Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


Including Inclusion: Lester leads discussions on race

An important series of events this week, already in progress, featuring Dr. Neal Lester and organized by linguistics doctoral student Kim Waters to address issues of diversity and inclusion with the University of Georgia and the city of Athens:

Waters has organized a series of events that will take place from Sept. 13–17, both on campus and in town, in an effort to promote social healing and cross-cultural understanding. Waters is working with hip hop artist and DIG Fellow Mariah Copeland Parker, UGA NAACP President Mansur Buffins and hip hop activist Ricky Roberts (aka Ricky Simone) to bring the series to as many people as possible.

Waters, a doctoral student in UGA’s linguistics program, established the series of events as the capstone for her Diversity and Inclusion Graduate (DIG) Fellowship at UGA. The 18-month fellowship requires a five-day event with both campus and community outreach. Waters says she wanted to build an event around Lester, “a remarkable force in community organization.”

Lester, Foundation Professor of English at Arizona State University and founding director of the award-winning Project Humanities initiative, is the short-term visiting fellow at UGA’s Willson Center for the Humanities and keynote speaker for the final event of the series Saturday at the UGA Chapel. His topic: “Straight Talk About the N-Word.”

Lester’s Project Humanities has grown into a model for promoting dialogue between universities and the communities surrounding them, a model Athens needs badly. “It’s about mending something that’s been broken over and over again, that relationship between the black and white communities,” Waters says.

The events are listed below and require no added gloss from me. We are very lucky.

Events are open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday, Sept. 14

Live hip hop performances and voter registration drive

Tate Center Plaza, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

“Once Upon a Time in a Different World: Representation, Controversy and Celebration in African-American Children’s Literature”

Miller Learning Center, room 214, 1:15–4:30 p.m. (open to graduate students and faculty only)

Thursday, Sept. 15

Live hip hop performances and voter registration drive

Tate Center Plaza, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

“Incuding Inclusion: Bringing Diversity and Inclusion Perspectives to Diverse Curricula”

Special Collections Library, room 277, 2–4 p.m. (open to faculty only)

Friday, Sept. 16

“Fear of a Black Planet: Representations of Black Males, Past and Present”

Special Collections Library, room 277, 4–6 p.m. (includes free food)

Saturday, Sept. 17

Hip hop showcase, voter registration drive and keynote address: “Straight Talk About the N Word”

UGA Chapel, 2–4 p.m.


Image: Neal Lester, credit, Arizona State University

Support Franklin College

We appreciate your financial support. Your gift is important to us and helps support critical opportunities for students and faculty alike, including lectures, travel support, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. Click here to learn more about giving.