Kaiyln Hayes, chair of the Students of Color Symposium

Get in ‘good trouble’ at the Students of Color Symposium

By Ashley A. Williams

Get in ‘good trouble’ at the Students of Color Symposium

By Ashley A. Williams
The annual educational initiative goes virtual this year to support the ongoing diversity efforts at the University of Miami. Commentator Ana Navarro will be the keynote speaker, and she will share her expertise and insight about navigating the political justice realm.

Nearly one year after the death of Rep. John Lewis, students at the University of Miami are keeping the civil rights leader and politician’s legacy alive. To deepen the understanding of diversity, multiculturalism, ethical leadership, and social responsibility associated with living in a global society, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) is hosting its annual Students of Color Symposium (SOCS) on Friday and Saturday, March 5-6.  

The event’s theme is “Good Trouble,” a phrase coined by Lewis, because it reminds the organizers that “creating friction in society is needed to make change against social injustice,” said Kailyn Hayes, SOCS chair and a sophomore studying neuroscience. 

Hayes and committee members Bao Duong, Ashley Phillips, Kelsey Walker, Geethika Kataru, Arielle Swilley, and Mya Osibogun are greatly anticipating informing students about the ongoing initiatives taking place on the Coral Gables Campus. The committee hopes to encourage their peers of all ethic and cultural backgrounds to become champions of social justice movements on and beyond campus through education, action, and service.  

“It's so important to learn about the different things that other people go through, especially your peers who you are going to class with every day,” said Hayes. “This event is definitely open to all students and is a great opportunity for all to learn more about others outside of their own community.” 

The two-day virtual symposium begins 6 p.m. Friday and will include opening remarks from University President Julio Frenk; Patricia A. Whitely, senior vice president of Student Affairs; and Renee Dickens Callan, executive director of Student Life.

Following the opening remarks and a Black Awareness Month presentation by Landon Coles, president of United Black Students, Ana Navarro, GOP strategist, CNN political analyst, and co-host of ABC’s “The View,” will address the audience. 

“It is so amazing that we have Ana Navarro as our speaker because of the intersectionality of her identity,” said Hayes. “From being a Nicaraguan American to a woman in the political industry working for some of the top media outlets, these aspects of her identity will provide some invaluable insight and advice about navigating that industry and how to advocate for political justice, especially as a woman. That’s what her talk will focus on—political justice, her career experience, her personal experience, and more.”

On Saturday, the SOCS will offer interactive breakout sessions that will allow students and faculty and staff members a chance to engage in discourse about issues that affect the educational, personal, and professional growth of students.

“Students will be provided intentional spaces to engage in immersive social justice activities that currently impact our most underrepresented communities,” said Christopher Clarke, director of Multicultural Student Affairs

The first session will be an Interfaith and Racial Equality Panel led by Reverend Jennifer Bailey of the Faith Matters Network.

Later in the day, students will have a chance to learn more about privilege as they play Factuality the Game 2.0, a simulated game that unpacks the structural limitations and advantages that coincide with intersecting identities in the United States. They also will  hear from campus representatives and leaders from the School of Law and the Toppel Career Center. 

This year’s symposium is funded by the Office of the President, as part of Frenk’s 15-point plan to improve and build upon diversity and inclusion in pursuit of racial justice.

Hayes encourages all students to attend and reminds them that “this is an event where everybody is invited to learn.”

Kennedy Robinson, assistant director of Multicultural Student Affairs said, “The committee has worked super hard to dream out and execute this year’s SOCS. President Frenk’s funding has helped tremendously. We are truly grateful to be able to have the university support such a meaningful program.” 

Click here to register and to learn more about the Students of Color Symposium.