Jan 23, 2007    #007
Contact: Amanda Lepper
(816) 235-1592

Former Falcon describes life as a gay man in the NFL during UMKC's Diversity Week 2007

Esera Tuaolo, a former defensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons, will describe his experiences fighting discrimination as a gay man in the National Football League during the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s annual Diversity Week celebration.

Tuaolo retired from the League after competing in 1999 Super Bowl XXXIII and has since dedicated himself to helping both the gay and straight communities better understand homosexuality. His presentation will be just one of several activities planned to call the community’s attention to the variety of discrimination that persists into the 21st century.

Diversity Week 2007: Uncaged begins Monday, Feb. 5, against the backdrop of a 7-foot-by-6-foot “cage of oppression” positioned in the heart of UMKC’s Volker Campus Quadrangle. The enormous structure will contain representations of racism, ageism, classism and racism, all topics to be addressed between 2 and 4 p.m. by guest speakers Lewis Diuguid of The Kansas City Star’s Editorial Board and Pamela Shane-Dillard, UMKC’s coordinator for Diversity in Action. The duo will discuss the importance of diversity on the UMKC campus and in Kansas City as a whole, while those in attendance keep warm with free chili and hot cocoa.

Tuaolo’s feature lecture is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 7 in the University Center’s Pierson Auditorium. The event is open to the public, as is the Global Village Festival, which will wrap up the week of celebrations from 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 11 in the University Center. The festival, coordinated by Kansas City’s Ethnic Enrichment Commission, will highlight foods, crafts, fashion and dance from around the world.

Diversity Week 2007:Uncaged is cosponsored by the Ethnic Enrichment Commission, LGBT Programs and Services, Mercury Association: UMKC Student Communicators, the Office of Diversity and Equity, the Student Life Office, the Talent Scholars Leadership Program and the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. For more information, contact the Student Life Office at (816) 235-1407.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health sciences and urban affairs.

This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).

UMKC Diversity Week 2007 Schedule of Events

Monday, Feb. 5:“Cage of Oppression,” 2 to 4 p.m., Volker Campus Quadrangle.Lewis Diuguid and Pamela Shane-Dillard will discuss various forms of discrimination and the importance of diversity at UMKC and in Kansas City as a whole.

Tuesday, Feb. 6: “Students with Disabilities; Understanding Rights and Responsibilities,” 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., Alumni Room, University Center. Students will hear testimonials from a panel of UMKC students with disabilities. Lunch will be provided.

Wednesday, Feb. 7: “Alone in the Trenches: My Life As a Gay Man in the NFL,” 7 p.m., Pierson Auditorium, University Center. Esera Tuaolo will share his compelling story about overcoming life’s obstacles.

Thursday, Feb. 8: “Despair,” 4 p.m., Oak Street Residence Hall. Harriet Koskoff will show a full-length documentary about depression from multiethnic viewpoints.

Friday, Feb. 9: “It’s All About You!” 4 p.m., Oak Street Residence Hall. A fun-filled trivia night with food, music and prizes.

Sunday, Feb. 11: “Global Village,” 1 to 4 p.m., University Center. Kansas City’s Ethnic Enrichment Commission shares food, crafts, dance and fashion from cultures around the world.



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