UW-Platteville to host Midwest Culturally Inclusive Conference

September 3, 2013

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville will play host to the third annual Midwest Culturally Inclusive Conference on Thursday, Sept. 12 and Friday, Sept. 13.

The MCIC is a regional conference for business and community leaders, college students, K-12 teachers and administrators as well as postsecondary faculty and staff who want to strengthen diversity throughout the Midwest and work collaboratively towards resolving issues related to equity, diversity, inclusion, representative leadership and advancing professional development opportunities.

The purpose of the conference is to facilitate participants' understanding of the economic and equity implications of diversity in a 21st century global economy, equip participants with skills to uproot discrimination across multiple forms including gender, class, race, sexual orientation, veterans, and disabilities, among others, and foster relationship building between diverse groups to promote inclusive activism.

In addition to several breakout sessions, this year’s conference will include six keynote speakers.

• Dr. Joe Bertolino and Bil Leipold, better known as Joe and Bil, will kick off the conference at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12.

Bertolino was named Lyndon State College’s 15th president earlier this year after eight years at Queens College, part of the City University of New York where he served as vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.

Leipold is the associate dean of Academic and Student Services for the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

In their program, “When the Gays Move Into Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” Bertolino and Leipold explore the realities and human dimensions of living in a world of heterosexual privilege.

Drawing from their own lives, their experiences as fraternity men and student affairs professionals, their family experiences, and the dynamics of their own relationship, Bertolino and Leipold present this difficult topic in a non-threatening, humorous way.

• Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power Inc. will be speaking at noon on Thursday, Sept. 12.

Allen is an urban farmer who is transforming the cultivation, production and delivery of healthy foods to underserved, urban populations.

Growing Power has served as a “living museum” or “idea factory” for the young, the elderly, farmers, producers and other professionals ranging from USDA personnel to urban planners.

Growing Power develops community food centers, as a key component of community food systems, through training, active demonstration, outreach and technical assistance.

Allen is recognized as the preeminent practitioner of urban agriculture in America and throughout the world.

• Reyna Grande will offer her presentation, “Perspective on Immigration,” on Friday, Sept. 12 at 4:45 p.m.

Grande is an author, speaker and educator. Her first novel, “Across a Hundred Mountains,” received a 2007 American Book Award, and the 2006 El Premio Aztlan Literary Award. Her second novel, “Dancing with Butterflies,” was also critically acclaimed and was the recipient of a 2010 International Latino Book Award.

Her recent memoir, “The Distance Between Us,” chronicles her journey from Mexico to the United States and her youth as an undocumented immigrant.
At a time when immigration politics are at a boiling point in America, Grande is an important public voice for Mexican Americans and immigrants of every origin.

• Dr. Maura Cullen will jumpstart the second day with her presentation at 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 13.

Cullen is considered one of the foremost authorities on issues of diversity and leadership having worked with over 500 organizations with audiences ranging from eight to 8,000 people. She is the author of “35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say: Surprising Things We Say That Widen The Diversity Gap.”

Cullen is the founding faculty of the Social Justice Training Institute.

• Maya Lilly will perform “Mixed: A One-Woman Show” on Friday, Sept. 13 at 11:15 a.m.

“Mixed” has been described as the first truly multi-cultural portrayal of Americans. Finally, the narratives of those ignored by the U.S. Census for years; those who have fallen through the cracks of the political system; those who were once told by doctors that they might be born “degenerate” or “deformed.” After centuries of misunderstanding, these stories make the audience understand what it is to belong to many cultures and, simultaneously, to none.

“Mixed” began as a series of more than 200 interviews to discover how people respond to the simple question, “What are you?” The interviews took place in person or over the phone; some were with people Lilly knew and others were complete strangers, speaking to her from all over America. She wanted to use these responses to create a theatre piece of some sort.

At every venue where “Mixed” is performed, it receives standing ovations. It recently won the Actor’s Repertory competition for “Best Solo Show,” in Los Angeles, Calif.

• The conference will conclude with Wes Moore, author of “The Other Wes Moore,” a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. Moore will be speaking at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13.

Born in 1978, Moore and his sisters were raised by their widowed mother. Despite early academic and behavioral struggles, he graduated Phi Theta Kappa in 1998 as a commissioned officer from Valley Forge Military College, and Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University in 2001, where he also played football and earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations. He then became a Rhodes Scholar, studying international relations at Oxford University.

For more information call (608) 342-6152 or go to uwplatt.edu/mcic.

Contact: Dr. Jennifer deCoste, chief diversity officer, (608) 342-6152, decostej@uwplatt.edu
Written by: Dan Wackershauser, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, wackersd@uwplatt.edu

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