
• The lived experiences of people from Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American communities in America
• Understanding the role of policing in the campus environment
• Transforming systems built on oppression to systems worthy of trust
• How racism and health equity connect to community members’ sense of belonging • What we can learn from the often-untold history of the UW–Madison campus
• Understanding inequities in higher educational access and success in the age of COVID-19 • The history of Indigenous activism and what activists are doing today to create change in key areas like education, housing, environmental protection, and missing and murdered Indigenous women • The impact microaggressions have on people, and action and awareness participants can take to intervene
• Best practices in digital accessibility to create inclusive work, teaching, and learning environments