The Pitt Diversity Forum is July 28-30! The 3-day virtual event will focus on key social justice concepts, practices, and policies for education and implementation.
The Forum will examine systemic power dynamics within a higher education context, and the manifestations of different forms of oppression on individual, group, and societal levels. Participants will also discuss theories of racial/sociocultural identity development that can help in understanding oneself, others, and intergroup dynamics and aid in implementing social justice efforts. Topical institutional and societal challenges and associated strategies for change will be explored.
The entire schedule is great, and some special sustainability-related sessions include:
- From Protest to Policy: Environmental Justice, Economic Equity and Community Activism
- JULY 30, 9 a.m.
- Fred Brown, president and CEO of the Forbes Fund; Carl Redwood, community organizer at Pittsburgh Hill District Consensus Group; Olivia “Liv” Bennett, a member of Allegheny County Council (District 13 representative); Jerry Dickinson, associate professor of law, University of Pittsburgh; anupama jain, executive director of Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission; and Hillary Roman, ADA coordinator for the City of Pittsburgh; and Kristin Kanthak, associate professor, Department of Political Science, University of PittsburghFrom the rights of Indigenous Peoples, the right to clean air in Pittsburgh and drinkable water in Flint, to the protection of natural resources, and the right of affordable, safe housing and economic stability, this session seeks to educate and expose the root causes of injustice and offer a blueprint towards sustainable, equitable and inclusive prosperity for all.
- Environmental Justice Is Social Justice: Past, Present, & Future in Southwestern Pennsylvania
- JULY 30, 10:45 a.m.
- Sustainability is the balance of equity, environment, and economics so current and future generations can thrive. Despite centuries of efforts, the Pittsburgh region has wrestled with this construct, yet issues of environmental and social justice remain – and are intertwined in systemic, cross-generational, and sector-specific issues. Systemic and institutional racism is evident in the poor environmental conditions for black, brown, and indigenous peoples across the United States and in Pittsburgh. This session will start with a land acknowledgement recognizing and respecting Native Nations as traditional stewards of this land. The panel will address how Pittsburgh’s industrialization resulted in social and environmental injustices that perpetuate today, especially affecting communities of color. Topics of pollution, toxic air, energy sources and poverty, and the lack of representation in the environmental sector will most certainly be discussed by the following panel from their various perspectives and experiences.
- The Social, Economic, and Cultural Implications of Water Insecurity
- JULY 30, 10:45 a.m.
- Bridgette Gerber-Winschel, a University of Pittsburgh legal studies major, poet, and activist for clean water who has been involved in Lake Erie’s algae clean up from the age of 9. This presentation takes an in depth look at the clean water crisis in the United States through case studies of Flint, Michigan; Toledo, Ohio; and Newark, New Jersey while also reviewing the patterns of global commodity wars and population booms in regards to the future of the clean water crisis.
- Black-owned businesses at Pitt: Opportunity & Commitment – more info in the flyer below!
- JULY 30, 1:45 p.m.
- Jennifer C. Barnes, supplier diversity and sustainability coordinator, University of PittsburghSystemic racism exists in the business and entrepreneurial space where differential access to capital and resources serves as the main perpetuator of inequity. The University of Pittsburgh is committed to responsible and impactful spending practices to strengthen our community with focused engagement and purchasing strategies. Our goal is to create a space where diverse businesses can access growth opportunities and where buyers can access the resources to make more equitable purchasing decisions. This workshop will review Pitt’s strategies and achievements in diverse spending, and present engagement opportunities for local businesses.
- A Novel Ethical Approach to Reshape Capitalistic Society
- JULY 30, 1:45 p.m.
- Rabbi Aaron Herman, renowned author, lecturer, mentor and Rabbi Shmuel Weinstein, who served as director of Chabad House at the University of Pittsburgh for 31 years. This workshop will focus on how to re-imagine the manner in which we evaluate success and fulfillment in our society. In doing so, many selfish and divisive pressures can be reduced or eliminated on campus and in the world-at-large. Inspired by the ideas presented in Social Vision: The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Transformative Paradigm for the World, by Philip Wexler, the workshop will focus on how we begin to uproot the self-interest that has created systemic inequities throughout our society.