WSU hosting conference


Greene County News

FAIRBORN — The 2016 Diversity in Multicultural Millennium Conference at Wright State University will address the issues of race relations and income inequality with a hopeful stance on Thursday, Sept. 22, and Friday, Sept. 23.

This year’s theme is “Breaking the Class Ceiling: Economic Inequality in the U.S.”

“The 2016 Multicultural Millennium Conference is an opportunity to address more specific issues involving economic inequality,” said Vanessa Borelly Vega, assistant to the vice president of multicultural affairs and community engagement. “Our sessions run the gamut from empowering youth in economically distressed communities to dealing with weight bias in relation to inequality. We hope to clearly identify economic inequality topics that inspire our audience to take action and create change.”

The conference aims to address current issues of social justice and diversity and how they affect education. Social justice advocates Mia Birdsong and Richard Wilkinson will speak at the conference.

“Both of our keynote speakers are leaders in the fight against economic inequality and are currently inspiring change at the national and international level,” said Vega. “We are so excited to add such knowledgeable speakers to our excellent lineup of presenters and workshops.”

The conference is free for Wright State students, faculty and staff but registration is required. The non-Wright State affiliation fee for professionals and the community is $150 a person and $35 for students who do not attend Wright State.

All sessions take place in the Student Union Apollo Room. For more information and to register visit

Thursday, Sept. 22, schedule:

5:30 p.m.: Welcome reception; SOCHE Diversity and Inclusion Award presentation; keynote speaker: Mia Birdsong; entertainment: Ed Mabrey

Friday, Sept. 23, schedule:

8:30–9:30 a.m.: Registration

9:30– 9:45 a.m.: Welcome remarks

10–11 a.m.: Concurrent sessions 1

10–11:30 a.m.: Extended session 1

10–noon: Extended session 2

10 a.m.–12:20 p.m.: Extended session 3

11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.: Luncheon; keynote speaker: Richard Wilkinson; entertainment: Dayton Contemporary Dance Company; Goldenberg Award presentation

2:30–3:30 p.m.: Concurrent session 3

3:45 p.m.: Closing remarks

Mia Birdsong

Birdsong co-directors of Family Story, which works to expand understanding of what makes a good family and supports families. Birdsong was previously vice president of the Family Independence Initiative. Her writing has been published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, the Huffington Post and Salon.

She has volunteered and organized for the prison abolition movement and spent 10 years as a trainer and educator in youth development and health education. She co-founded BirthCircle, which makes pregnancy and birth choices more accessible, and Canerow, a resource for people dedicated to raising children of color in a world that reflects the spectrum of who they are.

Birdsong is a graduate of Oberlin College and an inaugural Ascend Fellow of The Aspen Institute.

Richard Wilkinson

Wilkinson is professor emeritus of social epidemiology at the University of Nottingham Medical School, honorary professor at the University College London and visiting professor at the University of York.

His research has drawn attention to the widening social class differences in death rates and on the social determinants of health and the societal effects of income inequality. His books and papers have also focused on the tendency for societies with bigger income differences to have a higher prevalence of a range of health and social problems.

With Kate Pickett, he wrote “The Spirit Level,” which won the 2011 Political Studies Association Publication of the Year Award and the 2010 Bristol Festival of Ideas Prize.

Wilkinson cofounded The Equality Trust. He studied economic history and the philosophy of science at the London School of Economics before training in epidemiology.

Entertainment at the conference will be provided by Ed Mabrey, an Emmy-nominated actor and the first person of color to win the Individual World Poetry Slam Champion, which he did three times. The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company will also perform.

Submitted photos Mia Birdsong will give a keynote address on Sept. 22 at the Diversity in Multicultural Millennium Conference.×173.jpgSubmitted photos Mia Birdsong will give a keynote address on Sept. 22 at the Diversity in Multicultural Millennium Conference.

Richard Wilkinson will speak on Sept. 23 at the Diversity in Multicultural Millennium Conference.×300.jpegRichard Wilkinson will speak on Sept. 23 at the Diversity in Multicultural Millennium Conference.
3rd annual Diversity in Multicultural Millennium Conference themed ‘Breaking the Class Ceiling: Economic Inequality in the U.S.’

Story courtesy of Wright State University.

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