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Diversity Day logoThe subject of cultural appropriation will be discussed at the campus of Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine (SIU SDM) on Tuesday, Oct. 15 during Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s second annual Diversity Day celebration. 

 The celebration will be held on all three campuses, which also includes Edwardsville and East St. Louis, and will involve educational and active engagement sessions. 

The topic of cultural appropriation will be presented by one of SIUE’s experts on the subject, alumna Jennifer Hernandez, PhD, associate professor in the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior (SEHHB). Hernandez’s keynote address, “Commercializing Culture: Culture Out of Context,â€� will be given at 12:10 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15 in Building 280 on the SDM campus, with questions and answers to follow. 

Members of another culture define cultural appropriation as the adoption of elements of one culture. 

At the conclusion of her presentation, Hernandez says she hopes:

  • Participants will have a working comprehension of cultural appropriation as seen on college campuses, holiday celebrations and in popular culture
  • Participants will make connections to cultural appropriation and microaggressions
  • Participants will analyze their own thinking around implicit bias, and its impact on holidays, cultural customs and in popular culture 

“Dr. Hernandez is a dynamic and engaging speaker who is extremely knowledgeable about many aspects of diversity and inclusion, especially as it relates to education,â€� said Jessica Hinz, PhD, SDM director of Campus Wellness, Culture Awareness, Diversity and Ethics. Hinz is co-coordinator of Diversity Day in Alton with Cornell C. Thomas, DDS, assistant dean for admissions and students services. 

“Diversity Day at SIUE brings us together and gives us the opportunity to share and appreciate each other,â€� said Thomas, “as well as show mutual respect and tolerance. Diversity enriches us in so many ways. It truly makes us better.â€� 

“I hope we all take away something from Diversity Day that we can apply in our lives,â€� reflected Hinz, “in order for us to be more welcoming and open to people from all walks of life.â€� 

“I also hope that we can view our differences as strengths,â€� she concluded, “and that make us unique and interesting.â€� 

The theme for Diversity Day is “From Awareness to Action, SIUE Shaping a Changing World.â€�  

A complete Diversity Day schedule of events, including details on the array of engagement sessions, is available at

By Admin