Gail Hairston

You Are the 'I' in the I Am... Diversity Project

Published: Jan 17, 2014

 

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 17, 2014) — Diversity is not easy to explain, some say, because it means something different to everyone. University of Kentucky students, faculty and staff have taken this negative and turned it into a positive. Capitalizing on the fact that everyone defines diversity differently and that virtually everyone can find some form of diversity in their lives — whether it is the color of their skin, their religion, their physical attributes, their native language, their gender, their sexual preference, or the region they call home — these volunteers arranged a way for anyone to videotape their own personal interpretation of diversity.

  

It’s called the “I Am... I am Kentucky. I am Diversity.” Project. And from a handful of UK faculty and staff volunteers three years ago, the “I Am...” Diversity Project has grown into an initiative that has captured the imagination of the entire state. It’s really rather simple; individuals tape a video of themselves explaining how they define diversity or how diversity defines them. Those videos are then collected and posted on the “I Am...” website.

 

“For a long time, we’ve discussed how important it is to value diversity, and we’ve spent a lot of time preaching to the choir. So much so that most of us have become ‘fatigued’ with the conversation,” said Marietta Watts, co-chair of the “I Am…” Diversity Advisory Committee.

 

“The innovation of the ‘I Am…’ Diversity Movement allows us to use social media in a way that invites everyone to share in the dialogue, no matter where they are — physical location, level of expertise, mental or attitudinal status — everybody can participate in teaching, learning and discussing their humanness,” she explained.

 

In 2011-2012, the UK Office for Institutional Diversity began working with a handful of UK staff and faculty on what eventually became the "I Am…" Diversity Project.  The idea for the project had its genesis in the Humanity Academy, which has been sponsored for several years by the UK Human Resources Training & Development unit. The Humanity Academy is a weeklong workshop that takes participants through in-depth examination and dialog of issues of diversity and inclusion, in which they come to interrogate long-held beliefs, assumptions and biases, and then discuss candidly and openly with each other with great respect and caring.

 

The Academy is run by Watts, whose “many years of experience in the UK community have made her a consummate facilitator of courageous conversations. She and her colleagues have made the "I Am…" Diversity Project an invaluable asset to the diversity effort across campus and in the community,” said Judy “JJ” Jackson, UK vice president for institutional diversity. “The academy’s utilitarian value in easing the way for people to talk about diversity has made it critical to our development of a line-up of cross-campus training modules around diversity and inclusion issues.”

 

The Project Group plans to schedule campuswide onsite training in 2014. However, UK President Eli Capilouto could not wait; he has already taped and submitted his video, which recounts his childhood memories of the civil rights movement in his native Alabama.  Go to the “I Am” website and click “responses” to view videos by various participants.

 

“I am so proud of this project and the people who collaborated to bring it to fruition. The ‘I’ in the title of this movement immediately lets people know that we want their human contribution to be acknowledged and showcased in identifying the many communities that make up the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the world,” Jackson said.

 

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April
 
 
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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UK Baseball vs. Louisville
Kentucky Children's Garden Spring Break Special!
Pinterest Party #2
Tue
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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LNFS presents Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Men's Tennis vs. Illinois
UK Softball vs. Louisville
UK Men's Tennis vs. Northern Kentucky
Kentucky Children's Garden Spring Break Special!
Student Health Advisory Council Meeting
Best Practices for Tree Planting and Establishment Class 2
Selecting the Right Tree for Your Landscape Class 1
#TrendingTopics: It's Not Easy Being Green
Wed
3
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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UK Toastmasters
Kentucky Children's Garden Spring Break Special!
Thu
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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UK Softball vs. Texas A&M
UK Baseball vs. Florida
Kentucky Children's Garden Spring Break Special!
Creoles Topopholia
Religion & Politics in Anxious States
Exploring, Remixing, Analyzing: Teaching History with Digital Media
Cormac O'Grada - "The Nature of Famines"
"The Nature of Famines," Committee on Social Theory Public Lecture
Building a Rain Garden: Collaborative Effort with UK
Fri
5
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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UK Baseball vs. Florida
UK Softball vs. Texas A&M
Bluegrass Bazaar
Sat
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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UK Baseball vs. Florida
UK Softball vs. Texas A&M
Ride the Legacy
UK Men's Tennis vs. Vanderbilt
Sun
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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Boxes & Walls: Oppression through History
Mon
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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Explore Leadership Workshops
Boxes & Walls: Oppression through History
Job Club: Research Your Target Organization Before the Interview: What to Know and How to Find Out
#UK Kicks Butts Day
UK Softball vs. Wright State
Dine. Discover. Decide.: Connecting students to alumni in 3D!
Earth Days in the Bluegrass and the Late Night Film Series Present: Gasland Part II, A Bike-In Movie
UK Baseball vs. Morehead State
Student Sustainability Council Meeting
Tue
9
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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LNFS presents Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
UK Men's Tennis vs. Ohio State
Boxes & Walls: Oppression through History
Wellness On Wheels
Get Your DIY On! Fix-It Station Demonstrations
Overview of Nursing Home Care
Spring (Bike) Fever Twitter Chat
UK Softball vs. Mississippi Valley
Best Practices for Tree Planting and Establishment Class 2
UK Men's Tennis vs. Morehead State
Wed
10
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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LNFS presents American Hustle
UK Toastmasters
Bike-Through Resource Fair
Undergraduate Research Group Advising Session: April General
Presentation by Ladino Rockstar, Sarah Aroeste
Mountain Biking for Beginners Clinic
LNFS presents The Mexican Suitcase
Mr. PharmD
Performance by Ladino Rockstar, Sara Aroeste
Thu
11
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Last Day to Drop a Spring 2014 Course
LNFS presents Boogie Nights
Car-Free Day
What Are They? Some Hidden Forms of the Copula in Old Irish
UK Men's Tennis vs. South Carolina
UK Baseball vs. Missouri
LNFS presents Loose Cannons
Fri
12
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
UK Baseball vs. Missouri
UK Men's Golf Bluegrass Invitational
Arboretum Volunteer Training and Orientation
Taste of Africa
Dramatic Presentation -"Las Voces de los Apalaches"
Swing Dancing!
Sat
13
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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UK Baseball vs. Missouri
UK Men's Golf Bluegrass Invitational
UK Men's Tennis vs. Florida
UK Men's Tennis vs. Murray State
Sun
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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Therapeutic Chair Massage
Mon
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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Superheroes On and Off the Page
Parenting Connection Group
Farmer's MarCat & Craft Fair
Student-Teacher-Student Exhibit
Tue
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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LNFS presents Blue Velvet
Inequality in the US: Consequences
Reframing Stress: Do You Know Your Choices?
Best Practices for Tree and Shrub Pruning Class 3
Cooking Class: For True Beginners
Pinterest Party #3
Wed
17
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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LNFS presents Anchorman 2
UK Toastmasters
Virtual Dementia Tour
Children at Risk Research Conference Keynote Address: Gender, Sexuality, & Risks for Violence among Young Women and LGBTQ Youth in Urban Communities
OUTspoken: Leaving the Second Closet Behind
LNFS presents Easy Rider
Thu
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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Children at Risk Graduate Student Research Poster Presenatation
20th Annual Black Women's Conference
Children at Risk Research Conference Speaker: Why Do Home and Neighborhood Issues Become School Safety Nightmares?
The Re-enchantment of Photography as a Primanry Geographic Mapping Medium
The Re-enchantment of Photography as a Primanry Geographic Mapping Medium
UK Softball vs. Arkansas
Fri
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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20th Annual Black Women's Conference
UK Softball vs. Arkansas
UK Track and Field Home meet
Unleash the Beast: Paintball Wars
Sat
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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Sun
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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Distinguished Industry Lecture Series, H. Graham Motion and Bruce “Buck” Davidson, Jr.
Mon
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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Explore Leadership Workshops
Job Club: Tighten Your Budget after a Job Loss
‘Project Learning Tree’ Workshop for Educators
Drug War Talk by Anthropologist Howard Campbell
Student Sustainability Council Meeting
Tue
23
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
LNFS presents The Lego Movie
Registration Deadline: Weight Loss Matters
Legacy Week: Ping Pong Ball Drop
Health Smart: Mindfulness
Pre-Pharmacy Club Meeting
IPM (Integrated Pest Management) and Tree Healthcare Class 4
Shuffle Series: Bluegrass
Wed
24
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
LNFS presents The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
UK Toastmasters
Wellness On Wheels
LNFS presents Juno
Legacy Week: Candlelight Ceremony
Thu
25
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
LNFS presents The Brave Little Toaster
Bonfires of Illusions: the Twin Crises of the Liberal World
Arbor Day Volunteer Orientation and Training
Alex Callinicos - "Bonfires of Illusions: The Twin Crises of the Liberal World
LNFS presents Pariah
UK Theatre presents "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
Color Me Spring Fashion Show
Fri
26
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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Legacy Week: Leave Your Legacy
Arbor Day at The Arboretum
UK Theatre presents "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
Sat
27
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UK Theatre presents "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
UK Wind Symphony Concert
UK Symphony & Concert Band Concert
Sun
28
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Mon
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EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Politics in Mexico Today
Tue
30
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EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Relieving Stress Through Your Senses
Tree Identification Class 5
Massage on the Go #3
The Practicing Happiness Workbook - author presentation
Wed
 
 
 
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