TEDx SUU: Diversity Redefined for 2020

Posted: September 06, 2020 | Author: Larissa Beatty | Read Time: 3 minutes

Diversity Redefined

noun: diversity
plural noun: diversities

  1. The condition of having or being composed of differing elements : variety especially : the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization

I know starting with a definition is basic. But the world has been redefining diversity ever since it became a word, so a formal introduction to its origins felt necessary.

Diversity can be found everywhere. In businesses, schools, universities and cultures. And every time something significant happens within this diversity, the definition of the word is put under the spotlight and changed. Redefined.

Because of this, Unity in Diversity has been a fairly common topic in both TED and TEDx talks (in some form or another) since the creation of the program. One Iranian presenter, Reza Aslan, spoke of the unity of the American people at TEDxConejo in 2011.

“What binds Americans together is that we share a common story, a common narrative.”

He said he felt unity in his early years as an immigrant, because, after all, everyone in America was technically an immigrant. He felt the unity that is, before the attacks on 9/11. But after, as a country, we had to relearn how to accept a race and religion that was suddenly viewed as an enemy because of a select few terrorists. A group that Aslan was a part of.

Another presenter, young Suhaib Dahla, spoke in 2014 about how to better create this unity in the increasing diversity in our country.

“When we gain more knowledge and educate ourselves on different races and religions, it makes us stronger. It helps us understand each other and through that understanding it will unite us” (TEDx Carrollwood Day School.)

Jackson Katz spoke on a very different kind of unity and diversity at TEDxFiDiWomen November 2012. In “Violence against women, it’s a mens issue”, he urges that, “Transforming cultural ideas of manhood is the most important step in reducing violence in the world.”

These are just a few examples of attempts to find unity in the countless instances of diversity of race, sexual orientation, religion, background, opinion, and ability found in classrooms, communities, cultures, and countries around the world.

A lot has happened recently that is redefining diversity. A worldwide pandemic. Racial controversy and protests. A heated political race. And with school starting, fall starting, and the world gradually reopening, we are going through yet another period of change.

Unity is more critical than ever as we tackle these and other significant current issues together, and TEDxSUU will be hosting the best presenters to help us do that, including:

  • John Belk, a part of the SUU English department with a broad experience with literature and rhetoric.
  • Tiffany Chin, a biology student attending SUU and former Miss SUU.
  • Ashleigh Zimmerman, a crucial part of the Financial Aid office at SUU for years.
  • D’Mia Lamar, the 2018-2019 Student Body President and a double major with political science and philosophy.
  • Tenia Wallace, the Chief Operating Officer of Decorworx.
  • Thomas Tobin, a recruiter working with the Military Science department at SUU with extensive leadership experience.
  • Rian Watson-Davis, a student at Southern Utah University working with the Speech and Presentation Center.
  • Cynthia Hawk, an SUU student with a significant involvement in student and community life.

Increasing diversity is inevitable. Increasing unity is essential. Unite with us on October 6th to learn from these community pillars how we can better ourselves and better serve those around us in this unprecedented time.


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