Last weekend, Wesleyan hosted the Unmasking Social Change Social Justice Leadership Conference, in partnership with Connecticut Campus Compact. So many wonderful members of the Wesleyan community contributed to the conference as members of the organizing committee, workshop facilitators, and attendees.
The morning began with a dynamic keynote address by Kiese Laymon, an Associate professor of English at Vassar College and an accomplished author of the novel Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. Kiese spoke about issues of race, poverty, sexual violence, and love as they related to his own childhood and his relationship with his grandmother. His personal narrative pushed participants to address their own privilege and actively work to improve society and was an important emotional catalyst as students proceeded to workshops. Powerful statements included “Just because you’ve said the words doesn’t mean you’ve done the work” and “Truth and justice are not the same but you can’t have justice unless you tell the truth.” Kiese led a workshop later in the day entitled “Rereading the Key Essay: What’s a College Paper For?”
Excerpt from CT Campus Compact, read more here.
After Kiese’s opening keynote address, participants split up into workshop groups for Session 1. Then, all of the attendees came together for lunch and a book prize draw while the workshop leaders enjoyed a networking event. In the afternoon, we split up again for Sessions 2 and 3. We are grateful to the following members of the Wesleyan community who contributed their expertise to host workshop sessions at the conference or as members of the conference committee: Diana Martinez, Elisa Cardona, Noah Baerman, Rene Johnson-Thornton, Victoria King, Maddie Neufeld, Aura Ochoa, Shardonay Pagett, Bulaong Ramiz, and Jennifer Roach.