2017-2018 Annual Theme: Talking About Race, Gender and Power

A university initiative launched in 2015, the annual theme devotes an entire year to examining a critical problem facing society. We tap our faculty experts, engage student leaders and bring in national and international authorities for insightful lectures and interactive workshops open to the general public. Faculty members incorporate the annual theme into courses and projects and student clubs and organizations adopt the theme into their discussions and events.

As a university dedicated to our principles of equality, inclusivity and freedom of expression, we commit to exploring the most pressing issues facing society. By engaging in open and honest dialogue on race, class, gender expression, social and environmental issues, we train a spotlight on society’s urgent matters and work together with the campus and greater communities to find practical solutions for a just world.

For the 2017-18 academic year, we focus on “Talking About Race, Gender and Power,” which aims to engage the public in positive, civil discourse and the sharing of divergent viewpoints on the intersection of race, gender and power in America. View the schedule of events for Spring 2018 below, and check back regularly for additional events.

All events are open to the campus community:

  • RWU Law Thurgood Marshall Memorial Lecture Series: “The Race Card and the Trump Card: New Challenges and Familiar Frustrations”
    Monday, Feb. 5 • 4:30 pm
    School of Law – Appellate Courtroom 283

    Ford is the George E. Osborne Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. He received an A.B. from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He has published in the area of local government law, constitutional law, race relations, and anti-discrimination law in numerous legal journals, and he has lectured on these topics internationally. He has published regularly in Slate and has written opinion pieces for the New York TimesSan Jose Mercury News, and San Francisco Chronicle. He is the author of several books, including The Race Card (2008), Rights Gone Wrong (2011), and Universal Rights Down to Earth (2011). He is currently working on a book about Grooming Codes.
  • Fireside Chat with President Farish
    Wednesday, Feb. 7 • 7:00-8:30 pm
    University Library – Mary Tefft White Cultural Center
    Hosted by the PEACE Program at RWU and the Office of President Farish and co-sponsored by Chief Diversity Officer Ame Lambert, the Multicultural Student Union, and S.A.F.E.
  • President’s Distinguished Speakers Series: “Me Too: The Movement to Empower Survivors”
    Tuesday, Feb. 13 • 7:30 pm
    Campus Recreation Center Gymnasium

    Long before the courageous rally cry #MeToo went viral last year, Tarana Burke had adopted the simple, yet powerful phrase “Me Too” to let survivors of sexual assault and harassment know they weren’t alone. In sharing her heartbreaking story behind the creation of the “Me Too” movement, Burke – a social justice activist for more than 25 years and senior director of programs at Girls for Gender Equity – empowers survivors to share solidarity, share an amplified voice, and come together to heal.
  • Fireside Chat with President Farish
    Wednesday, March 7 • 7:00-8:30 pm
    University Library – Mary Tefft White Cultural Center
    Hosted by the PEACE Program at RWU and the Office of President Farish and co-sponsored by Chief Diversity Officer Ame Lambert, the Multicultural Student Union, and S.A.F.E.
  • President's Distinguished Speaker Series: “Not Just Race, Not Just Gender: Being a Woman of Color in the Workplace”
    Wednesday, March 28 • 4:00 - 6:00 pm
    College of Arts & Sciences Room 157

    A panel discussion will explore the workplace experiences of two successful women of color working in the fields of law and journalism. Tina Tchen is a partner at Chicago’s Buckley Sanders law firm and former Assistant to President Obama, Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama. Adrienne Lawrence is a legal analyst and attorney sought-after by national media outlets for her expert opinion on legal issues in sports and pop culture involving crime and punishment, sexualized violence and domestic violence. As part of the year-long series “Talking About Race, Gender and Power” at RWU, this event will highlight ways that race and gender affect pathways to success and promotion in a multitude of ways.  
  • President’s Distinguished Speakers Series: “Conversations About Race and Power”
    Wednesday, April 4 
    Ibram Kendi is a leading historical scholar of racism and founding director of The Anti-Racist and Policy Center. Robin DiAngelo is an acclaimed instructor and trainer on issues of racial and social justice.

    2:00 – 3:00 P.M.
    School of Law Appellate Courtroom 283
    “Do Hate and Ignorance Create Racist Policies?”
    with Ibram Kendi,
    author of Stamped from the Beginning: A Definitive History of Racist Ideas

    3:30 – 4:45 P.M.
    School of Law Appellate Courtroom 283
    “White Fragility: A Challenge to Constructive Racial Conversations”
    with Robin DiAngelo,
    author of White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

    6:30 P.M.
    Campus Recreation Center Gymnasium
    “A Dialogue on Race and Power”
    with Ibram Kendi & Robin DiAngelo
  • "People of Color: Descriptive or Discriminative"
    Monday, April 9 • 6:30 P.M.
    Feinstein College of Arts & Sciences • Room 157

    Although the term “people of color” has been a widely-adopted phrase, it presents a number of benefits and drawbacks. As part of RWU’s year-long series, “Talking about Race, Gender, and Power,” this panel discussion will offer a forum to explore and deconstruct the term “people of color” from multiple vantage points. The discussion will be moderated by Raymond Two Hawks Watson, recipient of the 2016 Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship and CEO/Founder of the Providence Cultural Equity Initiative. Panelists include Kamille Gentles-Peart, Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies at RWU, Aaron Allen, Assistant Professor of American Studies at RWU, MiNa Chung, Associate Director of the RWU Intercultural Center, and Taino Palermo, Director of Community Development Programs at RWU School of Continuing Studies.