USF’s Third Annual Critical Diversity Studies Fall Forum reflects upon the vision Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of fifty years ago—a dream for a nation united in equality and freedom—and will explore continuing struggles to redefine and realize the Dream. Participants will consider how the Dream has manifested today, where we have failed, and what remains to be done. The forum will feature speakers Jose Antonio Vargas (DefineAmerican.com) and Sandra R. Hernández (The San Francisco Foundation), performances by Awele Makeba and the USF Gospel Choir, and discussion tables to help participants begin reimagining dreams of racial justice, gender equality, and equal rights for all.
Keynote Speaker Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, filmmaker, and the founder of Define American, a campaign that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration. Vargas is a homegrown-hero, a “very proud alumnus of Mountain View High School (‘00) and San Francisco State University (‘04),” who shot into the national spotlight in June 2011, when the New York Times Magazine published a groundbreaking essay he wrote, which he revealed and chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. A year later, he appeared on the cover of TIME magazine internationally with fellow undocumented immigrants as part of a follow-up cover story. Since then, he has testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration reform, and written and directed Documented, a documentary film on his undocumented experience. It world premiered in June 2013 as the centerpiece of the AFIDOCS film festival in Washington, D.C.
Sandra R. Hernández, M.D., is chief executive officer (1997-present) of The San Francisco Foundation, an incubator for community investment, original ideas, and passionate leadership that has been a leading agent of Bay Area philanthropy since 1948. Dr. Hernández is a graduate of Yale University, Tufts School of Medicine, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Prior to becoming CEO of the Foundation, she served as the director of public health for the City and County of San Francisco. She is an assistant clinical professor at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine and maintains an active clinical practice at San Francisco General Hospital in the AIDS clinic.
Awele Makeba is an award-winning and internationally known storyteller/teaching artist, literacy specialist, and recording artist. Her TED2012 talk/ performance was one of the most widely-watched demonstrations of how Makeba skillfully combines performing arts and history to bring scholarly-researched oral histories of the African American Freedom Movement to life for audiences.
The USF Gospel Choir ("The Spiritual Notes") performs African American Gospel Music and Spirituals, focusing on contemporary repertoire.
The Forum is organized by the newly-formed, interdisciplinary USF Critical Diversity Studies Major.The Critical Diversity Studies (CDS) Major focuses on the social and historical constructions of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexualities, citizenship, and religion that have formed the United States, and which affect our present and future trajectory as a just and equitable multicultural democracy.
Since 2010, the Critical Diversity Studies Fall Forum has invited notable speakers to engage our community for a day-long program aimed at helping students, faculty, staff, and neighbors deeply reflect and imagine how to address contemporary issues around diversity at the University of San Francisco and beyond.
This year, in September 2013, organizers will commemorate the 50-year anniversary of King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech, and explore continuing struggles to redefine and realize the Dream. Organizers hope this event will provoke and inspire attendees to carry on the dream of a fully egalitarian US society, especially in light of very recent historical events, including the Supreme Courts’ June 2013 rulings invalidating key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and California’s ban on gay marriage, George Zimmerman’s July 2013 acquittal for Trayvon Martin’s death, and the subsequent reactions and responses all these verdicts sparked.
USF’s Annual Critical Diversity Fall Forum was created by the Diversity Task Force convened by College of Arts & Sciences Marcelo Camperi, to address two specific charges of the Task Force: 1) to plan a new and expanded dialogue on the definition, meaning and significance of diversity that engages all constituents of the College and incorporates leading diversity scholarship and practices and 2) to promote academic-community partnerships throughout the San Francisco Bay Area to foster creative diversity activities and learning experiences focused on social justice. Starting in 2013, the Critical Diversity Fall Forum will be organized by faculty and allies of the newly-formed “Critical Diversity Studies” Major in the College.
*Photo credit for magazine cover: Time Magazine