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Diversity Summit

At the Intersection of Social Justice and Sustainability

January 25-26, 2018

As we learned during events like Flint and Standing Rock, environmental disaster is often caused and exacerbated by deep social inequalities – and vice versa. Right here in the Denver metro area we see residents in Globeville and Swansea struggling to be heard as they speak against a plan to expand I-70 into their neighborhoods.

Whether your passions involve healthy and just food and energy solutions,  keeping our water and air free of pollution, or understanding land use and water rights, we must recognize the inequalities around resources and power both globally and locally – even here on our University campus.

Presenters and workshops at the 2018 Diversity Summit will highlight how the causes and impacts of racial injustice and environmental exploitation often stem from the same dominant narratives. Prepare for moments of self-reflection and careful listening, then bring all of your energy and ideas to the afternoon of action.

Because we are stronger in solidarity.

Keynote Speakers 2018

Dorceta Taylor environmental justice scholar

Dorceta Taylor

Taylor says her work is about opening doors for other people by making the environmental movement more diverse. Equity, justice, injustice play out in policy, and in who makes and shapes that policy. To her point, Taylor was also the first black woman to earn a PhD at Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in 1991.

Nick Tilsen headshot in shirt sleeves

Nick Tilsen

Nick Tilsen is a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation, and the executive director of the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation. On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, he leads the creation of a 34-acre regenerative community, breaking a cycle of poverty and providing an innovative example to other developers.

Read Nick Tilsen's Profile

Featured Panel: Changing the Paradigm: the Role of Diversity and Sustainability in the Arts

Join us for a panel discussion with local visual and performing artists delving into the questions of how they are inviting diversity and sustainable programming to their cultural organizations and ways they have collaboratively engaged in art making. From hip-hop to modern dance and beyond, panelists will engage in an in-depth exploration of the role of arts as a vehicle for social change and sustainability.

Alex Jimenez is visual artist, dabbler, and believer in the power of people. She is currently a Manager of Programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, where she focuses on teen programming and education outreach. Alex holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Metropolitan State University Denver. Outside of her work at MCA Denver, Alex serves as the chair for Community Outreach for the Letterpress Depot in Englewood, CO. Through all of her work, Alex is committed to building an equitable future in the arts for youth in Denver, and beyond.

Kirsten Wilson is the founder and artistic director of Motus Theater, an organization whose mission is to use original theater to support community conversation on critical issues. As the director of Motus, she has created several award-winning pieces: “Rocks Karma Arrows” (RKA), a multimedia performance exploring Boulder history through the lens of race and class; “Do You Know Who I Am?,” collaborating with young undocumented immigrant leaders to help them perform their own stories; “SALSA Lotería,” a bilingual production in which Latina immigrants perform stories of challenge, resilience, and courage, “It is Only a Paper Moon Hanging Over Immigration History,” a multimedia performance on the racial scripts that developed alongside immigration history; and “Law Enforcement Leaders Read DREAMER Stories,” in which four police chiefs, a sheriff, and the Boulder County DA read autobiographical monologues of undocumented youth leaders. Her work has been supported by several grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Donald Byrd, TONY nominated/Bessie Award winner, is the Executive Artistic Director of Spectrum Dance Theater (Seattle, Washington), formerly Artistic Director of Donald Byrd/The Group. He has been making work for contemporary and classical dance companies, opera companies, and theater companies for over forty years. His honors include Masters of Choreography Award (Kennedy Center), Fellow of The American Academy of Jerusalem, James Baldwin Fellow of US Artists, and Fellow at the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue.

Featured Performance: Spectrum Dance Theater’s “A Rap on Race”

  • Thursday, January 25
  • 3:30pm -4:45pm
  • Driscoll Ballroom, Driscoll Student Center (North)

Spectrum Dance