UMKC Launches Critical Conversations Series

Town halls about systemic racism draw hundreds
UMKC Critical Conversations Series

The University of Missouri-Kansas City Division of Diversity and Inclusion will hold a series of critical conversations addressing systemic racism in the United States.

The panel discussions will be in a Zoom town hall-format and will feature UMKC faculty, staff, students and volunteer leaders who represent the topic being discussed. The sessions are free, but pre-registration is required online.

Recent incidents regarding the death of George Floyd have sparked a global movement that highlights the dysfunction that permeates most aspects of people’s lives. Regardless of race, every person is impacted by racism; however, overwhelmingly most have not engaged the topic head on. The goal of each discussion will be to enlighten, to educate and to explore the causes and potential cures for racism. Further, the university will strive to share actionable steps that can be used to improve racial interactions in the broader community.  ­­­­

Future topics include police reform, Blacks in higher education at primarily white institutions, addiction as a public health issue, racism in banking and racism in housing. The town hall sessions are open to UMKC faculty, staff, students, volunteer leaders, community partners and the community at-large. For more information, please email

Notes from Critical Conversations

First session, July 8: Systemic Racism in the Workforce 

Panelists include: Clyde McQueen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Full Employment Council; Uzo Nwonwu, Corporate Legal Counsel, UMB Bank; Jeffrey J. Simon, Office Managing Partner, Husch Blackwell LLP; A'yanna Tomlin, UMKC student, studying Business Administration; Gary O'Bannon (Moderator), Executive in Residence, Henry W. Bloch School of Management and former Director of Human Resources, City of Kansas City, Mo. 

Second session, July 30: The Future of Policing, Part 1

Panelists include: Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County prosecutor; Emanuel Cleaver III, senior pastor of St. James United Methodist Church; Damon Daniel, president of the AdHoc Group Against Crime; Toya Like, associate professor, UMKC Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology; Gary O'Bannon (Co-Moderator), Executive in Residence, Henry W. Bloch School of Management and former Director of Human Resources, City of Kansas City, Mo.; Jasmine Ward (Co-Moderator), third-year student at the UMKC School of Law.

Third session, Aug. 27: The Future of Policing, Part 2 

Click here to register for the event.

Published: Jun 29, 2020