Symposium to focus on ‘Race, Place & Diversity’ this week

As the nation grapples with increasing scenarios of unrest and change affecting millions of Americans, the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (KCFAA) presents a symposium on “Race, Place, & Diversity” to address the deeper systemic issues behind the turmoil from 11 a.m. to  8 p.m., Thursday, in various venues in the 18th & Vine District.

KCFAA is committed to a five-year symposium project that focuses attention on fostering awareness of issues of diversity at the local, regional, national and international level. The discussion will focus on race, place, and diversity, and how each influences the current condition and future of Kansas City. Featured speakers will share their contributions to American cultural arts and give important insights on their journey of life, struggle, and success.

“KCFAA’s Symposium on Race, Place and Diversity is designed to create points of intersection and commonality while celebrating our uniqueness by bringing light to past transgressions through a series of workshops and discussions about how we got here in order to develop opportunities for greater understanding,” said panelist Tyrone Aiken, KCFAA chief artistic officer.

Race, Place & Diversity will feature two components on Thursday, followed by the Award Dinner on Friday:

  • Symposium Sessions – from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday – including lunch, breakout sessions and a panel wrap-up at the America Jazz Museum. Admission is $60.
  • Town Hall – from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday – featuring questions and insights with panel members and the public at the Gem Theater. It is free and open to the public.
  • Award Dinner – 6 p.m. reception; 7:00 p.m. dinner (on Friday) and award presentation to Debbie Allen for her lifetime contributions to diversity in the arts; and after-party at the Muehlebach Marriott Downtown. For tickets, visit the KCFAA.

The Symposium and Town Hall will feature Susan B. Wilson, Ph.D., vice chancellor, UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion; Gwendolyn Grant, president/CEO, Urban League of Greater Kansas City; Juan Rangel, director, Gateway to College, Donnelly College; Michael V. Toombs, founder/CEO, The Storytellers Inc., Artist Collective. The discussion is moderated by Michelle T. Johnson and Aiken.

For more information, visit the KCFAA website.