Area colleges and universities will host the inaugural Regional Diversity Conference in Owensboro next month, with the goal of helping students, faculty, and community members learn how to embed diversity, equity, and inclusion into their daily practices. .
The free conference will be held at Owensboro Community and Technical College (4800 New Hartford Road) and is scheduled for February 2-3. Sessions covering all aspects of diversity, according to Sharmy Davis, OCTC Director of Cultural Diversity.
Topics include discussion of disabilities, the future of the Spanish language in the United States, workplace diversification, intersectionality, and more.
“We really wanted to bring a conference to the area that focuses on diversity but also educates people on what diversity is. It’s not just about race, there are different aspects of diversity,” Davis said.
The conference will be co-sponsored by Brescia University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Murray State University, and Western Kentucky University.
Some featured speakers include Joe Frazier, Executive Director of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Demetria Miles-McDonald, founder and CEO of Decide Diversity; and Abigail Cox, director of the Murray State Women’s Center.
Davis said they hope to draw attendees from all areas of the community and all workplaces.
“You can learn anything when you attend any of these sessions. It’s not just for students. It’s not just for faculty, staff, and institutions. It’s for the whole community,” Davis said.
Davis said that local educational institutions have done a good job of embracing diversity.
He noted that OCTC has specifically implemented its “Everyone Welcome” policy, which is intended to ensure that all students feel comfortable, regardless of who they are. She said that starts with ensuring that the faculty and staff are diverse, which then allows students to experience that feeling.
Davis said that diversity at all levels is important.
“Everyone is different, whether it’s because of their religion or the gender they identify with or whether they have a disability. We all need to accept everyone because everyone has something to contribute,” Davis said.
Those interested in attending can sign up here. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.