August 25, 2020

‘Pursuing Racial Justice Together’ series announced for Fall 2020 semester

Virtual discussion and learning series to bring together thought, academic and cultural leaders

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. —Purdue University’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion is presenting “Pursuing Racial Justice Together,” an ongoing series of virtual discussions with thought leaders, experts and visionaries over the course of the coming 2020-21 academic year.

Purdue strives to raise consciousness of issues related to race and racism through the series, the discourse it inspires on campus and the continuing work that comes from it. The goal is to present the campus community with multiple entrance paths to the work each person can do to help build a more equitable world.

“‘Pursuing Racial Justice Together’ is the continuation of a discussion we started earlier this year with the successful ‘Democracy, Civility and Freedom of Expression’ series,” said John Gates, vice provost for diversity and inclusion. “By bringing together various experts and leaders and using technology, we can talk about the issues and wrestle with the thoughts, conversations and topics even while we are in the middle of a global pandemic. We can engage more people as the pursuit and conversations on and around racial justice do not stop.”  

Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” will be the featured guest on the opening event of the series at 7 p.m. Sept. 2.

Kendi will participate in a conversation moderated by John Gates. He will discuss the central themes of his work, including his definitions of “racism” and “anti-racism,” as well as the advice he gives for moving from goodness to action on issues of racial equity.

Kendi is known as one of America’s foremost historians and leading anti-racist voices. His book “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2016. Kendi is founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News contributor.

Kendi’s presentation and all other programs for “Pursuing Racial Justice Together” are free and will be held virtually. There are more than 14 events in the series this fall, with speakers for spring to be announced later this semester. Speakers, topics and dates are subject to change. For information on the fall series schedule, to sign up for email updates and to RSVP for free tickets, visit the “Pursuing Racial Justice Together” website.

Additional upcoming events for “Pursuing Racial Justice Together” include:

  • Ben Crump, civil rights attorney and lead attorney for the family of George Floyd: 7 p.m. Sept. 10.
  • Hispanic Heritage Month Keynote Speakers, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16: Dolores Huerta, labor and civil rights organizer; Julián Castro, politician and former secretary of housing and urban development; and Maria Hinojosa, journalist, anchor and executive producer.
  • Patrisse Cullors, artist, author and co-founder of Black Lives Matter: 7 p.m. Sept. 24.
  • Rebecca Nagle, writer, activist and host of “This Land podcast”: 7 p.m. Oct. 6.
  • Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, sociologist, author of “Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America:” 7 p.m. Oct. 7.
  • UNH PowerPlay Bias Awareness & Intervention, an interactive seminar on bias intervention featuring an applied theatre troupe, multiple sessions, Oct. 21-23.
  • “Democracy in Black: A Panel Discussion” at 7 p.m. Oct. 27: Michele Norris (host), journalist, author and former NPR host; Eddie Glaude Jr., religious scholar and author of “Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul;” Soledad O’Brien, journalist and executive producer; and Tara Setmayer, political commentator and former congressional communications director.
  • Bryan Terrell Clark, actor, singer, and songwriter who recently played the role of George Washington in “Hamilton: An American Musical”: 7 p.m. Nov. 10.
  • A Virtual Seminar with Mahzarin Banaji, experimental psychologist and co-author “Blindspot—The Hidden Biases of Good People”: 7 p.m. Nov. 11.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at

Writer, Media contact: Matthew Oates, 765-586-7496 (cell),, @mo_oates 

Sources: John Gates,

Kate Walker,  

Journalists visiting campus: Journalists should follow Protect Purdue protocols and the following guidelines:

  • Campus is open, but the number of people in spaces may be limited. We will be as accommodating as possible, but you may be asked to step out or report from another location.
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Note to Journalists: For images of speakers and other media inquiries, visit the press website for the series at

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