On Saturday, Feb. 15, Eastern Oregon University, Blue Mountain Community College and Treasure Valley Community College students, faculty and community members filled Huber auditorium for the Celebrate, Educate, Appreciate Diversity (CEAD) Conference. The annual CEAD Conference, organized by EOU’s Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion and Student Council for Multicultural Affairs, provides training to “support intercultural competencies, inclusiveness and diversity.” Through listening to keynote speakers and participating in interactive workshops, students explored and analyzed topics directly related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Attendees also shared personal stories of how their names relate to their lives and culture. Superintendent of La Grande School District and EOU Trustee George Mendoza shared his assimilation story about his name changing from Jorge to George when he came to the United States. Through this dialogue, attendees built a picture of the diversity in the room.

Workshop topics included, “Who Are the Deserving Poor?,” “Inclusion and Equity in the Classroom: Promising Practices and Pitfalls,” “White Fragility,” “Queer and Trans Justice 101,” “Get your Stuff Together! Building Collective Power,” “Klechibelau: The Palauan Civic Idea in the Face of Colonization,” and “The Middle Class and Other Stories about Wealth, Status and Power.”  Keynote speaker Alex Martinez started off the morning by expressing the importance of building a supportive community around oneself. “Fill your life with people who invest in your growth and cheer for you,” Martinez said. “Find mentors who you can learn from.” Lunch keynote speaker Emily Drew shared lessons from her journey of social justice. From her experience, she said she has been given gifts of realization that guide her actions. Drew highlighted the value of some of those gifts, such as living in both no/and, having a belt of many tools, taking risks and messing up, and taking responsibility and reflecting on feedback. She also encouraged people to use the gifts to apply in their daily life to promote equity and inclusion.

Resident Assistants and staff from EOU residence halls attended to learn about the multicultural experience and become more inclusive of all on-campus residents. Area Coordinator of North Hall Edna Murrieta expressed how she practices one of Drew’s gifts: “having a belt of many tools.” “When I’m overseeing on-campus residents, I prepare myself and resident assistants to handle different situations,” Murrieta said. Pamela Fredrick, a member of the Student Council for Multicultural Affairs Coordinator and one of the CEAD Conference organizers, said the conference is a good opportunity for students, faculty and staff to learn together. “The conference gives everyone the chance to learn and celebrate our differences, build a sense of belonging and community here at EOU,” she said. “I have been a part of this program for the whole time I have been attending EOU and I have seen the great impact of this conference.”

View more photos from the CEAD Conference at photos.app.goo.gl/yb3BN4qjkR6ppfoAA. For more information about future events or to get involved with EOU’s Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion, contact Bennie Moses-Mesubed at bmoses@eou.edu.
Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz.