Julianne Malveaux stood at a podium in the Lory Student Center Tuesday night and told a crowd of about 60 students and community members that the government needs to reallocate more resources and shift more social emphasis to education and diversity.
“We have the opportunity to make discretionary decisions about what we can do with education,” Malveaux said.
“If we lose that opportunity, we lose our right to be the world’s preeminent nation.”
Malveaux, the president of the Bennett College for Women who keynoted the 2008 CSU Diversity Conference, has been published in USA Today, Essence and the L.A. Times.
She has also appeared on CNN, ABC’s “Politically Incorrect” and Fox’s “The O’Reily Factor.”
The keynote speech at the eighth annual diversity conference addressed this year’s theme, “Diversity in the 21st century: Is it still relevant?”
Malveaux argued that America neglects causes of valuing education and diversity.
Malveaux said Americans devalue education, referring to it as a “devolvement.”
“We keep saying we don’t have the resources. But we have the resources for everything else,” she said. “Again, we have those twin challenges: we’ve got that bailout, we’ve got that war. We could have used any of those dollars for education.”
She also said that Americans neglect societal and institutional infrastructure. “We’ve stopped paying attention to Americans,” Malveaux said. “We’re paying attention to positioning. We’re paying attention to power. But we’re not paying attention to people.”
After the speech, Taylor Smoot, student government president, asked Malveuax student questions, which addressed topics from politics to rap and hip-hop. When asked about Caucasian students’ roles in diversity, she focused on broadening the scope of the issue.
“The issue of diversity belongs to all of us. We can fix it if we decide to make it a priority,” she said. “We don’t have to make these obstacles excuses — we can tear them down by working on them.”
Sophomore technical journalism major Derek Nettingham said the speech illustrated a broad view of racial issues.
“It was broader than just a lot of stating the obvious,” Nettingham said. “She really showed hard facts and a global look at racism.”
Staff writer Rachel Survil can be reached at email@example.com.