About the Conference

Educate-Organize-Advocate is UMKC’s social justice conference for students, faculty, staff, and the Kansas City-area community. This conference will provide our community with the tools necessary to engage in meaningful dialogue over challenging topics; to increase advocacy for self and others; to integrate cultural competence, emancipatory pedagogy, and diversity not only into curriculum, but into our everyday lives as civically engaged members of an urban community.

Conference Learning Objectives

Raise awareness

of one’s own identity, and culture as well as cultures and identities that differ from one’s own; of the inequity of privileges across race, religion, spirituality, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, ability, and socioeconomic class, and citizenship status;

of one’s own biases and to prevent or reduce unintended consequences of biases; of conditions of historically oppressed groups (i.e., peoples of color, immigrants, low-income groups)

Develop skills

to communicate effectively and to act as advocates for themselves and others;

to effectively engage with a multiplicity of perspectives and diverse audiences;

to explore skills for speaking up against stereotypes or bias and respond in such a way that invites dialogue.

Plan for action

to acquire the skills to actively engage in meaningful community and civic work related to social justice;

to better serve the needs of diverse students by integrating equity, diversity, and inclusivity into our support services, advising, syllabi, curriculum, and class discussions and projects.

Planning Committee

Conference Chair

Dr. Michelle Smirnova, Associate Professor of Sociology and Affiliate Faculty of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender Studies

Committee Members

Dr. Antonio Byrd, Assistant Professor of English and Affiliate Faculty of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender Studies

Lona Davenport, Senior Diversity Program Coordinator

Keichanda Dees-Burnett, Assistant Dean of Student Support and Director Multicultural Student Affairs

Dr. Matthew Edwards, Associate Professor of Spanish and Affiliate Faculty of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender Studies

Yvonne Hood, Senior Executive Assistance, Division of Diversity & Inclusion

Dr. Makini King, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Diversity & Inclusion

Alicen Lundberg, Senior Coordinator, Dean’s Office of School of Social Sciences and Humanities

Sandy Rodriguez, Associate Dean of Special Collections & Archives

Dr. Lori Sexton, Associate Professor in Criminal Justice and Criminology

Dani Wellemeyer, Head of Outreach and Engagement, UMKC Libraries

Past Chairs

Rhiannon Dickerson: Educate-Organize-Advocate Conference Founder; 2017 EOA Conference Chair; 2018 EOA Conference Chair; 2019 EOA Conference Chair; 2020 Conference Co-Chair

Michelle Smirnova: 2020 Conference Co-Chair