Missouri State University
Diversity Blog

Sister Circle’s 2016 Black Girlz Rock Award

This year Sister Circle will be hosting their 1st annual “Black Girlz Rock”, an award ceremony that will take the time to put a spotlight on 9 beautiful black queens that exemplify the essence of being strong and impactful. We are taking the opportunity to uplift those beautiful black women of Missouri State University and in the surrounding Ozark Area that are leaving a positive imprint on the people around them. “Black Girlz Rock is modeled after the popular Black Girls Rock award show that was introduced on BET in 2010. Black Girlz Rock will be held on May 01, 2016 at 5:30pm in the Missouri State’s Plaster Student Union Theatre, doors will open at 5:15pm. More details will come as we approach our award show date.

Award nomination packet



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Upcoming Events: African American Heritage Month


Missouri State Univeristy

African American Heritage Month
Step Up, Stand Up, Stay Up

FEB. 3 & 7 SAC Films presents Selma, 9pm, PSU Theater.

FEB. 8-13 Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Week

FEB. 8 Is It Drama or Trauma? Challenges & Impact of Oppression and Racism on People of Color, 4- 5:30pm, PSU 315

FEB. 8 SAC Presents: Black Lives Matter v. All Lives Matter Discussion, 7pm, PSU Theater

FEB. 9 Dr. Juanita Simmons Plenary Session: True Diversity, 2pm, GLAS 102

FEB. 9 Dr. Juanita Simmons Plenary Session: Race in the United States: Is it better or worse, 7pm, HILL 001

FEB. 9 Shattering the Silences: MSU Theatre & Dance presents Dutchman, 6pm, PSU Theater

FEB. 11 African American Studies Lecture: Contain, Crush & Incorporate – A Historical View of Policing the African American Community, by Dr. Sundiata Cha-Jua, University of Illinois-Urbana. 2-4pm, Meyer 101

FEB. 12 First Friday African-American Trivia, 7pm, Q Enotec $5 per person. Benefits the NAACP Youth Scholarship fund

FEB. 16-20 Association of Black Collegians Heritage Week

FEB. 19 Jazz Musician Chris Burnett, 8pm, at Q Enoteca, (308 W Commercial Street)

FEB. 20 TRiO/MRC MLK Day of Service, 9am-1pm – Sign Up Required

FEB. 24 SAC Presents: Amandla Stenberg “Cultural Appropriation,” 7pm, PSU Theater

FEB. 26 Heroes of the Struggle: Big Momma’s Back Porch Theatre, 7pm, Big Momma’s, (217 E Commercial Street)

FEB. 27 Stories of Diversity, 8pm, Q Enoteca (308 W Commercial Street)

FEB. 29 Shattering the Silence:Not Your Mascot, Not Your Subject Matter: Indigenous Identity and Knowledge in the Academy, Panel Forum, 5-7pm, Meyer 101

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the Disability Resource Center, Meyer Library, Suite 111, 417-836-4192, 417-836-6792 TTY, www.missouristate.edu/disability.

For more information, contact the Oce of Multicultural Programs at 836-5652 or email DHoelyfield@MissouriState.edu

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African American Studies Speaker Series: Contain, Crush & Incorporate


African American Studies Speaker Series
Contain, Crush & Incorporate: A Historical View of Policing the African American Community

Dr. Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua teaches in the departments of African American Studies and History at the University of Illinois. He does research on black community formation, racial violence and African American social movements.

He is the author of America’s First Black Town: Brooklyn, Illinois, 1830-1915, and co-editor of Race Struggles, Cha-Jua writes RealTalk: A Black Perspective, a bi-weekly column for the News-Gazette. He trains police recruits in multicultural competence at the University of Illinois Police Training Institute.

Thursday, February 11, 2016
Meyer Lib 101 2:00-4:00 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public

For additional information, contact Dr. Jamaine Abidogun at jamaineabidogun@missouristate.edu or 417-836-5916

Sponsors for this event:
African American Studies Committee
College of Humanities and Public Affairs
College of Arts and Letters
Anthropology & Sociology Department
Political Science Department
History Department
Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning
Division for Diversity and Inclusion

Those with disabilities who may not be able to fully participate due to the design of the program may request an accommodation by contacting in advance: Ashley Raines, Division for Diversity and Inclusion at (417) 836-3736 or Jamaine Abidogun, Diversity Fellow at (417) 836-5916.

Missouri State University adheres to a strict nondiscrimination policy and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, disability or veteran status in any program or activity offered or sponsored by the University. In addition, the University does not discriminate on any basis (including, but not limited to, political affiliation and sexual orientation) not related to the applicable educational requirements for students or the applicable job requirements for employees.

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African American Heritage Month

Missouri State University is hosting African-American Heritage Month ranging from events that combine activism, culture, philanthropy, and creative arts.  Join us as our campus and Springfield community come together to celebrate African and African American culture!  History month events are open to the public.  We hope to see you all there!  Contact the Office of Multicultural Programs at 417.836.5652 or email DHoelyfield@MissouriState.edu for more information.


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Untamed Tongues poetry slam


Untamed Tongues & Urbarts present

New Year’s Revolution Poetry Slam

Friday, January 22
Carrington Hall, room 208
Missouri State University
901 S National
Springfield, MO 65897

7:00 p.m. – $5 admission

Featuring Fayetteville Word Warriors, Pound Slam (KC), Urbslam Saint Louis, Slam Ulit (KC)

For more information: Twitter.com/untamedtongues or urbarts.org


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Shattering the silences: Dutchman


A play by Amiri Baraka
Directed by Darryl Clark

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
PSU Theater
6:00 PM-9:30PM

A powerful one-act drama, Dutchman by Amiri Baraka. The play is a searing two-character confrontation that begins playfully but builds rapidly in suspense and symbolic resonance. Written in the 1960s, it continues to reflect the turbulence of race and gender relations in the United States.

–Dutchman “is about how difficult it is to become a man in the United States.” – Amiri Baraka

This event is free and open to the public.
Light refreshments will be served.

For additional information, contact Dr. Jamaine Abidogun at jamaineabidogun@missouristate.edu or (417) 836-5916.

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New diversity leadership

You’re invited

Please join us for a community reception at the Davis-Harrington Welcome Center 5-6:30 p.m. Jan. 19.

Welcome Center

Welcome to the diversity and inclusion corner. We are H. Wes Pratt, recently named assistant to the president and chief diversity officer, and Dr. O. Gilbert Brown, recently named associate provost for diversity.

As the new leaders guiding efforts at Missouri State in diversity and inclusion, we’d like to answer a few questions you might have, as well as provide more details on what each of us will be focusing on over the upcoming 18 months.

Why are there two of us replacing one person?

It was important to President Smart and the University that we maintain the current momentum of diversity and inclusion and recognize we have even more substantive things to accomplish to benefit students, faculty and staff when it comes to improving access and success, curricula, student development and campus climate.

Wes’s experience is more focused on administration and external relations, so he will be picking up responsibility for current and future initiatives currently managed within the division of diversity and inclusion.

Dr. Gilbert Brown
Dr. Gilbert Brown

Dr. Brown’s experience and focus is in the academic area. Increasing the hiring and retention of diverse faculty is a very important element of the University diversity plan, so it seemed appropriate to increase the resources devoted to this. Working with Dean Hough, Dr. Brown has achieved success with diverse hires and retention in the College of Education. We want to leverage that experience and success in other colleges across campus. Dr. Brown will continue with many of his current responsibilities in the College of Education along with the additional ones associated with his new role.

Ideally, the next vice president for diversity and inclusion will manage both of these areas, but for now we are sharing these responsibilities.

Wes Pratt
Wes Pratt

What initiatives will Wes be managing?

Wes’s immediate focus is on the 2016 Statewide Collaborative Diversity Conference scheduled for March 16-18. In addition to that he will lead the wrap up of the campus and community climate study project. He will also work to expand affinity groups on campus and maintain the Shattering the Silence series and Giving Voice, a theatre organization that strives to represent the challenges of underrepresented, marginalized and oppressed persons. He will also continue to represent the University in organizations across the community.

What does it mean to increase and retain academic diverse hires? How is that different from any other hiring we do on campus?

The lack of racial/ethnic diversity in Springfield is more pronounced than in the rest of the country. According to the Lumina Foundation, Springfield’s 2013 population was 87 percent white (66 percent nationwide), 4 percent black (13 percent nationwide), 2 percent Asian (5 percent nationwide), and 4 percent Hispanic (16 percent nationwide).

It’s important that we demonstrate our commitment to diversity on campus and in the community by helping new hires from historically under-represented groups connect in ways that are meaningful by feeling welcomed instead of feeling marginalized from a diversity perspective. Research has shown that diversity is value-added to the education process as it increases the cognitive effectiveness of all students.

Dr. Sabrina Brinson
Dr. Sabrina Brinson

We have already made progress in this effort through the faculty-mentoring program developed by Dr. Sabrina Brinson in the College of Education. This includes partnering with faculty to expand the pool of candidates for appointment to tenure track positions and working closely with them to create strong mentor and mentee teams, which support the new faculty member through tenure and promotion.

Both of us will be working closely with President Smart, Provost Einhellig and the newly created President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion to further institutionalize the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence for campus and community stakeholders.

We are certain there are more questions. Send an email to WPratt@MissouriState.edu and/or GilbertBrown@MissouriState.edu. We’ll be pleased to hear from you and happy to respond.

You can also join us this evening at the Davis-Harrington Welcome Center from 5-6:30 p.m.

We look forward to helping the University further develop and reach its diversity goals.

Wes Pratt, newly appointed assistant to the president and chief diversity officer
Dr. Gilbert Brown, newly appointed associate provost for diversity.


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Real Men Consortium

RCM ImageThe DDI is again moving forward with a community collaborative sure to provide invaluable services to underrepresented men throughout Southwest Missouri. The collaborative is The Real Men Consortium (RMC) and is designed to facilitate diversity for the common good of our community. The RMC will serve the underrepresented male segment of our community by providing a web-based clearinghouse of resources, programs, and services for all facets of employment, education, fatherhood, community service and relationships. The RMC is one of six recent diversity initiatives launched by/through the DDI and currently includes eight partners and a resource library. The RMC is expected to grow to fifteen partners and include such entities as Workforce Development and the Greater Springfield Race and Faith Collaborative.

Great things are being planned for the RMC! Expect a press release in January announcing a “blockbuster” kick-off event in March, 2016. In the meantime, the DDI will be building the RMC clearinghouse website, gathering up resources, and building momentum for its kick-off benefit. Watch for more! Take a sneak peek at the current website by going to http://diversity.missouristate.edu/254924.htm. Also, find Real Men Consortium on Facebook.
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