MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Northern Michigan University will hold its 14th annual Uniting Neighbors in the Experience of Diversity (UNITED) Conference Sept. 23-24 in Ballroom I and II of the Northern Center. UNITED is a yearly conference composed of a broad range of presentations focusing on diversity and inclusion.
Featured guest speakers and topics are indicated below. For a complete schedule, visit nmu.edu/united.
Monday, Sept. 23:
11 a.m. “Transcending Barriers: From NMU Alumna to 2019 Librarian of the Year”
Skye Patrick, director of the LA County Library will share her story of growing up in foster care, her time at NMU and how those experiences have shaped the way she leads one of the largest library systems in the nation. As an African-American woman who is openly LGBTQ+, she recognizes the importance of equality, personal development, and providing a place where people can gather as a community.
1 p.m. “Finding Our Place”
Photographer Kris Sanford will share her work from 2000, when she conducted video interviews with a small group of the LGBT community. This presentation reflects on her own efforts to understand the “complex, varied and vibrant community” that she belongs to.
3 p.m. “International Students - The Northern Experience”
Learn about international student experiences at NMU and across the U.S. from Rida Azam (Pakistan), Doyoon Kim (South Korea), Ami Nakadera (Japan), Alanis Obando (Nicaragua) and Wyona Schutte (Germany).
5 p.m. “Women Who Know Beer”
The panel includes Kylie Bunting and Emily Hines, co-founders of Barley's Angels U.P.; Marina Dupler, co-founder of Barrel + Beam; Heather Ludwig, general manager of Drifa Brewing; and Andrea Pernsteiner, co-founder and vice president of Ore Dock Brewing Company.
7 p.m. “Locker Room Talk or Toxic Masculinity?”
Byron Hurt, documentary filmmaker and anti-sexist activist, will focus on how hyper-masculinity in pop culture normalizes male violence; how race, class and gender oppression intersect; how LGBT communities are especially vulnerable to male violence; and how male privilege can be leveraged to create shifts in male culture.
Tuesday, Sept. 24:
9 a.m. “Urban Farming”
Former professional basketball player Will Allen will speak about discovering a new passion when he started Growing Power, a Milwaukee non-profit dedicated to urban agriculture.
1 p.m. “Beyond X and Y: Why Your Brain (Often) Doesn’t care about Chromosomes”
NMU Biology Professor Erich Ottem will discuss the field of epigenetics.
2 p.m. “Transitioning into Activism: A Narrative Account of Resilience, Family Narratives and Gender Equity Activism”
Madeline Wiles, a recent NMU graduate and grad student at the University of Southern Illinois-Carbondale recounts her journey of coming out to her family, implementing her pedagogy into practice and creating numerous possibilities for future students. She offers insight into her activism origins and the impact her work means to the LGBTQ+ community.
3 p.m. “Indigenous Foods Research in the Great Lakes Region”
Martin Reinhardt, Center for Native American Studies and Tina Moses, NMU graduate, will share their Indigenous foods research experiences and their participation in the Decolonizing Diet Project.
4 p.m. “The Sound of a Circle: Indigenous Music and Identity”
The local band Waawiyeyaa (The Circle) will share music and musings reflective of Indigenous identity in today’s world.
5 - 6:30 p.m. Ballroom II “Poetry without Borders”
Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members will read or perform poetry in languages other than English. English translations, snacks and refreshments will be provided.
7 p.m. “Janet Mock Q & A”
Mock is a writer, director, TV host and producer. Her memoir, Redefining Realness, debuted on the New York Times best-sellers list in 2014.
Her second book, Surpassing Certainty, was released in 2017. She is an advocate for trans rights and the founder of #GirlsLikeUs, a social media movement that empowers trans women.
For more information regarding the UNITED conference, please contact the NMU Multicultural Education and Resource Center at 906-227-1554.