Acclaimed attorney, author and independent consultant Hannibal B. Johnson will present a lecture titled, “From ‘Us and Them’ to ‘We’ – Examining Explicit and Implicit Biases,” Wednesday, February 12, at 6 p.m. in the Reynold’s Room of the Smith Pendergraft Campus Center, on the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith campus.
Johnson, a graduate of Harvard Law School who specializes in diversity, inclusion, and cultural competence issues, completed his undergraduate work in economics and sociology at the University of Arkansas and has served as an adjunct professor at The University of Tulsa College of Law, Oklahoma State University, and the University of Oklahoma.
“Cultural competence is a way of operationalizing diversity and inclusion,” explained Johnson in his lecture proposal. “It speaks to the power of being aware of, respecting, and learning with and from people who differ from us in a whole host of ways, including, but not limited to, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion, and ability status. Cultural competence focuses on awareness, attitudes, knowledge, and skills around diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Immediately following the lecture will be a public interview conducted by UAFS Chancellor, Dr. Terisa Riley.
“I am thrilled to bring an esteemed professional like Hannibal Johnson to campus to support our efforts to create a more welcoming, inclusive, and aware community,” said Riley. “Truthfully, I have been a fan of Mr. Johnson’s since our first introduction. As an educator, author, attorney, and citizen, his work is as powerful as it is transformative, and I am eager for the Fort Smith community to join us for his insightful and engaging discussion.”
Johnson serves on the federal 400 Years of African-American History Commission. He is past president of Leadership Tulsa, the Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League, The Rotary Club of Tulsa, and the Northeast Oklahoma Black Lawyers Association. Johnson also served as chair of the Rotary Club of Tulsa’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, the board of directors of The Community Leadership Association, and the board of directors of the Foundation for Tulsa Schools. He is a founding director of the Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice.
He has also served on the Oklahoma Advisory Committee for the United States Commission on Civil Rights, and directed Anytown, Oklahoma, a statewide human relations camp for teens, for more than a decade. Johnson served on the Advisory Board of the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Writers Conference of the Southwest and the Institutional Review Board for Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences. He graduated with the inaugural class of the national “Connecting Community Fellowship Program” based in Richmond, Virginia.
The public lecture, as well as two half-day workshops for administrators, faculty, and staff of the university, will be hosted by the UAFS Chancellor’s Office as part of the university’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion efforts. The UDEIC programming subcommittee assisted in planning the events. The University Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee was created by Chancellor Riley in the fall of 2019, to review, unify, and strengthen UAFS’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Its volunteer membership is comprised of faculty, staff, students, and members of the Fort Smith community who are engaged in or passionate about diversity and inclusion initiatives.