Diversity & Inclusion | St. Louis Public Radio

Diversity & Inclusion

From left, Michele Norris, Aisha Sultan and Colleen Starkloff will joined host Sarah Fenske live during Wednesday's show.
Images courtesy Michele Norris, Eddie Hafiz and the Starkloff Disability Institute

Increasingly more companies, organizations and governmental entities are establishing formal units focused on diversity and inclusion — the St. Louis County Police Department is one recent example in the bi-state region. But even as awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion grows, it can sometimes seem like something that all too often gets stuck at the level of lip service rather than leading to real change.

Webster University is aiming to move the needle “From Conversation to Action” over the course of its four-day Diversity & Inclusion Conference set for Feb. 24-27. All of the sessions are free and open to the public, with journalist and former NPR host Michele Norris, founder of The Race Card Project, giving the keynote address.

As the National Park Service's Regional Program Manager for Relevancy, Diversity, and Inclusion, Nichole McHenry's plan is to make all national parks and sites inclusive and diverse.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As a child, Nichole McHenry envisioned herself broadcasting the news, just like famed St. Louis anchor Robin Smith.

Although her dreams of becoming a reporter did not come to fruition, she found a different way to tell stories.

For the past 28 years, McHenry has been sharing the stories of national parks and other connected sites for the National Park Service. McHenry began working full time with the park service right after graduating from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. 

St. Louis police Sgt. Heather Taylor is president of the Ethical Society of Police.
Heather Taylor

In mid-December, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page touted his police department’s promotion of Keith Wildhaber as a key step toward thoughtful change within the department. The news that Wildhaber will lead a new diversity and inclusion unit came in the wake of a $20 million verdict in Wildhaber’s favor — after a jury agreed that county police had discriminated against the gay officer because of his sexual orientation.

But the Ethical Society of Police, which represents many black officers in the St. Louis region, soon put out a statement that was significantly less enthusiastic.

The Institute in Critical Quantitative, Computational, and Mixed Methodologies will launch in 2020. The program will train up to 75 researchers of color in data science methods.
Washington University | Flickr

Washington University is spearheading a new effort to diversify the field of data science.

Beginning in 2020, the university will train faculty and grad students from across the country in how to use data science tools and methods. The three-year program will focus specifically on recruiting underrepresented minorities, including Latino, indigeneous and black scholars. 

(February 01, 2019) Dr. Ashley Denmark discussed her path to becoming a physician and her goal to inspire minority youth and normalize their success.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Ashley Denmark is a family-medicine physician with BJC Healthcare. A black woman, she grew up in Jennings, Missouri, and at an early point in her life, her ambition to become a doctor sometimes felt out of reach. 

“I wasn't always given the enriching opportunity sometimes, but I overcame that, and I am here today sitting before you as Dr. Denmark,” she told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. The physician joined Friday’s program to discuss the road to her career and why she returned to St. Louis in an effort to inspire minority children to follow their dream careers and “normalize success.”

An illustration of a group of four people sitting around a table.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The messages about the need for diversity in our neighborhoods, region and workplaces keep coming, and they are important.

So I was glad to hear them last week during a day-long seminar on diversity and inclusion sponsored by Ameren at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

I had hoped that the program would include deep conversations that challenged me to question assumptions. I wanted a reminder that my position in the world as a white woman from an upper-middle class family means that I am inherently blind to the experiences and realities of people who aren’t like me.

I need that reminder, as a resident of long-segregated and unequal St. Louis, and as the executive editor at St. Louis Public Radio, an imperfect institution that is trying to include more voices on its staff and in its work (an effort equally important to NPR).

Incoming Rep artistic director Hana Sharif will spend a year shadowing retiring director Steve Woolf and connecting with various communities.
The Rep

The incoming artistic director of Repertory Theatre of St. Louis believes that growing audiences involves much more than simply issuing one-time invitations.

Director, playwright and producer Hana Sharif will spend a year getting to know the area and The Rep before stepping into the post after longtime artistic director Steven Woolf retires in 2019. She comes to St. Louis from Baltimore Center Stage, where she worked as associate artistic director.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Nancy Fowler talked with Sharif about the work ahead and the experience she’ll bring to The Rep.

Left, Richard Quinn and Alicia Corder spoke with host Don Marsh about the FBI’s efforts to diversify its agents on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis on the Air

While attending Indiana State to become a surgeon, Alicia Corder took a criminal justice class and her entire life plan changed.

“It’s not anything I had considered before,” she said describing a time she heard from an FBI agent about their work. “But there was something about the way he spoke about the people he worked with and the mission he served, and his passion and dedication to it that I was absolutely struck by it. And the next week, I went and changed my major and ended up going to law school and geared everything after that to becoming an agent.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 8, 2010 - Fernando Cutz, Chase Sackett and Jamie James aren't from St. Louis.

But like thousands of other students from around the country and the world, the three came here to get their university education. At Washington University, where Cutz and Sackett graduated in May, and at St. Louis University, where James has one more semester, the three students from different states and different backgrounds found the same thing -- a bubble.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 14, 2009 - Denise DeCou knows the danger when health-care providers fail to communicate effectively with their patients. DeCou, executive director of the National Conference for Community and Justice in St. Louis, tells of a licensed practical nurse serving in a Hispanic community here who spoke a bit of Spanish. She wasn't fluent, but she thought she knew enough to explain the dosage requirements for a medication. But instead of saying "take once a day," she said take "once (11, in spanish) times a day."