On April 17th through the 19th, the Multi-Cultural Student Services Directors’ Council will be holding the 24th annual “Students of Color Conference” at the Yakima Convention Center. With the defining motto “I AM, living social justice through creative resistance,” the conference will educate its attendees on the topics of academic success, leadership, social justice and intercultural communications. Over the three days, students will hear speeches from experienced educators and have the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops aimed to expand their perspective on the matters of race, diversity and privilege. The conference is attended by 33 community and technical colleges from all over Washington with an average total of over 800 students participating.
There will be three keynote speakers presenting throughout the conference. Kip Fulbeck, a professor of art at the University of California Santa Barbara will be opening on the 17th. He is a filmmaker, artist and author who has been featured on CNN, PBS and MTV. He focuses largely on multicultural identity, and he himself is of Japanese-American descent. His film “Banana Split” will be shown in the evening the second day.
Friday the 18th will feature the two other keynote speakers. In the morning following breakfast and workshops, Erin Jones, an educator for 23 years who was recently acknowledged as a “Champion of Change” by the White House will appear as the second keynote speaker. In the evening Michael Benitez, dean of diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at the University of Puget Sound will be offering his guidance to the students.
The conference is open to people of all backgrounds and seeks to bring together as diverse a group as possible. Students of all ethnicities are encouraged to attend. Henry Amaya, assistant director of multicultural services at BC explained “I think its a very good opportunity for students to attend this type of conference because it brings you back to your roots by process of self discovery, but more importantly it enhances the way you understand yourself in the context of other cultures and your current society.”
Bellevue College will be providing free transportation and lodging for its attending pupils and food will be provided by the conference in the convention center’s ballroom daily. However, only 40 students from BC will be admitted due to budget constraints. The deadline to apply is the 7th of February. Those who are interested need to fill out an application, available from MCS in the B building or from their page on the school web site.