UK Happenings

HDI, campus partners to host events featuring Lamar Hardwick

Lamar Hardwick is a pastor and autism advocate with a passion to continually contribute to the challenge of changing culture for the better.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 22, 2024) — Next week, the Human Development Institute (HDI) at the University of Kentucky, the UK Martin Luther King Center and the Disability Resource Center will host a discussion with pastor and autism advocate Lamar Hardwick.

“Exploring the Intersectionality of Ability, Race, & Religion” will take place at 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, in the Gatton Student Center Grand Ballroom. The event is open to the UK community. A free copy of his book, “How Ableism Fuels Racism,” will be available at the event (while supplies last).

The event is made possible by an Inclusive Excellence grant from the UK Office for Institutional Diversity. Nicholas Wright, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for HDI, and Maria Kemplin, disability resource specialist with HDI, were awarded the grant to support programs that are student-centric and foster collaboration through partnerships that address the importance of diverse views and cultures. 

“By gaining exposure and learning about intersectionality, we can address and dismantle systems of oppression to better support all students holistically,” Wright said. “Intersectionality is a framework for understanding how various social categories interact to create unique experiences of discrimination and privilege. Most people understand race is a concept of diversity, but ability has been historically omitted from this conversation and religion is another concept that is absent from conversations surrounding DEI. This award will be used to host educational events for all students, staff, faculty and community members to gain a better understanding of this multifaceted experience in diversity.”

At 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, HDI will host a follow-up book discussion on Hardwick’s novel via Zoom ( During this 60-minute book discussion, attendees will have the opportunity to have an engaging conversation gaining thoughts and reactions surrounding the book. The conversation will delve into the impact of ableism on shaping racial disparities and uncovering hidden layers that contribute to inequality. 

Learn more about the Inclusive Excellence Program here.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

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