McConnell Scholars lead 2015 Collegiate Youth Rights Conference
McConnell Scholars Diana Lalata, Jason Jewell, and Landon Lauder will head the University of Louisville's 2015 Collegiate Youth Rights Conference on April 11. The event will feature R. Prohpet from the rap group Nappy Roots, Chris Hartman, the director of the Fairness Campaign, and Aaisha Hamid, a current UofL student and published author of “Faceless: Two World Collide”. The speakers will help lead several diversity training and reflection activities that discuss the importance of race, religion and sexuality.
According to Lalata, conference director, the event was designed to unite college students across cultural barriers and to spark important dialogue among the participants that will encourage empowered, social-justice focused leadership on campus. It also aims to make students understand what they can do to help recognize and reduce injustices around campus and in the larger community.
Jewell and Lauder direct the race and sexuality sections of the conference, respectively.
“I really stressed the importance of focusing on sexual and gender identity since it seems on this campus there is an understanding of the marriage initiative but very limited discussion on such issues of gender and sexual identity discrimination,” Lauder said. “I wanted to make sure that students realize marriage is only a small part of a larger societal malaise we face in the Commonwealth and across the United States in regards to LGBTQ equality.”
“The importance of social justice work is as prevalent now as it has ever been and there has been a lack of involvement, outside of the major tragedies in the last few years,” said Jewell. “We felt it was our part to push students across our campus to grow and learn more about the issues affecting so many of us.”
Lalata studies English and political science at UofL. She is a 2013 graduate of Southern High School in Louisville, Ky.
Jewell studies political science and economics and is a 2013 graduate of Central High School in Louisville, Ky.
Lauder is pursuing majors in political science and psychology. He graduated from Russell Independent High School in 2013 in Russell, Ky.
By Chloe Zoeller, a 2016 McConnell Scholar.