Reflections From The Johns Hopkins Diversity Conference

Recently, some members of the Welch Staff Communications and Development Committee enjoyed the day attending Johns Hopkins University’s 12th Annual Diversity Conference and came away with some very positive “takeaways.” The conference started with Dr. James Gilman (Executive Director of the Military & Veterans Health Institute) who took us on a journey of his cultural enlightenment starting from his birthplace of Hymera, Indiana, up to the United States Army.

After his presentation we later ventured off into various Workshop sessions. The workshops attended by myself and others in my group were:  Art and Activism, Working with community to Build a Stronger Baltimore, Goodnight Homogeneity: Modeling Diversity for Children through Children’s Literature, and A conversation on the effects that the death of Freddie Gray have had on African-Americans in Higher Education. On a personal level, these workshops are always informative, and they bring an awareness and a reflection of our most common experiences and human connections. The event was well attended, and it gave us chance to meet new people from other areas of Johns Hopkins. We met up with old friends, as well. 


(below --- left to right) Welch Library Human Resources Coordinator Lavinia Wiggs, School of Medicine Administrative Coordinator La Shawn Johnson-Thomas, United States Congressman Elijah Cummings, and Welch Library Director's Office Administrative Coordinator Kim Thornton)

And (below)  there's Sharon Morris (left, Regional Center Libraries-MSEL) (and Regine Laforest Sharif (Housing Operations)


(below) Jake Weinfeld (School of Education)































The day concluded with a delicious lunch, along with a rousing and inspiring speech by Congressman Cummings. The Congressman left us with some sage advice to take along the way. I was especially moved by this statement, “Not to be blinded by what we see, talking past each other, and never moving to higher ground.”

Congressman Cummings was very approachable and allowed us to take a few pictures with him. There were so many positive messages and “life lessons” to takeaway, and I believe at the end of the day, everyone’s heart was full. Yes, we must remain open to understanding one another. Human diversity is a beautiful thing. We should celebrate our differences by learning from one another, teaching each other and allowing ourselves to grow in the process. 

I’d like to thank the Diversity Leadership Council for always putting together a wonderful event with relevant issues, and I look forward to returning next year!


The Welch Library Communications Team

Vivian McCall “Special Reporter” & Conference Attendee

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