Monday, April 10th • 02.00 PM – 05.00 PM
NDSU Memorial Union Ballroom
“Critical Conversations” was created to further understand the various issues surrounding race and diversity, provide a venue for "voices" to be heard, and to determine our roles and responsibilities in creating positive social change. We realize that these conversations can be difficult as there are many perspectives, privileges, and needs we all possess. At the same time, the organizers believe that it is imperative to have these conversations (in as many places as possible) to begin the transformational process of individual understanding, growth, and our ability to create change. Organizers acknowledge the complexity and multitude of diversity issues and that we do not have all the answers. To guide us along our journey, we invited four well-known speakers from the region that offer unique perspectives on diversity.
What’s so special about this diversity conference?
The “Critical Conversations” Conference is designed to provide a platform to allow participants to discuss local and national issues regarding diversity in a safe, educational, and forward moving manner. The goals of the conference include:
Topics for 2017:
This year's Critical Conversations Conference will focus on three topics: "The Dakota Access Pipeline"; "Poverty, Adversity, and Race"; and "Unifying Our Voices". In addition to hearing from our expert panel of speakers, participants will have a structured dialogue facilitated by the speakers. Afterwards, participants will have the opportunity to create an action plan to take back to their respective campus or organization.
Special Activity: Got a story to tell? To go along with keynote speaker, Michael Strand's Unifying Voices Cup Activity, share your story and receive a cup made by him. Simply choose a cup from your home/work that symbolizes or represents a personal story of struggle, challenge, and/or triumph. Stories can be about issues of diversity, family, and/or work. On a 5 inch by 5 inch (5"x 5") piece of paper, write or type (18 font or larger) a synopsis of your story. Insert your story in your cup, and mail it to: NDSU: 246-Memorial Union, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND, 58108 (you can also bring your cup to the conference). Your story and your cup will be put on display during the conference as a show of solidarity and as a symbol of, "Unifying Our Voices" while celebrating our diversity
Contact Steve Winfrey
All keynotes and meals are located in the NDSU Memorial Union Ballroom, unless otherwise noted.
What is it like to live in poverty?
During the simulation, participants role-play the lives of low-income families, from single parents caring for their children to senior citizens trying to maintain self-sufficiency on Social Security. The task of each family is to provide food, shelter, and other basic necessities while interacting with various community resources such as a pawn shop, Community Action Agency, community health agency, and much more.
The goal of the simulation is to enable participants to view poverty from different angles in an experiential setting. Participants will begin to understand what life is like with a shortage of money and an abundance of stress and become motivated to be part of the solution to ending poverty in the United States.
As one participant noted, “The simulation made me realize that living in poverty is very stressful. I only had to experience this for about two hours and by the second week, I was ready to give up. We had $10, no job, were losing our house, the pawn shop wouldn’t buy anything from us, and social services were taking to too long to get any money. It is hard to think that our 15 minutes is a normal day for someone in poverty."
Come and join us for this life-altering simulation and learn how you can take it back to your campus or organization! This is a first come first serve basis for the first 80 registrants.
Cost is included in the conference registration.
NDSU Memorial Union Ballroom
|Hotel Name||Hotel Address||Hotel Phone||Room Rates/Night|
1831 NDSU Research Park Drive Fargo, ND 58102
|Homewood Suites||2021 16th Street North, Fargo, ND 58102||701.235.3150||$99|
|Days Inn||1507 19th Ave North, Fargo, ND 58102||701.232.0000||$93.49|
If you are hoping to save a little on travel expenses and want to meet other Student Affairs colleagues, stay with a host family in Fargo! Due to the nature of the Critical Conversations Conference and the hope that more stories can be told and voices to be heard, several student affairs staff have volunteered to serve as host families. There is no cost to stay with a host family during the conference. Priority will be given by distance from Fargo, faculty/staff bringing students, and a burning desire to share your story!Book Your Hotel Now
NDSU Rec Center
NDSU Scheels Center
NDSU Rec Center
September 9, 2006. It started as a normal college football game in Neyland Stadium. If anything, the event was an afterthought, dropped into the schedule at the last minute.
For Inky Johnson, though, the game changed everything. A routine tackle turned into a life-threatening injury, and nothing has been normal for Inky ever since. Not with a paralyzed right arm. Not with daily pain. Not with constant physical challenges.
His dream had always been to play professional sports. You might think his injury would have destroyed his motivation and crushed his spirit. But that’s only because you don’t know Inky.
Who is Inquoris “Inky” Johnson? He could be described as the survivor of an underprivileged past. He could be described as a refugee of poverty and violence. He could be described as a success story stained by tragedy. But if you look deeper, you’ll discover something else.
You’ll see a man who looks in the face of defeat and says, “Am I really failing, or is God prevailing?” You’ll see a man gripped by the promise that God has purposes and plans far beyond our own. And you’ll be inspired by his relentless determination, which he loves to impart to others through his dramatic story. “Motivation” is often nothing more than forcing people to do something they don’t really want to do. In contrast, inspiration affects people from within, giving them the ability to accomplish what would otherwise be impossible. Through his walk and his talk, Inky embodies and imparts a truly inspirational message.
Inky has a master’s degree in sports psychology from the University of Tennessee. He devotes much of his time to mentoring athletes and underprivileged youth. He and his amazing wife Allison live in Atlanta, Georgia with their beautiful children, Jada and Inky Jr.
Dr. Michael Yellow Bird is a citizen of the Three Affiliated Tribes, (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara). He joined the NDSU faculty in the fall of 2014. He has held faculty and/or academic administrative appointments at the University of British Columbia, University of Kansas, Arizona State University, and Humboldt State University. He is Professor and Director of the Tribal Indigenous Studies program at North Dakota State University.
His teaching, writing, research, and community work focus on Indigenous Peoples’ health, leadership, and cultural rights; the effects of colonization and methods of decolonization; decolonizing social work approaches; decolonizing war and military service; neurodecolonization and mind body approaches; neuroscience and Indigenous Peoples; traditional mindfulness and contemplative practices; ancestral and paleo eating and lifestyle; and the Rights of Mother Earth.
Michael J. Strand is an Associate Professor and Head of Visual Arts at North Dakota State University. With a background as a functional potter, Michael’s work has moved seamlessly into social and community engagement while remaining dedicated to the traditional object as he investigates the potential of craft as a catalyst for social change. With this focus Michael also serves as a special appointee to the Board of NCECA (National Council for the Education of Ceramic Arts) as a social engagement strategist and is working with curator/maker Namita Wiggers on a large national project illuminating the multitude of ways the field of ceramics is connected to food culture and community.
Strand lectures and leads workshops extensively with engagements all over the globe. In 2014, Strand was awarded a two-year Bush Foundation Fellowship. With this award he will focus on the potential of functional design to facilitate cross-cultural communication and understanding in political and social spheres extending from his home state of North Dakota to international locations such as Brazil, China, South Africa and Europe. In 2013, Strand was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award for the Hixon-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts at his graduate school alma mater, The University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Aida Martinez-Freeman is a social justice educator, practitioner-scholar, community activist, organizer, fierce advocate for oppressed and exploited people. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Aida received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Michigan State University, her master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from Indiana University-Bloomington, and her doctorate in occupational & adult education from North Dakota State University.
As a practitioner-scholar, Aida has worked with diverse communities at a rural public liberal arts college in west central Minnesota, a women’s college on the Blue Ridge Parkway of Virginia, and a land grant institution on the plains of North Dakota. Currently, Aida serves as the Director of the Lealtad-Suzuki Center at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Her scholarly work focuses on academic bullying, Latina identity, and doctoral education.
As a community activist, organizer and mother, Aida is a member of the Saint Paul Integration Task Force that is critically looking at the role of public education in our Democracy, interrogating the idea of what makes an educated person, and centering the experiences of black, brown and low income children. In addition, she is deeply involved with the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers and their fight for equity and wealth re-distribution.
Because freedom is a constant struggle, Aida is deeply committed to critical dialogues, community empowerment and complicated solutions.