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Critical Conversations is a campus-wide civic forum series that provides a platform for civil discourse. The goal is to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community by using education and civil discourse as tools to encourage and empower UAB and its surrounding communities to engage, collaborate, and create solutions to social issues affecting our communities.



  • Sharing and Reconciling with Difficult Histories

    Sharing and Reconciling with Difficult Histories

    The forum, "Sharing and Reconciling With Difficult Histories," will take place on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 6:00 PM in Heritage Hall, Room 102. The event is free and open to the public. The conversation will focus on the many U.S. histories that remain difficult to address and the stark reminders, from current events, of the consequences of leaving difficult histories under-examined. A panel of experts will join together to discuss "What makes difficult history so difficult?" and "How do we teach and share difficult histories without reinforcing ethnic, religious and cultural divisions on the one hand, or undermining social cohesion on the other?"
  • Between Charity and Social Justice: Community Engagement Among Churches and Faith-based Communities - Part II

    The forum, "Between Charity and Social Justice: Community Engagement Activists Among Faith-Based Communities - Part II," will take place on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 6:00 PM in Heritage Hall, Room 102. The event is free and open to the public. The conversation will focus on the opportunities and desires of individuals and groups to turn to churches and other faith-based communities as a safe space and source for comfort, healing, affirmation, inspiration and even civic engagement. Local religious leaders join together to respond to criticisms of the faith-based communities and discuss their roles in community building. Panelists will include representatives from Faith in Action Alabama, Hindu Temple & Cultural Center, Alabama Buddhist Vihara, Birmingham Islamic Society, Unitarian Universalist Church, and Temple Beth-el. 
  • Between Charity and Social Justice - Community Engagement Among Churches and Faith-based Communities – Part I

    The forum, “Critical Conversations: Between Charity and Social Justice - Community Engagement Among Churches and Faith-based Communities – Part I,” will take place on Tuesday, November 13, from 6-7:30 p.m. in Heritage Hall, Room 102. The event is free and open to the public. The conversation will focus on the mission, challenges, and opportunities present among diverse, faith-based communities as it relates to serving the larger society. In addition, with Sunday being noted as “the most segregated day in America,” panelists will answer the overarching question, “How do we tackle such divisions to promote a greater sense of community healing, uplift, and unity?” The panel includes Debra Blaylock, Faith Chapel; Dr. Horace Huntley, Sixth Avenue Baptist Church; Dr. Ty Moody, The Worship Center Christian Church; Charles Perry, pastor of Unity of Birmingham Church; Kameron Pugh, pastor of Iron City Church; Dr. David Barnhart, pastor of Saint Junia United Methodist Church; and Eva Melton, pastor of The Firm Foundation, who will serve as a forum facilitator.
  • Amplifying the Voices and Echoes of #MeToo

    You are invited to join us on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 6:00 p.m. for “Critical Conversations: Amplifying the Voices and Echoes of #MeToo.” The forum will focus on the aftermath of sexual harassment allegations brought forward against well-known celebrities like Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, R. Kelly and others. Although the allegations have focused mostly on high-profileelebrities and politicians, higher education has not been immune to similar trends. The featured panel will include Kasey Robinson, J.D., UAB Title IX Coordinator; Lisa Sharlach, UAB Ph.D., associate professor and Director, Women’s and Gender Studies; Mandy Parente, M.Ed., CHES: UAB Interpersonal Violence Prevention Coordinator Wellness Promotion; Olivio Clay, Ph.D., associate professor in the department of psychology at UAB; and Anita Clemon, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CAAP, assistant vice president for Institutional Equity and chair of the UAB Commission on the Status of Women, who will serve as the forum facilitator. 
  • Creating and Sustaining the Beloved Community Part 2

    We invite you to join us on Monday, March 26, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in Heritage Hall 102 for part two of our Critical Conversations: Community Wide Civic Dialogue Forum on "Creating and Sustaining the Beloved Community". Together, we will address the unanswered questions from our previous dialogue while continuing to explore the idea of what it means to have a beloved community and explore the opportunities available to improve our overall community well-being. Remember, our most innovative and lasting solutions to enhance community well-being depends upon our citizens, government, and a diversity of organizations to unite around a common vision—a vision to work in collaboration on initiatives that makes solutions a reality. The featured panelists will include Tiffanie Agee, Martez Files, Ashley Kuntz, Jarralynne Agee, Jennifer Sanders, Joshua Carpenter, and Celida Soto. 
  • Creating and Sustaining the Beloved Community

    UAB’s commitment to our city and our neighbors is not new; it is part of who we are, and is integral to our work in community outreach and classrooms. This critical conversation will focus on the idea that community well-being is the result of a complex interplay of social, cultural, economic, political and environmental factors that is beyond the influence of any one individual, organization or level of government alone. The most creative and lasting solutions to enhance community well-being depend upon citizens, government, and a diversity of organizations that unite around a common vision—a vision to work in collaboration on initiatives that makes solutions a reality.  In addition, we will explore ways in which we can better facilitate community engagement between UAB and greater Birmingham. The panel is composed of Jarralynne Agee, director of Birmingham Violence Reduction Initiative; Tiffanie Agee, local attorney and Birmingham community activist; Josh Carpenter, UAB external relations; Martez Files, UAB Ph.D. student, scholar, and community activist; Ashley Kuntz, director of UAB Honors College; Jennifer Sanders, pastor of Beloved Community Church; and Tameka Wren, local attorney, activist, Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority board member. The event will begin 6:00 p.m. on Jan 24 in UAB Heritage Hall Room 102. 
  • Dialogue forum tackles "How Misinformation Shapes and Divides Society"

    A free public panel discussion will explore misinformation—from propaganda and social media to data interpretation—and how each piece of rhetoric intersects and shapes our daily living and group identities. The panel is composed of Dr. Nyesha Black from the Department of Sociology; Drs. Fan Yang and Timothy Levine (distinguished professor and chair) of Department of Communication Studies; Dr. Wendy Gunther-Canada, chair of Department of Government; and Mr. Christopher Burks, a graduate student in public administration. The event will begin 6:00 p.m. November 1st in UAB’s Heritage Hall Room 102. Critical Conversations: Community Wide Civic Dialogue is a platform for students, faculty, staff, and local citizens outside of UAB to come together and hold civil discourse on challenging topics which prove relevant to fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive community. The event is co-hosted by UAB’s Department of Communication Studies, Department of Government, and Department of Sociology.
  • An Evening with Maria Echaveste

    Maria Echaveste, a former senior fellow at the UC Berkeley Center for Latin American Studies, has built a distinguished career working as a public policy consultant, lecturer, a senior White House official, long-time community leader, and corporate attorney. Her current work focuses on immigration, civic engagement, labor rights and education. Additionally, she is a Senior Fellow with the Opportunity Institute, a recently formed non-profit working to accelerate improvements to our nation’s public education system.
  • From Protest to Academic Freedom: Free Speech, Hate Speech, and the First Amendment on College Campuses

    Lata Nott serves as executive director of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center. Prior to that, she was a litigator in New York City at the law firms of Proskauer Rose and Chadbourne & Parke. In addition to her commercial litigation practice, she maintained an active pro-bono practice focused on asylum cases, and developed a proficiency in legal issues surrounding the Internet, data privacy, and cybersecurity, frequently contributing to Chadbourne & Parke’s technology law blog. She earned her Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School in 2010. At Columbia, she was a staff editor of the Human Rights Law Review and chair of the South Asian Law Students Association.


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    Events are free and open to the public. To learn more, or if you have any questions, please contact the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at (205) 934-8762.