Tibisay Hernandez, a diversity and inclusion team leader for the New York state Department of Civil Service’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion Management, will deliver the keynote address at the 12th annual Student Diversity conference on Saturday, Nov. 5, at SUNY Cortland.
Hernandez, with more than 15 years of curriculum development experience, will present “Afro-Latinx: Exploring Cultural Complexities in the Latinx Community” at 12:30 p.m. in the Corey Union Function Room.
The student-led conference, which brings together different voices from the local community and beyond, begins at 8 a.m., with all educational sessions and talks taking place in the Corey Union Function Room.
It’s a conference that promotes open-mindedness, celebrates diversity and promotes awareness of divergent views on campus and within the local community.
“The importance of this conference being student-led is that it provides an outlet for the next generation to be informative about social issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Sophia Zheng, who chairs the event committee, which also includes classmates Khyla Diggs and Sonya Concepcion.
“Due to recent events over the years, it has taken a toll on young adults with everything happening so fast in terms of social issues and nothing being done,” Zheng said. “The ones who are standing up for change now more than ever are the next generation of this country.”
This conference allows participants to conceive of problems and concepts, to share research and present to present their findings across a wide range of disciplines. Among the diversity-related topics discussed are race and ethnicity, class, gender, culture, sexuality or orientation, disabilities/abilities, religion and age.
“We want students to be challenged academically, learn, network, and have the ability to step outside of their comfort zones,” said Katrina Hodge, assistant director of the Multicultural Life and Diversity Office and conference advisor. “SUNY Cortland is a multicultural campus and we want to make sure that it is embraced by all. It is beneficial to the students that are leading this conference to take the initiative because they are expanding on their leadership skills, professional development, and having the ability to step out of their own comfort zone.”
Hernandez, who specializes in topics like implicit bias, anti-racism organizational development, critical conversations, social justice in social media, and intercultural communication skills. Following breakfast, welcoming remarks will be made by the student committee, Vice President for Student Affairs Greg Sharer and President Erik J. Bitterbaum, followed by the opening student speaker, senior Lawrence Bruce. Closing remarks will be given by Chief Diversity Officer Lorraine Lopez-Janove at 2:30 p.m.