During the eighth annual CSU Diversity Conference, Senior Executive Vice President and Provost Tony Frank introduced keynote speaker Julianne Malveaux and said he was “taken aback” when he first heard the theme of the conference, “Diversity in the 21st Century: Is It Still Relevant?”
The question notes historic pitfalls and triumphs the U.S. has achieved over time. It is both fortunate and unfortunate that some might think we live in a time when it’s not as urgent to question the current state of human rights, equal opportunity recognition or institutional biases in our country.
But Frank cast his vote: “Yes, diversity is still extraordinarily relevant in the 21st century.” And we agree.
Throughout our brief semester alone, more than 100 Muslims were fired from a Greeley slaughterhouse for taking time off work for religious practice. Our country is hesitant to acknowledge that votes this November will be affected by portions of the population that are unwilling to elect a black man or a woman into office.
The controversial Amendment 46, which regards affirmative action, will arrive on ballots in Colorado as well. And many students in the CSU student population — of which Colorado residents make 80 percent and ethnic minorities make 13 percent — are unaware of the student diversity support offices offered on campus.
Diversity and discrimination issues are rampant today, and many generations from now, it will always be important to ask why it matters. Across cultures, genders, nations, religions, skin colors, sexual orientations and ideologies, the only way we can understand one another is by recognizing how we’re linked. Until we express ourselves or reach out to learn from those we don’t understand — for any reason — we won’t find common ground or make progress.