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Anti-racism speaker Tim Wise to spur meaningful dialogue during March 7 visit to UND, Grand Forks

Posted on 3/1/2016

Tim Wise
Tim Wise
Speaker's day will culminate with a free public lecture at the Chester Fritz Auditorium at 7 p.m.

Nationally recognized speaker and author Tim Wise has a knack for getting people to open up.

That's sometimes a tough task when the subject at hand is a controversial one such as race relations and racism.

But Sandra Mitchell, UND associate vice president for diversity and inclusion, hopes a visit by Wise to Grand Forks and the University of North Dakota next week is just the thing to get meaningful discussions going.

"The goal of Tim Wise coming to Grand Forks is to help build a climate where people can talk about issues such as race while sharing examples," Mitchell says.

Wise's visit is scheduled for Monday, March 7 and will culminate with "An Evening with Time Wise" campus lecture, titled "Colorblind: What's the big deal about race?," at 7 p.m., in the Chester Fritz Auditorium. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with first come first serve seating. The event is free and open to the public.

But Wise's day in Grand Forks will start much earlier on March 7. His visit includes a Grand Forks community leaders roundtable, "Diversity and the Changing Face of Grand Forks," at 8:30 a.m. in the Dakota Harvest Bakery, (downtown GF) 17 N 3rd St. After that, he will talk with Faith-based Community Leaders at 10 a.m. at the Christus Rex Lutheran Campus Ministry, followed by a presentation with Campus Leaders at 2 p.m. in UND Twamley Hall, Room 305.

"UND and Grand Forks are changing and because of that our community also should know what all that means and different ways that we are a part of change," Mitchell said about Wise's message.

Longtime activist

Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the United States. He has spoken in all 50 states, on more than 1,000 college and high school campuses, at hundreds of professional and academic conferences and to community groups across the nation. In 2010, he was named one of the "25 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World," byUtne Reader.

Wise's antiracism work goes back to his days as a college activist in the 1980s, fighting to get rid of apartheid in South Africa. After college, he dove into social justice efforts full-time as Youth Coordinator and Associate Director of the Louisiana Coalition against Racism and Nazism. The goal of the group was to defeat political candidacies of white supremacist and David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader.

He later became New Orleans' public housing community organizer, and a policy analyst for a children's advocacy group focused on preventing economic inequality and poverty. He was an advisor from 1999-2003 at the Fisk University and Relations Institute in Nashville and in the Summer of 2005 he served as an adjunct faculty member at the Smith College School for Social Work in Northampton, Mass.

Wise has provided anti-racism training to teachers' nationwide, conducted training to the medical industry on how to reduce racial inequalities in health care and has trained corporations such as government, military, and law enforcement on ways to break apart racism in their institutions. He also served as a consultant for plaintiff's attorneys in federal discrimination cases in New York and Washington State.

Wise has written seven books, contributed essays to 25 books and is one of several people featured in White Men Challenging Racism: Thirty- Five Personal Stories. He received the 2001 British Diversity Award for best feature on race issues, and his writings have appeared in dozens of popular, professional and scholarly journals.

Wise's visit is being sponsored, in part, by the Christus Rex Lutheran Campus Ministry and the UND Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Questions about Tim Wise's visit can be directed to 701.777.6654, or

Amanda Menzies
University & Public Affairs student writer

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