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How do we talk about race? A dialogue series

MSU Denver Dialogues Program launches summer series to engage community in difficult conversations about race and justice.

By Cory Phare

June 8, 2020

Katia Campbell in classroomTo provide space for critical discourse about racial justice, Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Dialogues Program is launching “How Do We Talk About Race?” The series of conversations runs throughout the summer and kicks off June 12, with a livestream panel of Black scholars from across the University.

Session One: How Do We Talk About What’s Going On?

Overview: What is dialogue? What does it do? What are its limits?

Dialogue in practice: What’s happening now regarding George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, protests and more

June 12, 1-2:30 p.m.

Free and open to the public at

“Dialogue, if done properly, can give us the chance to understand perspectives which we might not have lived experience with and therefore are disinclined to believe” said Katia Campbell, Ph.D., associate professor of communication studies/Faculty Senate President and facilitator of the Dialogues Program (pictured). “It’s especially critical right now, because we’re not engaging in critial conversations – we’re spouting off opinions, and that’s not enough; it can actually be harmful to our entire democratic enterprise.”

Campbell, who developed the series as a response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, noted the importance of centering Black academics in the first session.

“This moment demands action, and we need to privilege Black voices because they’ve been co-opted in so many ways for political purposes,” she said. “Unfortunately, attention is on looting and ‘wrong’ ways to protest instead of addressing the underlying systemic racism and White supremacy that has led us here in the first place.”

The June 12 panel is free and open to the public; subsequent sessions in the series will be open to the campus community on a first-come, first-serve basis, with attendance capped to effectively facilitate dialogic interaction.

Panelists include:

Douglas Mpondi, Ph.D., chair, Africana Studies 

Rosemarie Allen, Ed.D., associate professor, Early Childhood Education

Michael Benitez, Ph.D., vice president for Diversity and Inclusion

Sean Rhodes, MSU Denver alumnus, racial justice educator and activist

Katia Campbell, Ph.D., associate professor, Communication Studies (moderator and participant) 

Campbell also noted the importance of continuing the effort as a sustained conversation.

“Often people care about issues in the moment, but if it doesn’t impact their day-to-day, something else eventually takes over,” she said. “And we’re starting now, but we’re not stopping at the end of the summer.

“Even when the media isn’t covering this anymore, the work doesn’t stop - it can’t stop.”

Topics: CADRE, Community, Diversity, Events, Inclusion, Respect, Save the date

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