2023 Diversity Week Celebrates Stories of Hope, Unity and Belonging

Lights at Fountain Ceremony
Campus Life

2023 Diversity Week Celebrates Stories of Hope, Unity and Belonging

September 15, 2023 | by Jasmine Simmons

Nashville Public Television and the Nashville Black Market will partner with the University for a community showing of the student documentary, Exit 207 

Belmont University is set to host its tenth annual Diversity Week Sept. 25-29. Diversity Week is an intentional time for the campus community to listen, learn and grow in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Programming will center around the theme “Celebrating (Our) Stories of Hope, Unity and Belonging.”  

The newly established Office of Hope, Unity and Belonging (The HUB) and the Events and Engagement Committee of the HUB Advisory Council coordinated planning for a week consisting of real talk sessions, film and documentary screenings, commemoration services and more. Several events sponsored by Belmont’s 22nd annual Humanities Symposium are included in the Diversity Week schedule, examining humor through diverse perspectives and traditions.  

“We are excited to host another Diversity Week on Belmont’s campus to continue fostering a space for engagement, conversation and programming that celebrates our stories of hope, unity and belonging,” Vice President of Hope, Unity and Belonging Dr. D’Angelo Taylor said. “We invite all to join us. There is much to celebrate and look forward to for Diversity Week and for our growing campus community.” 

Full details and times for the following abridged schedule can be found on the Diversity Week schedule.   

Monday, Sept. 25  

  • Rev. Racquel Gill will lead a chapel message to discuss the importance of thinking about who we are becoming.  
  • The Importance of DEI in Healthcare Seminar will highlight the need to be both culturally and socially aware of the world when working in the diverse field of healthcare.  
  • Creative Professionals Lecture Series (CPLS): Creando Oportunidades– Tom Carr and Carmen Miquel will provide examples of how they have created novel situations to the benefit of not only themselves, their team members and colleagues, but also to viewers and the broader community. 
  • A foreign language film and discussion will focus on “Cantiflas,” an ambitious biopic released in 2014 that relates the story of Mexican comedian, actor and filmmaker Mario Moreno Reyes, internationally known by his stage name Cantiflas.  

Tuesday, Sept. 26  

  • A panel of LGBTQ+ students will discuss the challenges of being a queer student, the importance of allyship in a question-and-answer session on how to be an LGBTQ+ ally.  
  • Dr. Chris Born will explore the Japanese comedic art of rakugo, considered to be one of earliest forms of contemporary comedy. Enjoying examples in Japanese and English, the audience will learn how Japanese rakugo artists have been entertaining audiences for centuries. (Humanities Symposium Event) 
  • Nashville Public Television (NT) will host several screenings of “Exit 207: The Soul of Nashville,” a 20-minute documentary telling the story of Jefferson Street in North Nashville that thrived during the Civil Rights Era and was deeply affected by the construction of Interstate 40. Today, Jefferson Street is fostering the future identity of Nashville’s Black community. Directed and produced by Belmont students, “Exit 207” is a collaborative, interdisciplinary project between Curb College, Global Honors, Belmont-Fisk Collaborative and others. Nashville Black Market vendors and food trucks will operate a pop-up market in the NPT parking lot, open to the public with the chance to get free mini-movie posters that can be signed by the film's cast.  

Wednesday, Sept. 27    

  • It Must Be Wednesday will showcase diversity and multicultural organizations at Freedom Plaza.  
  • Senior Pastor of Mt. Zion Nashville and International Presiding Bishop in the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, Bishop Joseph W, Walker III will share a message entitled “Good News for College Students” in Gabhart Chapel.  
  • In a talk, Dr. Fred Gardaphe will survey the contributions of Italian Americans to U.S. American humor in theater, literature, television and stand-up comedy. (Humanities Symposium Event) 
  • Global Bruin will facilitate an interactive workshop to discover how our normative assumptions can impact cross-cultural communication through the intercultural game BARGNA. 
  • Real Talk employee and student sessions   

Thursday, Sept. 28   

  • Benjamin B. Schwartz will explore ideas around humor and teaching in literature by African American teacher-authors such as Anna Julia Cooper, Ralph Ellison and Frances E.W. Harper to better understand how humor functions as a pedagogical tool that helps minoritized teachers and students to survive, thrive and fight injustice in the classroom. (Humanities Symposium Event) 
  • There will be a presentation about the customs and traditions of the Chinese Moon Festival, a.k.a. Mid-Autumn Festival, and opportunity to taste the popular moon cakes. 

Friday, Sept. 29  

  • Enjoy the Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month Celebration with community food trucks, a student-curated music playlist, the games Dominoes and Loteria and dance lessons provided by Luis Alejandro Rivera, director of Dance at the Global Education Center. 
  • Belmont’s Diverse Community of Faculty and Staff (BDCFS) will host its Family Reunion on campus at the recently opened Slim & Husky’s. 
  • The Lights at the Fountain ceremony takes a moment to read the known names of enslaved persons and light a candle to reflect on the multitude of untold stories. All are encouraged to attend Lights at the Foundation, a time annually set aside to recognize Freedom Plaza Fountain which honors the enslaved people who toiled on the original Belmont estate.  
  • Silent Sky, a ticketed event, will show multiple times from Friday, Sept. 29 – Sunday, Oct. 1 in the Black Box Theater. Silent Sky is the true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt that explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. 

About the Humanities Symposium 

The Humanities Symposium is an annual event hosted in Belmont’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Themed Humor and Humanities, this year’s symposium invites an exploration of the ways we use humor in all the many aspects of our lives as we seek to reflect, enjoy and better understand the humorous quality of human nature.  The 2023 Humanities Symposium Committee includes Drs. Francesca Muccini and Carla McDonough (co-chairs) and Dr. Mary Cunningham. 

For more information on the Humor and Humanity schedule, visit the Annual Humanities Symposium website.