Social Justice Events and Readings

The Diversity Committee has compiled a list of events and recommended readings related to issues of inequity, diversity and injustice in the greater Madison area to promote a culturally inclusive learning environment in PLATO.  We hope to develop additional materials and welcome your suggestions. Contact Committee Co- Chairs Kathy Michaelis ( or Rick Orton ( for the Diversity Committee meeting schedule.


UW Arboretum Fall 2019 Lecture Series:
Indigenous Knowledge Inspired by the Land

  • Arboretum Visitor Center auditorium
  • Four Tuesdays in October, 7–8:30 p.m.
  • Free, no registration required. Suggested $10 donation at the door.
  • Speakers will share research and cultural insights about Indigenous relationships with the land.
    Phone:  Tel: (608) 263-7888; Fax: (608) 262-5209
    1207 Seminole Highway
    Madison, WI 53711-3726
Tuesday, October 15

Our Shared Future: Learning from the Hard Truths of Our Place. Omar Poler, interim American Indian curriculum services coordinator, UW–Madison School of Education. In June, UW–Madison publicly acknowledged the nineteenth-century forced removals of Ho-Chunk people from Wisconsin, human rights violations central to the founding of our community. In this presentation, Poler will speak about the University’s “Our Shared Future” heritage marker and ongoing efforts to share this little-known story. Poler is an enrolled member of the Sokaogon Chippewa Community.

Tuesday, October 22

Using Indigenous Experience and Knowledge to Guide Sustainable Forestry in the Twenty-first Century. Michael J. Dockry, assistant professor, Forest Resources, University of Minnesota. Indigenous people have managed forests for generations using Indigenous science, values, and knowledge. Sustainable forestry began with the Menominee Nation in Wisconsin. Dockry will illustrate how Indigenous forestry is leading the way to solve some of the most complex environmental problems we face.

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Recommended Reading

The Diversity Committee hopes to make additional recommendations in the future - we welcome your suggestion. Contact Committee Co- Chairs Kathy Michaelis ( or Rick Orton (  


by Ibram X. Kendi, Published by One World, 2019

Kendi is a on a mission to push those of us who believe we are not racists, who support ideas and policies affirming that the “the racial groups are equal in all their apparent differences—that there is nothing right or wrong with any racial group”. This is a 21st century manual of racial ethics.

Kendi is also the author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, 2017.

New York Times Bestselle

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Designing for Everyone

by Sinead Burke

An Address to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland in 2019

12 minutes

Academic, teacher, writer and advocate, Sinéad Burke works to accelerate systemic change within the domains of diversity, education, inclusion, design and disability. Ms. Burke consults within the fashion, architecture and design industries to ensure that spaces and products are accessible to all.  She speaks here of her experiences in becoming a teacher despite being discouraged from doing so because of her stature, and interaction with the clothing and fashion industries to illuminate how innovative thinking and design are needed to benefit everyone.  

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Why Design Should Include Everyone

by Sinead Burke

An Address to the Annual World Economic Forum

TED Talk     

10 minutes

Sinéad Burke is acutely aware of details that are practically invisible to many of us. At 105 centimeters (or 3' 5") tall, the designed world -- from the height of a lock to the range of available shoe sizes -- often inhibits her ability to do things for herself. Here she tells us what it's like to navigate the world as a little person and asks: "Who are we not designing for?"

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Locking Up Our Own:

Crime and Punishment in Black America , 2017 

by James Forman Jr. 

  • Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction
  • Long-listed for the National Book Award
  • Finalist, Current Interest Category, Los Angeles Times Book Prizes
  • One of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2017
  • Short-listed for the Inaugural Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice

Former public defender James Forman, Jr. is a leading critic of mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people of color. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand the war on crime that began in the 1970s and why it was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers.  

Well written putting our current situation in historical context.

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