January 29, 2019

Bridging the Divide

Thought leaders speak out at UMass Amherst

On February 5th, a daylong free public symposium in the Campus Center will address “Understanding the Forces That Drive Us Apart.” Through authoritative speakers and engaging breakout sessions, the symposium will help community members understand the dynamics of political and social polarization and hatred within the present moment, and within the context of U.S. history.

Presented by the UMass Office of Equity and Inclusion, the symposium brings prominent thought leaders to campus, including Lecia Brooks of the Southern Poverty Law Center; Jelani Cobb, the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University; and Daniel Ziblatt, co-author of the New York Times bestseller How Democracies Die.

Discussions and sessions will address the structures of polarization and ways of using dialogue to bridge political divides.

“Our goal through this event is to provide a means for students, staff, and faculty to engage thoughtfully, and to understand the motivations for acts of hate and the underlying causes for the social and political polarization we are facing today,” says Enobong (Anna) Branch, UMass associate chancellor for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. “As an educational institution, we strive to equip our community with a historical and contextual understanding of hate, which will provide us with the tools to stand united and fight against it.”

The symposium is open to the public. It is not required to attend every event: attendees are encouraged to attend any session which interests them and to participate fully.

Please view the full agenda of events at https://www.umass.edu/diversity/understanding-forces-drive-us-apart.