hands of every color, joined in a circle

Photo provided

August 16, 2022

SIU celebrating Diversity Week with John Quiñones, awards and other activities

by Christi Mathis

quinones_john-sm.jpgCARBONDALE, Ill. — Juan Manuel “John” Quiñones, ABC News correspondent, journalist and longtime host of “What Would You Do?” will be the keynote speaker as Southern Illinois University Carbondale celebrates Diversity Week Aug. 29 to Sept. 2.

The theme for the week is “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Cultivating a Culture for a Stronger and United Campus,” and numerous special events are planned. All are free.

“Diversity Week here at SIU is an opportunity to showcase our diverse students, staff and faculty family. This week serves as a sample of how we will continue to cultivate our inclusivity,” said Paul Frazier, vice chancellor of anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion.

All welcome to hear Quiñones

Quiñones will present “What would You Do? Words of Wisdom About Doing the Right Thing” at 6 p.m. Aug. 29 in the Student Center Auditorium. Everyone is welcome to attend; there is no cost.

The veteran newscaster’s story began in poverty, doing migrant farm work, but he carved a pathway to success, breaking down barriers and winning accolades along the way to a successful broadcast career spanning more than 30 years. During his time with ABC News, he sat on the anchor desk for “20/20” and “Primetime” and earned seven national Emmy awards.

He created “What Would You Do?” and hosts the highly rated hidden camera news show, now in its 14th season, as it explores how people react when they encounter unexpected dilemmas. The proponent of the Latino American dream will talk with the SIU audience about human nature, ethical behavior and the “What Would You Do?” moments people face on a daily basis.

Recognizing Women of Action

SIU’s Women’s Resource Center will host its inaugural Women of Action Awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Aug. 30 in the Student Center Ballroom D. Women of diverse backgrounds from campus and the community who lead, serve and inspire will be recognized. Jamie Franco-Zamudio, associate professor at the JFK School of Psychology at National University in San Diego, California, and proponent for social justice and action, will be the keynote speaker.

The goal is to honor the “everyday heroes” who make a difference and encourage women, including those in leadership, to advocate for anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion (ADEI). Three awards will go to women who are SIU faculty or staff members:

  • Woman of Inspiration – someone who empowers and supports women and champions the inclusion of women.
  • Ascend – one who is a “rising star” in advocating for women and their goals.
  • Above and Beyond – a current SIU student who is a go-getter and young role model.

Two awards will be presented to community members:

  • Champion of Change – a woman who has a sustained commitment to women and/or diversity issues.
  • Empowering the Youth – a teacher or staff member in grades K-12 who makes a difference in young lives.

Everyone is welcome to attend the ceremony, which will feature a dinner. However, online reservations are required no later than Aug. 26. Award nominations are welcomed until 8 p.m. Aug. 20. For more information, contact Bethany Peppers at bpeppers@siu.edu.

Speaking and celebrating ADEI

Two special presentations will focus on celebrating diversity, equity and inclusion through word, music and art.

Jesús Valles, a queer Mexican immigrant, educator, storyteller and performer, will present “(Un)Documents Performance,” 4-6 p.m. Aug. 31. The free Hispanic/Latino Resource Center presentation will take place at the Student Center Auditorium.

A native of Juarez, Mexico, Valles now resides in Austin, Texas. Valles teaches high school students, especially recent immigrants, imparting social and emotional learning to them. immigrants. Valles received the 2018 Undocupoets Fellowship, is a fellow of the Poetry Foundation and Crescendo Literary’s 2018 Poetry Incubator and has won other awards. Valles’ published works can be found in The Shade Journal, The Texas Review and soon in The New Republic. Valles holds a master’s degree in communication studies from California State University, Long Beach.

SIU’s School of Art and Design and School of Music will join in presenting “We Art Diverse” from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 1 at Faner Plaza. All are welcome to join in the multi-faceted celebration of diversity, which will feature music by the Saluki marching band and jazz ensemble. SIU art students will also be painting murals on canvas.

Additional events slated

SIU’s ADEI Office is partnering with the U.S. Navy Health Professions Division for various activities throughout the week, including tabling events and informational briefs, culminating with a Veterans Affairs and Navy Breakfast, 8:30-10 a.m. Sept. 2 in the John C. Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library. The featured speaker is Dr. Safiya McNeese, associate program director and director of obstetrics and women’s health at the Southern Illinois School of Medicine Family Medicine Residency Program and AAFP Health Equity Fellow with a featured Capstone Project, WOMBSS: Wrapping (integrating) low-risk Obstetric services for Moms and Babies, in St. Clair and surrounding counties. McNeese has long-time connections with SIU and served on the United States Navy’s Family Medicine team in Okinawa, Japan, for over three years along with time at Naval Medicine Center Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The breakfast will honor Martin Parsons, clinical assistant professor of law at the SIU School of Law. A graduate of the law school, Parsons served four years active duty in the Marine Corps and 22 years with the Illinois Army National Guard, including stints in Iraq with Operation Iraqi Freedom. He helped restart the Veterans’ Legal Assistance Program at SIU.

SIU’s Diversity Week will also feature a discussion of military culture, a dance performance, a disability support and accessibility presentation to help cultivate a culture of access for all, a jazz and hip-hop seminar, a movie, workshops, panel discussions, SAFE Zone and DACA training and much more. Pre-registration is suggested as space is limited for some of the training sessions, especially the Safe Zone Training for which other dates are available later in the semester.

Find the full schedule of events and additional information on SIU’s diversity website. For more information, contact Renada Greer, executive director of the Student Multicultural Resource Center and TRiO Student Support Services programs director, at renadag@siu.edu.