Today was the 10th Annual Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity (ISCORE). I have been on the planning committee for this conference since year two, and it has been amazing to see our growth each year. We welcomed more than 800 faculty, staff, and student participants to this 2009 event.
Our conference keynote speaker was NPR’s Michele Norris. In her SRO presentation, Race, Gender, and the Future of Leadership in America, Ms. Norris engaged us with observations of a year of political change through the storytelling for which she is known. She addressed our students directly by encouraging them to remember their Vitamin C’s.
Collaboration. Change happens when individuals lock arms together and march forward. Engage those around you to follow your dreams and beliefs and be supportive of what they bring to the effort.
Cut. Eliminate one activity, one committee, one obligation. Build an hour back in your day. College students today do too much with too little time. Cut back and make time for yourself.
Camaraderie. Don’t forget about your friends, they are the ones to get you through your day and your life. It’s easy to become so focused on goals and outcomes that you forget the people that you really need.
When asked whether our country is capable of moving toward a post-racial society, Ms. Norris shared that recent political events lead some to believe we have already achieved a post-racial place in America. Norris said this compares to riding an express elevator to the top of a skyscraper. You have a great ride and get out on the observation deck where the view is wonderful. But you fail to stop at the floors on the way up where the view is not so great.