Belmont faculty, staff and students participated in the sixth annual Diversity Week starting Sunday, September 20 through Friday, September 25.
This year’s virtual event lineup celebrated the University’s commitment to furthering diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and featured opportunities for the Belmont community to engage in important conversations and hear from renowned speakers.
A sample of this year’s events included:
TED Tuesday: How to Deconstruct Racism, One Headline at a Time (Faculty and Staff) on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 12 p.m. online: Facilitated by University Ministries, this event featured viewing and discussing this engaging and challenging TED Talk.
WELL Core Chapel with Dr. Drew Hart (co-sponsored by Welcome Home Diversity Council, Office of Multi-Cultural Learning and Engagement, Debate Programming) (Open to the Community) on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. online: Dr. Drew G.I. Hart, a pastor and professor of theology and a national leader in anti-racism education, discussed with the Belmont community how white supremacy is entangled with western Christianity. In his latest book, Who Will Be a Witness?: Igniting Activism for God’s Justice, Love, and Deliverance (September 2020), his hope is for all of us to “strive for the flourishing of all people by doing justice and the things that make for peace…We identify and stand with those that Jesus did in his own day. We gladly link arms with those that are impoverished, vulnerable, oppressed and marginalized.” He challenged all of us to meaningful engagement across party lines, so that we move from political divisiveness to God-empowered love for all.
Seeing Your Blindspot Webinar (sponsored by the Rev. Charlie Curb Center for Faith Based Leadership) (Faculty and Staff) on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 2 p.m. online: With recent violent events across the nation, the subject of racism, privilege and prejudice has once again entered the national spotlight. Issues of race, religion, inequality and vigilantism have surfaced over and over again. Is it possible that many of us carry hidden biases and prejudices around inside our hearts and minds, placed there years ago by cultural influences, family dynamics and life experiences? This workshop explored ways of discovering and naming certain biases, with the goal of learning how to overcome them. Workshop Presenter: Dr. Jon Roebuck, Executive Director the Rev. Curb Charlie Curb Center for Faith Based Leadership.
Student Real Talk led by Gary Hunter (Students) on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 5 p.m. online: Real Talk featured an open, frank and honest dialogue focusing on diversity and inclusion at Belmont University as well as nationally and globally. With slogan “If you are bold enough to bring it up, then we are bold enough to talk about it,” it was a confidential, safe and brave space to voice all opinions.
Rock the Vote at Belmont University: Nashville’s Colleges Celebrate Democracy (Community) on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 7 p.m. online: To celebrate National Voter Registration Day, Rock The Vote and Belmont University partnered to stream a live concert event to encourage students to register to vote. Performers included student and alumni acts from Belmont University, Fisk University, MTSU, Vanderbilt and Tennessee State University as well as a special performance from Bren Joy and a headlining set from Moon Taxi, both Belmont alumni.
Culture Care with Renowned Painter Makoto Fujimura on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 7 p.m. online: Makoto Fujimura shared with the Belmont community about Culture Care, an alternative to the “culture wars” that have characterized politics in recent decades. It is a philosophy born of Fujimura’s art and Christian faith that offers the creation and conservation of beauty as an antidote to cultural and political brokenness. Fujimura is a Japanese-American painter and artist and was a presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts from 2003-2009. He is one of the premier living abstract painters and his works have been exhibited on four continents.
Continuing the Conversation: Seeking Racial Justice in the Local Church on Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 5 p.m. online: This event, hosted in partnership between University Ministries and the Charlie Curb Center for Faith Leadership, featured a conversation on the church’s role in seeking racial reconciliation and justice. Local pastors from a diversity of congregations engaged in exploring in depth how they see racism impacting their communities and what they are doing to respond to racism in the church and society as a whole.
The Welcome Home Diversity Council, Belmont’s interdisciplinary council, is devoted to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across campus. Learn more about the Belmont State of Mind: Initiative for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion here.