Barton College Invites Local Citizens to Discuss Topics on Race and Diversity on Jan. 26

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WILSON, N.C. — January 16, 2015 — Barton College will host an evening of discussion focused on race and diversity on Monday, Jan. 26, at 6 p.m. in Hardy Alumni Hall. The Barton College Minority Student Association, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and Hackney Library have teamed up to host this campus and community panel discussion, titled “The Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement: A Series of Conversations on Moving Forward.” This event is open to the public at no charge, and members of the community are encouraged to attend. Refreshments will be served.

Although there is no single objective, one of the goals of this public forum is to provide a welcoming and safe setting for guests to discuss the many social challenges we witness and experience as citizens of our local communities. Campus organizers hope to encourage constructive dialogue among a diverse audience that will promote compassion and trust, while dispelling stereotypes and suspicion.

Barton students have a major role in bringing this important event to the public. “I’m excited to see students engaged with the community concerning topics such as social justice, race, and diversity and how we can work more closely together to help bring about change for the better,” explained Cederick Parris, a junior middle school education (6-9) major with a concentration in social studies and a member of the Minority Student Association.

Holly Zacharias, director of diversity and inclusion at Barton College, added, “This event provides an opportunity to engage in positive conversations about the realities that can divide us as individuals and split us into segregated communities. We want this event to be a step toward nurturing a community of trust, a safe space, a fertile field where we can sow seeds of understanding, compassion, and healing.”

A panel of experts will be on hand to lead this important discussion with members of the audience. Special guests include Arthur Johnson, Wilson’s chapter president of the NAACP, Dr. Bob Zellner, the first Caucasian southerner to serve as field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, commissioner Jacquie Jeffers, MLK Commission for the State of North Carolina, Roosevelt Ethridge, Jr., MLK Commission of Wilson, Dr. Joanne Woodard, principal of Sallie B. Howard School, Dr. Gary Daynes, provost and vice-president for academic affairs at Barton College, Dr. Luis Ayarza, assistant professor of Spanish in the School of Humanities at Barton College, the Reverend Jamie Eubanks, chaplain of Barton College, and Parris.

“Students involved with the Minority Student Association at Barton are very excited to be a part of this discussion,” continued George Loveland, director of Hackney Library. “Already, they are facilitating conversations and addressing community needs. They are gaining firsthand experience and learning how to confront real-world, not hypothetical, challenges in our society.”

Zacharias, Loveland, Parris and other student organizers hope the discussion on January 26 will be the first in a series of conversations, engaging the constituencies across our community and fostering positive and meaningful relationships.

For more information about this event, please contact Holly Zacharias at (252) 399-6592 or hzacharias@barton.edu, or George Loveland at (252) 399-6501 or gwloveland@barton.edu.

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