UC Irvine's 17th annual Rainbow Festival and Conference, Oct. 30 through Nov. 1, will celebrate cultural and ethnic diversity. This year's conference, "Our Collective Responsibility," will feature free panel discussions and workshops, a three-day cultural fair, opening keynote address by award-winning journalist Helen Zia and closing presentation by Maya Angelou, poet, educator, best-selling author and civil-rights activist.
"The goal of the Rainbow Festival and Conference is to bring people together to discuss issues of race and ethnicity that will complement the intellectual, social and political lives of the community," said Anna Gonzales, director of the UCI Cross-Cultural Center, which coordinates the event. "This year's festival will strive to illustrate society's collective responsibility to build a culture committed to diversity. Everyone has a stake in diversity and each of us needs to focus on progressive and positive change within our communities."
Zia, contributing editor and former executive editor of Ms. magazine, has been active in social justice issues ranging from civil rights and peace to women's rights and countering hate violence for more than two decades. Her work on a landmark anti-Asian violence civil rights case is seen in the Academy Award-nominated film, "Who Killed Vincent Chin?" A second generation Chinese American, Zia is the author of the critically acclaimed book "Asian-American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People" and the forthcoming "My Country Versus Me," the story of Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee, who was falsely accused of spying for China. Her articles, essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Essence and The Advocate, among others. Zia's free presentation begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, in the UCI Student Center's Crystal Cove Auditorium.
Additional conference highlights include the 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, panel discussion "Excellence and Equity in Higher Education" with Marguerite Bonous-Hammarth of UCLA's Department of Education. She is the research project director for the study "Choices: Access, Equity and Diversity in Higher Education."
Angelou's closing night presentation is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Bren Events Center and general admission is $12. Described as a contemporary Renaissance woman, Angelou has authored 11 best-selling books, including "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and "Even the Stars Look Lonesome." Fluent in six languages, she was editor of the Arab Observer, the only English-language news weekly in the Middle East. Angelou has received numerous honorary degrees and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the National Commission on the Observance of International Woman's Year and by President Gerald Ford to the American Revolutionary Bicentennial Advisory Council. In 1993, she became only the second poet in U.S. history to have the honor of writing and reciting original work at the Presidential Inauguration.
UCI students, faculty and staff and community members are invited to participate in the Rainbow Festival and Conference. For more information and a complete schedule of events, call the Cross-Cultural Center at (949) 824-7215 or visit www.ccc.uci.edu/.