Marc Lamont Hill Addresses Diversity Conference

2nd Annual Diversity Conference

CHICAGO, IL (October 28, 2010) – “You need to have a profound sense of hope,” Marc Lamont Hill, a leading hip-hop intellectual, told the more than 550 college and university students from across the Midwest who attended North Park University’s Second Annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference sponsored by the University's Office of Diversity.

In addition to the 400 North Park participants, 157 students came from schools that included Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana; Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and even as far away as Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

Students participated in workshops that covered a broad spectrum of subjects such as “Engaging and Motivating Others by Understanding Group Dynamics,” “Leadership and Ethics: A Christian Perspective,” “Planning and Promoting Events to Appeal to a Global Audience,” and “iLEAD: Avoiding Burnout Through Self Leadership.”

Hill spoke at a worship service that also included choirs and the North Park step team. An associate professor at Columbia University and frequent contributor to national news programs, he exhorted the young leaders to believe the world can be a better place “despite all evidence to the contrary.”

He noted, for example, that in the 1960s when civil rights workers were being attacked by water hoses, there was not evidence that a black man would be elected president 50 years later.

Although politics is an important avenue for improving society, “You don’t need a legislative initiative to help people,” Hill said. Even an act of simply reading books to a child in school has a transformative power.

“You all must embrace diversity, not just tolerate it,” Hill added. “You must be willing to listen to each other. You must listen to the other even when it’s hard, even when you don’t want to hear.”

After hearing Hill, Daniel Butler, vice president of the Black Student Union at Goshen College said, “He was enlightening us on some thing we really need to be enlightened to.”

Participants repeatedly echoed Butler’s assessment of the October 15 conference. “It has been amazing,” he said. “It has far exceeded my expectations.”

Butler added that he was certain the lessons he learned at the conference will make a difference on his own campus.