UW–Platteville held its third annual Midwest Culturally Inclusive Conference Thursday and Friday.
The two-day conference drew nearly 1,000 attendees from throughout the Midwest, including business and community leaders, college students, K–12 teachers and administrators as well as post-secondary faculty and staff.
The conference was for those who want to strengthen diversity and work collaboratively toward resolving issues related to equity, diversity, inclusion, representative leadership and advancing professional development opportunities. Six keynote speakers and several breakout sessions filled the two-day schedule.
This year’s keynote speakers included Dr. Joe Bertolino and Bil Leipold, Wes Moore, Dr. Maura Cullen, Will Allen, Maya Lilly and Reyna Grande.
Bertolino and Leipold explored the realities and human dimensions of living in a world of heterosexual privilege. Drawing from their own lives, their experiences as fraternity men and student affairs professionals, their family experiences, and the dynamics of their own relationship, Bertolino and Leipold presented the topic in a non-threatening, humorous way.
Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power Inc. is an urban farmer who is transforming the cultivation, production and delivery of healthy foods to underserved, urban populations.
Grande is an author, speaker and educator. Her first novel, Across a Hundred Mountains, received a 2007 American Book Award, and the 2006 El Premio Aztlan Literary Award. Her second novel, Dancing with Butterflies, was also critically acclaimed and was the recipient of a 2010 International Latino Book Award. Her recent memoir, The Distance Between Us, chronicles her journey from Mexico to the United States and her youth as an undocumented immigrant.
Cullen is considered one of the foremost authorities on issues of diversity and leadership having worked with over 500 organizations with audiences ranging from 8 to 8,000 people. She is the author of 35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say: Surprising Things We Say That Widen The Diversity Gap.
Lilly performed “Mixed: A One-Woman Show,” which has been described as the first truly multicultural portrayal of Americans. After centuries of misunderstanding, these stories made the audience understand what it is to belong to many cultures and, simultaneously, to none.
Moore, who concluded the conference in front of a large crowd, is the author of The Other Wes Moore, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. Despite early academic and behavioral struggles, he graduated Phi Theta Kappa in 1998 as a commissioned officer from Valley Forge Military College, and Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University in 2001, where he also played football and earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations. He then became a Rhodes Scholar, studying international relations at Oxford University.