Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

City of Valparaiso and VU tell plans for race diversity summit

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Valparaiso University and the City of Valparaiso announced plans on Wednesday for a joint summit intended to encourage public discussion about diversity and race relations and how to foster a more inclusive community.

Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas and University President Mark A. Heckler issued the following joint statement regarding the summit:

“The City of Valparaiso and Valparaiso University stand united against acts of racism that continue to occur within our community. We live together in a diverse world and our future success requires that Valparaiso be a community with a culture of inclusivity that embraces the individuals of many and varied faiths, nationalities, races, beliefs and backgrounds who come here to work, live and learn. We must speak out when we see intolerance and hate in our community. We must understand that our strength as a community lies in our diversity.

“We call this summit today to focus attention on the continuing dialogue that our community must engage in regarding diversity and race relations. The summit will strengthen ongoing initiatives supported by the city and university to ensure that our citizens and students respect and honor diversity in all its forms. Each one of us must enter into conversations with our neighbors who are different from ourselves, and in so doing learn that despite our differences, we have much more in common. We call on all members of this community to help make Valparaiso a more welcoming and inclusive place each and every day, working together for the betterment of all.”

A task force will be appointed by Costas and Heckler within the next week to plan the summit. The task force will include members of the city’s Human Relations Council, the university’s Diversity Concerns Committee, and the Valparaiso Diversity Network Association.

Costas and Heckler noted that schools, churches, businesses, nonprofits and other community organizations also will be engaged in preparations for the summit, which will be open to all community members.

Members of the Valparaiso community interested in joining ongoing conversations about diversity and race relations should contact Lori Good, the mayor’s executive assistant, at (219) 462-1161, or Dr. Renu Juneja, associate provost at Valparaiso University, at (219) 464-6880.


Posted 4/29/2010




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