Diversity Speaker to Focus on Creating Harmony



Jan. 17, 2007 –  Leon Williams, director of Intercultural Affairs at Buena Vista University in Iowa, will present “Shattered Dreams” at 7 p.m. Jan. 24 in Glenn Auditorium of Dempster Hall.

The “Passing the Torch of Unity” event is open to students, faculty and staff of Southeast Missouri State University, as well as members of the regional community.

Williams has an extraordinary way of taking the sensitive issues of race, diversity and multiculturalism and injecting them with humor, love and passion, said Keri Young, a member of the Martin Luther King Planning Committee at Southeast Missouri State University and coordinator of the event. Williams has developed a passion for creating harmony and a spirit of healing and cooperation in campus environments, where hostility and misunderstanding can dominate.

“Diversity has evolved into institutionalized separatism on every college campus,” Williams says. “We have to first establish brotherhood in order to surround ourselves with good neighborhoods.”

Williams will speak to students about issues of oppression, interracial dating, racism, discrimination, and black-on-black crime among others.

He presents special programs for Black History Month and Martin Luther King Day. He is involved in his community as a volunteer for a local food pantry, Habitat for Humanity, a teen theater group and the Special Olympics. He also has written and directed several plays, coordinated racism panels, and lectured in the History & Political Science Department at Ohio Northern University.

“My presentation philosophy is to challenge the audience to withdraw from physical laws of ethnicity to practice more laws of love,” Williams says.

Williams’ programs are interactive, involving the use of music, activities and audience discussion. He uses videos, drama and personal experience to get his message across.

For more information, please contact Keri Young at (573) 651-2881 or kdyoung@semo.edu.