Diversity | St. Louis Public Radio

Diversity

Danielle Lee, visiting assistant professor at SIUE and advocate on access in STEM fields, joined host Don Marsh to discuss diversity in the sciences.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

While there’s a rising growth in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs in the United States, there’s a dwindling number of Americans interested in and qualified for pursuing such careers. Animal behavioral scientist and Southern Illinois State University-Edwardsville visiting professor Danielle Lee wants to change that, particularly with populations traditionally underrepresented in those fields – women and minorities.

Sarah Sims, of the Missouri History Museum, and Nicole Ivy, of the American Alliance of Museums discussed how museums are changing to reflect diversity and inclusion on Thursday's St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Before Sarah Sims, the director of K-12 education programs at the Missouri History Museum, began her current job, she used to work in education. She remembers vividly a trip when she took her students to a local museum in which one student came up to her during the visit and told her how special the trip was. When she asked why, the student said “this is a mansion and this is the only time I get to come here.”

Visitors to the Contemporary Art Museum are now (Sept. 30, 2016) greeted by warning signs and a wall that went up in front of Kelley Walker's Direct Drive exhibit following criticism and outrage of the work.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The region’s arts attractions could be a little more crowded this week.

As many as 5,000 people are expected to attend the American Alliance of Museums annual meeting, which is being held in St. Louis this year. The event, which kicks off Sunday, is the country’s largest gathering of museum professionals. 

St. Louis area high school juniors Connor Ouchi (left) and Shawnee Boswell work on an exercise about making tough decisions during Youth Leadership St. Louis' Diversity Day on Sat., Feb. 18, 2017.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Clusters of St. Louis area teens dotted the atrium of the Nestle Purina headquarters on Saturday as the 70-odd students intently debated several mature issues that challenge many adults.

Racial diversity. Transgender identity. Religious tolerance. New Americans and immigrants. Despite taking on different topics, the groups had one thing in common: intense, but civil discussions.

Natalie Clay, a program coordinator at Bio STL, is managing a new collaborative focused on making the local startup community more inclusive to women and people of color.
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

Even though St. Louis’ tech startup scene is growing, it is not always the most inclusive environment for women and people of color. A group of 12 local nonprofits and government organizations want to change that. 

It's called the St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective. Members range from the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership to Arch Grants. Their goal is to help ensure women and men of color have equal access to everything an entrepreneur needs, from capital to business support services.  

A 2014 job fair hosted by the Urban League brought a big turnout to the St. Louis Community College Florissant Valley campus on Sept. 14, 2014.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Over the next two years St. Louis Community College will be undertaking a number of steps to better support students from diverse backgrounds, from a review of faculty representation to accommodations for parents.

Among the new initiatives included in this iteration of the college’s diversity plan are efforts to bring students from different campuses together, and a push for faculty to address race, class, gender and other issues in its curriculum.

University of Missouri system President Mike Middleton prepares to testify Wednesday before the Joint Committee on Education.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

With a new system president arriving in March and the diversity plan that was initiated days before his appointment in place, interim President Mike Middleton told the University of Missouri curators Friday the year since his appointment in the wake of protests at the Columbia campus had been productive.

“If you think about where we were last December and where we are today, we have much to be proud of collectively,” said Middleton. He was appointed to take charge of the four-campus system last November after former president Tim Wolfe was criticized for how he handled racial issues on the Columbia campus.

University of Missouri students protest a series of racist incidents on the Columbia campus in this photo from Nov. 9, 2015.
Bram Sable-Smith | KBIA

The University of Missouri should emphasize diversity in its recruitment, train professors in the importance of diversity in their courses and increase outreach to improve diversity among faculty and staff, a systemwide task force recommended on Wednesday.

Those proposals were among priority items included in the task force’s report. It was responding to a comprehensive audit of diversity, equity and inclusion practices at the university conducted by the consulting firm IBIS.

University of Missouri students protest a series of racist incidents on the Columbia campus in this photo from Nov. 9, 2015.
Bram Sable-Smith | KBIA

The University of Missouri is investigating a report by two black female students who said other students yelled racial slurs at them on its Columbia campus.

Edem and Pam Dzunu work in the Office of International Students and Scholars at Washington University.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

For Edem and Pam Dzunu, the desire to help others develop intercultural communication skills stems from personal experience.

In 2009, Edem, who is originally from Ghana, came to Missouri to meet his then-fiancé’s family for the first time. The couple was shaken when Pam’s family immediately rejected Edem and refused to even talk to him because of his racial and ethnic background.

Interim President Mike Middleton addresses the University of Missouri Board of Curators
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

The interim president of the University of Missouri system said that even as memories of last fall’s racial protests in Columbia persist, the school continues to perform valuable services for the state.

But the only African-American member of the university’s Board of Curators wants to make sure that the system’s new emphasis on diversity results in action, not just talk.

Interim President Mike Middleton addresses the University of Missouri Board of Curators
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Last fall, amid demonstrations in Columbia that ended the tenure of the University of Missouri’s president and the chancellor at Mizzou, the system became a national focus for campus problems about racial diversity and inclusion.

Now, the system’s interim president said Friday, it is becoming a model for the best way to work through those problems.

St. Louis County Library

A new local organization wants to get the conversation about race and racism started with a group you may not expect: young, white families in St. Louis. We Stories: Raising Big-Hearted Kids is using children’s literature to “create conversation, change and hope in St. Louis” with the aim of making St. Louis more inclusive.

In the early 1970s, Washington University had more African American students enrolled than ever before. They created a guide to help future black students navigate the university and St. Louis.
Courtesy Washington University Library

When Ralph Hargrow arrived at Washington University from his home in the East Coast in 1969, he was part of a growing group of black students on a campus going through the same kind of drastic change that was hitting the nation as a whole.

The previous December, a group of black students had confronted Chancellor Thomas Eliot in his office in stately Brookings Hall and presented demands that later came to be known as a “Black Manifesto.”

A large crowd gathers at the clocktower on the campus of Saint Louis University.
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

Saint Louis University is getting pushback over how long it is taking to meet diversity goals agreed to by President Fred Pestello and student protesters last year. 

John Gaal, director of training for the Carpenter's Regional Council, gives Charles McElroy a certificate for completing the BUD pre-apprenticeship program on Wed. Nov. 4, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

In October 2014, Corey Harris was unemployed and looking for work. Now he makes $33 an hour as an ironworker apprentice in St. Louis. He made the transition from out-of-work retail manager to a career in construction through a pre-apprenticeship program called Building Union Diversity, or BUD.

Harris graduated from the pilot session of BUD just before Thanksgiving 2014. He was indentured as an ironworker apprentice in December and started getting steady work in March 2015.

The Gender Unicorn graphic
Trans Student Educational Resources

As someone who has been disabled almost all her life, Amber Cheek knows how a seemingly kind word or helpful gesture from well-intentioned people can be subtly demeaning.

As the director of accessibility at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Cheek also knows that education and understanding can go a long way toward knowing the right words to say and bridging what she sees is often an information and generation gap.

St. Louis NAACP President Adolphus Pruitt says the Contractor Loan Fund is a potential game-changer for diversity in St. Louis construction at a news conference announcing the fund Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at Cortex.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Minority and women contractors who can’t get traditional loans to expand their business in St. Louis have a new resource at their disposal: the Contractors Loan Fund.

Certified minority and women-owned business enterprises will be able to apply for a loan of up to $1 million from the fund, which has a pool of $10 million.

The Missouri National Guard says it is focused on recruiting and retaining more minority soldiers so that its units more closely reflect the communities they serve.
Missouri Army National Guard Recruiting Office | Facebook

The Missouri National Guard reports it has diversified its ranks by 25 percent over the last year, even as some law enforcement agencies around the state have struggled to do so.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has put out a call for trooper applicants, while it acknowledges it has struggled to attract minority recruits. The agency's 99th recruit class graduated in December.
Courtesy Missouri Department of Public Safety, Flickr

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is trying some new tactics to attract more minority candidates as it opens the application process for its next recruit class.

Saint Louis University School of Law in downtown St. Louis
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Even as law schools nationally are suffering from waning enrollments, some are seeing a boost in the number of minority students. That’s according to a new study that will be in the spring edition of the Saint Louis University Law Journal.

Mayor Francis Slay announces an initiative to increase the diversity of the public safety department
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Updated at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 20 with approval of money.

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment approved $39,000 of the proposed $50,000 for the minority recruitment program. An additional $11,000 may be available next fiscal year. The city and the Ethical Society of Police must still sign a contract outlining the details.

The grant comes as the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department faces a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint over its promotion policies. The St. Louis Fire Department has faced several lawsuits over the same issue.

A few months after the jury announced George Zimmerman was not guilty in the Florida shooting death of Trayvon Martin, NBC News legal analyst Lisa Bloom published a book examining the case, “Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It.”

In “Suspicion Nation,” Bloom looks at what happened behind the scenes and why similar shootings continue to take place, including the August death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

Stephanie Lecci / St. Louis Public Radio

Amy Hunter and Reena Hajat want to help us communicate. They want to improve the dialogue between people of different races in the city.  

“I think [the unrest in Ferguson was] a long time coming,” said Hajat, executive director of the Diversity Awareness Partnership, which helps community organizations navigate difficult conversations about race, racism, marginalization and disempowerment. She said the city has not been communicating well about racial issues for decades.

Dean Benjamin Akande and Michelle Tucker
Provided by Webster University

As an aspiring English teacher during her undergraduate studies more than 20 years ago, Michelle Tucker’s ambition was to become a key leader within corporate America. Michelle’s aspirations led her to Webster University to pursue her graduate degree, which she completed in 2000. Michelle’s encounters with nurturing, farsighted professors at Webster University played a key role in refining her talents and maximizing her strengths in strategic planning, people management and employee development.

(via Flickr/OregonDOT)

Earlier this year the Corporation for Public Broadcasting awarded NPR a $1.5 million grant to launch a major journalism initiative to deepen coverage of race, ethnicity and culture, and to capture the issues that define an increasingly diverse America.

Used With Permission: Mary Schanuel

Taking advantage of our community’s diversity can be a challenge.  While people of different ethnicities, cultures, and ages are all around us we can often find ourselves on the outside looking in.  Host Don Marsh talks with guests about ways non-profit and arts organizations can engage new and underserved communities and improve their diversity.