News Release

Cornel West at conference

Monday, January 23, 2012

Photo of Esera Tuaolo, retired NFL defensive lineman and gay man

Esera Tuaolo, a retired NFL defensive lineman and gay man, is a survivor of the hypermasculine world of pro football.

Photo of Princeton professor Cornel West Photo of Waziyatawin Angela Wilson, an author and academic and Minnesotan of Dakota ancestry Photo of Tim Wise, an anti-racism writer and educator Photo of Becky Martinez, an independent consultant and trainer specializing in social justice and inclusion issues Photo of Jeffrey Milem, higher education diversity expert and scholar Photo of Ariel Luckey, poet, actor and playwright Photo of Tamrat Tademe, St. Cloud State professor and speaker on topics such as racism, xenophobia and Pan Africanism Photo of Esera Tuaolo, retired NFL defensive lineman and gay man Photo of C. Willi Myles, comedian  

Cornel West, a leading American thinker, social critic, author and academic, will headline the Jan. 27-29 Power in Diversity Leadership Conference.

St. Cloud State's top conference for personal growth and leadership development returns to Atwood Memorial Center with an expanded array of workshops, speakers, discussions, career opportunities, social gatherings and entertainment. View the conference schedule. View the conference program (PDF).

Also presenting are:

  • Waziyatawin Angela Wilson, author and academic and Minnesotan of Dakota ancestry
  • Becky Martinez, independent consultant and trainer specializing in social justice and inclusion issues
  • Tim Wise, a leading anti-racism writer and educator
  • Ariel Luckey, an acclaimed poet, actor and playwright whose work dances in the crossroads of education, art and activism
  • Tamrat Tademe, St. Cloud State professor and speaker on racism, xenophobia, imperialism, Pan Africanism and emancipator multicultural education
  • Esera Tuaolo, retired NFL defensive lineman, gay man and survivor of the hypermasculine world of pro football  
  • Jeffrey Milem, nationally known diversity trainer from the University of Arizona

View biographies of each presenter. Learn more about Milem's five hours of free diversity training.

This year's Power in Diversity Leadership Conference carries the theme "Change--It starts with me!"

West has been calling for change for decades, focusing primarily on problems of race, class and gender.

The 58-year-old public intellectual has called economic inequality in America "morally obscene." 

"Poor people are priceless and precious," West said at a Jan. 12 poverty forum broadcast from Washington D.C. "Each person has a dignity that ought to be affirmed."

His 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28 Ritsche Auditorium presentation, titled "Race and Democracy in the Age of Obama," is included in the conference registration fee. People not participating in the conference may purchase $5 tickets at the door or online at scsutickets.com. Admission is free, with a valid SCSU ID, for university students and employees. Ritsche seats 904.

National television appearances and two books -- the best-selling "Race Matters" (1993) and "Democracy Matters" (2004) -- have made West nearly a household name. His upcoming book, a collaboration with broadcaster and commentator Tavis Smiley, is called "The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto." 

A Princeton University professor, a Christian and a persistent critic of President Obama, West has been described as a socialist.

In September, West aligned himself with the Occupy Wall Street movement, saying on the Democracy Now! radio program: "We’re talking about a democratic awakening...you’re talking about raising political consciousness so it spills over all parts of the country, so people can begin to see what’s going on through a set of different lens, and then you begin to highlight what the more detailed demands would be."

Variety Show

The Variety Show is for individuals who would like to dance, sing or rap, play instruments, freestyle or showcase a talent that may focus on cultural issues, diversity, empowerment, self-expression and unity among different cultural environments.

Emceeing the show will be C. Willi Myles, a nationally known comedian who attending St. Cloud State. 

Minnesota's leading diversity conference awaits you. Register today.

In its third year, the Power in Diversity Leadership Conference is managed by Multicultural Student Services and sponsored by St. Cloud State University, Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Winona State University, Southwest Minnesota State University, Anoka-Ramsey Community College and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Register online
View the registration form (PDF)
Visit the conference website

Fax a completed registration form to 320-308-4126. Or, register by telephoning Char Kastenek at 320-308-4723.

"The concept of change is not limited to the activist sense of the word," reads the conference brochure. "We are also encouraging participants to envision change through their education, their career choice, and the personal choices that they make."

A popular feature of the conference is the Diversity Job and Internship Fair featuring some of Minnesota's largest employers. This year's fair is set for Jan. 27.

Organizers expect more than 300 students, faculty, staff and advisors to attend from colleges and universities around the region.

Parking is free on streets adjacent to campus or a dollar an hour in the 4th Avenue Parking Ramp.

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