2017 Diversity Symposium: A Reflection

by Nicole Leonard | September 2017

On Wednesday, September 6th, Institute Diversity held its ninth annual Diversity Symposium. This year’s symposium really highlighted the need for inclusivity in relation to diversity. The morning began with featured speaker John Quiñones from ABC’s What Would You Do? During his talk, he chronicles his beginnings as an adolescent migrant farm worker with the dream of becoming a broadcast journalist. Throughout his highly inspirational morning keynote, the stressed the importance of education and risk taking, Mr. Quiñones highlighted how his connection to the Latin community allowed him to focus on stories and conflicts in Central and South America that presented life threatening risk to other broadcasters of the time. 

During the mid-morning panel discussion, moderated by GT professor Dr. Bill Winders, Drs. Susan Greenbaum, Sherie Randolph and Deborah Vargas presented the case for Building Inclusive Communities: Exploring the Impact and Implication of Race. One of the most interesting points brought forth during this discussion include the expansion of the definition of family in relation to healthcare access. In addition to the traditional model of parent with dependent children, why not include the possibility of able bodied working adults to include older parents, or non-dependent children as beneficiaries on company health plans. Finally, the awards luncheon performer, Dahlak Brathwaite, ended the event with a powerful one-man play that depicts the legal system rabbit hole one finds themselves trapped in after multiple encounters with law enforcement.  

In my opinion, diversity for the sake of diversity is disingenuous. We are faced with universal issues and grand global challenges that need the voices for all make meaningful progress. In order to truly be “One Georgia Tech” the diverse perspectives of others should be respected and celebrated. 

Read more about this year's symposium HERE.