Durant-area residents are invited to attend and participate in an informative “Community Diversity Forum’’ on Thursday, Sept. 17.
The forum, open to the public, will begin at 5:30 p.m. (5 p.m. registration) in the Hallie McKinney Ballroom on the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
This community event is sponsored by Southeastern, the Durant Area Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center, Imagine Durant, and the Boys & Girls Club of Durant.
“This forum will offer an opportunity for all of us to learn and grow as citizens,’’ said Southeastern president Sean Burrage, who will also serve as moderator for the event. “We are fortunate to have commitments from four distinguished individuals who will serve as panelists at the forum, leading into group discussions. We certainly invite all community members to join us and participate in what we envision will be the first of many such opportunities for constructive dialogue.’’
Scheduled panelists are Crystal Robinson, former Southeastern basketball star and currently the girls basketball coach at Atoka High School; Ralph Evans, Bailiff for the 401st District Court, Collin County (Texas); Emily Redman, District Attorney (Bryan, Atoka and Coal counties); and Alex Benito, pastor, First Hispanic Baptist Church in Durant.
“Diversity is a subject that all communities need to discuss,’’ said Janet Reed, executive director of the Durant Area Chamber of Commerce. “As Durant, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and our surrounding area continues to grow, we want to make sure we approach diversity within our community with knowledge. We need to be aware of our changing culture and openly discuss solutions to any and all problems with a positive attitude. As guests from other countries and cultures come to our city to visit or make a permanent home, we need to openly discuss issues which they may face.”