Message from the Chief Diversity Officer
Dear App State Community,
App State is celebrating Indigenous People’s Day today to recognize the Indigenous communities that have lived in the Americas for thousands of years and honor their histories, resilience and many contributions to our world. I invite you to join our community at a special program this evening, Why Ira Walked: The Struggle to Teach American Indian History, to commemorate this important day.
Throughout October, LGBTQ+ History Month offers a dedicated opportunity to recognize the contributions of those in the LGBTQ+ community and honor advocates for LGBTQ+ rights at App State and in the surrounding community. App State offers a number of resources to support those in the LGBTQ+ community and will host several events and programs this month to celebrate its members.
The Henderson Springs LGBT Center, which opened during LGBT History Month in 2008, provides resources, support, information and a welcoming atmosphere for LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies. In 2014, the center was named for local couple Bo Henderson ’79 — who was inaugurated into App State’s Bell Ringers Society in 2021 during Founders Day — and his late husband, Ed Springs.
Additionally, App State’s faculty and staff affinity group, Queer and Trans Staff and Faculty, offers programs to support members of our LGBTQ+ employee community.
I invite you to join several other events taking place in the coming weeks:
- Our “We’re Here: LGBTQ+ Communities at App State” discussion series continues with this month’s panel discussion on Oct. 12. This event features a dynamic lineup of panelists, including faculty, staff, students and alumni.
- App State’s Alumni Association invites LGBTQ+ faculty, staff and students to join alumni at their LGBTQ+ Football Tailgate on Oct. 19 before the game against Georgia State. If you would like to attend the event, please be sure to register here.
- I am pleased to announce the return of App Allies training for faculty and staff led by Dr. Kristen Benson, faculty director for LGBTQ+ Communities. App Allies is an LGBTQ+ ally development and training program with elements of the Safe Zone training model.
We also will host several diversity programs in the coming weeks to celebrate other communities at App State and engage diverse groups in constructive conversations:
- This evening, we will host the final event in the Making of Mountaineers series, which fosters meaningful, structured dialogue among community members. Event panelists include North Carolina Sen. Deanna Ballard, former Charlotte City Council member Larken Egleston ’17, and Boone Mayor Tim Futrelle ’10.
- On Oct. 12, the offices of Diversity and Athletics will co-host The Longest Table, a conversation-based lunch designed to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds to have genuine discussions that inspire change and build unity within our campus community.
- Dr. Annette Gordon-Reed, the 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner in history, will join us on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Schaefer Center to discuss her book, “On Juneteenth,” as part of the University Forum Lecture Series. This is one of App State’s longest running series, providing students, faculty, staff and members of the surrounding community with opportunities to hear some of the most dynamic speakers in the country. Last June, the Office of Diversity hosted its first annual Juneteenth Celebration, during which participants received a copy of Dr. Gordon-Reed’s book.
Looking ahead, App State will celebrate Native American Heritage Month in November. With support from Dr. Allen Bryant, faculty director for Indigenous Communities, and the Gadugi Partnership, we have planned several events and programs, some of which begin later this month:
- Gadugi Fall Speaker Series with Dr. Jean Schroedel, “Voting in Indian Country: The View from the Trenches” on Oct. 24.
- American Indian Film Series on Nov. 2, 9 and 16.
- We’re Here: Indigenous Communities at App State on Nov. 9.
Finally, in our ongoing efforts to promote diversity and inclusion across our campus community and beyond, we have created new Faculty Director of Communities positions. Dr. Benson and Dr. Bryant are two of three faculty expanding their current roles to support the Office of Diversity. Joining them is Dr. Claudia Cartaya-Marin, faculty director for Hispanic/Latine Communities. These faculty directors support the Office of Diversity through community-building and outreach, special projects and programming tailored to the needs of specific populations. Thank you to the department chairs and deans who are supporting these faculty members in their expanded roles as they advance diversity, equity and inclusion work across campus.
I hope you will join me in supporting these and other diversity events in the coming weeks, all of which can be found on the Fall 2022 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Events calendar.
Jamie Parson, J.D.
Chief Diversity Officer