At a time when politics have been especially rancorous and divisions among people seem increasingly sharp, open discussions in respectful environments are particularly important – and needed. On Feb. 1, beginning at 5:30 p.m., DMU will host such an event in collaboration with several community partners.
The Forum on Protecting Arab, Muslim, Sikh and South Asian Communities and Responding to Hate and Bias Crimes, free and open to the public, will bring together leaders of diverse community, faith-based and nonprofit organizations in central Iowa to discuss challenges facing their groups and the occurrence of bigotry and hate crimes in our communities. Resources for the community in the aftermath of hate will be promoted as well.
“The forum is aimed at providing education, awareness, valuable resources and time for participants to engage in civil discourse,” says Rich Salas, Ph.D., director of multicultural affairs and assistant professor in the department of behavioral medicine, medical humanities and bioethics at DMU. “As we continue with our commitment to inclusivity and respect for differences, this forum will benefit our students, faculty and staff as well leaders in the larger community in many positive ways.”
Other entities involved in planning the forum are the Des Moines Human Rights Commission, Department of Justice, the Iowa Department of Human Rights and the Anti-Defamation League Plains States Region. The event will take place in the Olsen Center on the DMU campus.