HHMI Inclusive Excellence
Mount Mary University will create and implement strategies for decreasing educational barriers for underrepresented students through a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Inclusive (HHMI) Excellence Initiative.
Participating in this grant will put Mount Mary at the forefront of national efforts to create intentional, institutional change, said Lynn Diener, Ph.D., Chair of the Sciences Department and Program Director of the grant. The university will participate in HHMI-sponsored research on the topic of inclusion and institutional change.
Events supported by the HHMI Grant
Dr. Robert S. Smith & Adam Carr: Campus comes together to remember Milwaukee’s forgotten civil rights history
The first presentation in a series aimed at reducing barriers to education and promoting inclusivity on campus took place on February 1, 2019. More than 100 attendees participated in a conversation about Milwaukee’s 1967 open housing marches, and how the marches led to eventual passing of the federal fair housing policy.
Deanna Singh: Shifting Power through Diversity & Inclusion Techniques from a Woman of Color
On April 10, 2019, Mount Mary University welcomed Deanna Singh for an enlightening conversation around purpose and how leaders can disrupt cultural norms to help create change. Deanna Singh is recognized as a leading authority in building innovative opportunities within underserved communities.
As Chief Change Agent and Founder of Flying Elephant, Deanna is a highly respected thought leader, who has spent almost 20 years researching, designing and building asset-based solutions to complex social challenges. Today she travels the world inspiring and educating audiences.
Differences in race, gender, religion, sexuality, are often used to reinforce power imbalances. As a senior-level corporate executive, Deanna Singh a woman of color with a JD and MBA, was told that in order for her work to be taken seriously, she needed to “bring a white man with her” to her presentations. She was appalled and shocked by this infuriating statement, but surprisingly she was also grateful for the honesty.
Ultimately, she decided to flip that statement on its head and turn it into the title of her forthcoming book, Bring Your White Man with You. During this session, Deanna will provide a few key techniques that leaders can employ to disrupt the cultural norms that make these “bring your white man with you” sentiments so commonplace and to help create the change that we all need to thrive.
Long Time Coming: A 1955 Baseball Story Film Screening
On April 25, 2019, Mount Mary University held a screening and panel discussion of the documentary “Long Time Coming,” which touches on the themes of race, equality, forgiveness and healing. It tells the story of a baseball game between two teams of 12-year-old boys in 1955, which was called “an act of cultural defiance that would change the course of history.”
Hmong in Milwaukee: History, Identity, and Placemaking in Urban America
On May 2, 2019, Mount Mary welcomed Dr. Chia Youyee Vang. Dr. Chia Youyee Vang is a full professor of history and Associate Vice Chancellor in the Division of Global Inclusion and Engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her teaching and research interests include the Cold War in Asia, Asian American history, refugee migration and transnational and diasporic communities. She is author of Hmong America: Reconstructing Community in Diaspora (University of Illinois Press, 2010) and Fly Until You Die: An Oral History of Hmong Pilots in the Vietnam War (Oxford University Press, 2019). In 2016, she co-edited Claiming Place: On the Agency of Hmong Women (University of Minnesota Press).
Holocaust Stories Featuring Howard Melton
In October 2019, Howard Melton, a local Holocaust survivor, was interviewed by Ben Merens to share his harrowing story of loss, determination, and survival with the Mount Mary community. His mother and sisters were killed, and only he and his father survived. When asked how he was able to survive, Melton replied, “I don't know why I survived. I wanted to see the end of Hitler. I wanted to see the end of the war.” And he holds no hatred in his heart, reminding us to choose kindness over hatred and to “treat people the way you want to be treated.”
*Co-Sponsored by The Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center (HERC).
The Historical and Sociopolitical Context of Latinx Milwaukee
In November 2019, we welcomed Joseph A. Rodriguez, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of History and Urban Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for a discussion on the historical and sociopolitical context of Latinx Milwaukee.