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Bastian Foundation Diversity Lectures

Entering its 23rd year in Fall 2023, the Bastian Foundation Diversity Lecture Series is one of Westminster University's most stimulating and thought-provoking programs. The series reflects an institutional commitment to creating spaces for engagement around timely and relevant issues of diversity and inclusion. Lecture attendees enjoy a variety of creative and innovative presentation formats that provide a range of perspectives on diversity and inclusion topics. The Diversity Lecture Series is sponsored by the B. W. Bastian Foundation, which is committed to supporting programs and organizations that benefit, promote, and preserve individual rights and equality for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Upcoming Lectures


There are no upcoming events at this time.

Past Lectures

About the Lecture

Through a compilation of spoken word, music, dance and visual art, Wynter Storm and talented artists from Utah's Black Artists Collective will take you on a journey about reclaiming self-identity, freedom, building a safe reality; and self love. 

About the Speaker: Michael Harriot

Michael Harriot

Michael Harriot is a columnist at theGrio and a staff writer on The Amber Ruffin Show. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and BET; he is a frequent political commentator on MSNBC and CNN known for his biting observations and investigative reporting. Michael’s work has earned the National Association of Black Journalists award for digital commentary. He holds degrees in mass communications and history from Auburn University and a master's degree in macroeconomics and international business from Florida State University. His book Black AF History: The Unwhitewashed Story of America will be released this year.


About the Speaker: Dr. Jessie Daniels

Dr. Jessie Daniels

Dr. Jessie Daniels addresses an unintended complicity of even well-meaning white women and a feminism that pushes women of color aside.

About the Lecture

An acclaimed expert illuminates the distinctive role that white women play in perpetuating racism, and how they can work to fight it In a nation deeply divided by race, the "Karens" of the world are easy to villainize. But in Nice White Ladies, Jessie Daniels addresses the unintended complicity of even well-meaning white women. She reveals how their everyday choices harm communities of color. White mothers, still expected to be the primary parents, too often uncritically choose to send their kids to the "best" schools, collectively leading to a return to segregation. She addresses a feminism that pushes women of color aside, and a wellness industry that insulates white women in a bubble of their own privilege. Daniels then charts a better path forward. She looks to the white women who fight neo-Nazis online and in the streets, and who challenge all-white spaces from workplaces to schools to neighborhoods. In the end, she shows how her fellow white women can work toward true equality for all.

Watch the Recording with Dr. Jessie Daniels

About the Lecture

A panel of local activists will share their experiences working in their community.

About the Panelists

Mayra Cendano.

Mayra Cedano

Mayra Cedano is a passionate community organizer and a grassroots leader that has spearheaded immigrant rights campaigns for over a decade. Mayra was born and raised in Jalisco, Mexico. When she was 11 years old, she immigrated to the U.S., establishing deep roots within Utah's immigrant community. Mayra started her activism when she was 15 years old, and in 2010 she received a bachelor's degree in sociology and minors in Chicana/o Studies and psychology from the University of Utah.

Mayra's journey at Comunidades Unidas (CU) began 11 years ago, and she feels that those years have been the most transformational and empowering years of her life. In December of 2019, Mayra became the executive director and is now at the helm of CU. Mayra has extensive experience and knowledge on immigration issues, immigration law, and social and economic justice issues. Currently, she is recognized as one of Utah's immigration and immigrant rights experts. Mayra enjoys dancing, stargazing, ice cream, chocolate, popcorn, and tacos.

Amanda Darrow.Amanda Darrow

Amanda Darrow is the director of Youth, Family, and Education at the Utah Pride Center. She holds a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in clinical and counseling psychology, both from Westminster University. She is passionate about inclusion and social justice. Amanda began her advocacy with her research on, "The Effects of a Heteronormative Classroom Environment on LGBTQ+ Students."

Before the Utah Pride Center, Amanda worked in higher and elementary education. Amanda works at the Utah Pride Center to make homes more accepting and welcoming for our youth and families, schools and community spaces more inclusive for all, and to educate the current and future generations about our incredible LGBTQIA+ community.

Psarah Johnson.Psarah Johnson

A self-identifying “cripplepunk,” Psarah Johnson is a community activist who was born with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and since then has spent her life collecting autoimmune disorders. In addition, she suffers from PTSD, the result of the medical trauma and psychological abuse she has endured throughout her four decades on earth. However, Psarah has lived her entire life refusing to take the back seat.

She has worked as a group home coordinator, taught high school students theatre and civics, performed as a stand-up comedian, and—at one point—even ran away to join the circus. Most recently, Psarah has stepped away from her career as an educator to become a full-time activist, advocate, writer, and public speaker. Currently, she is the board chair for the Disabled Rights Action Committee.

Darlene McDonald.Darlene McDonald

Darlene McDonald is a writer, author, social and political activist in Utah. She serves on many boards, including Alliances for a Better Utah and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organization that works with communities and partners worldwide to challenge unjust systems and promote lasting peace.

In December 2020, she launched her nonprofit, 1Utah Project to boost civic engagement for Black, Indigenous, people of color and disaffected voters in Utah. She’s been outspoken about racism in Utah and the proliferation of disinformation. McDonald was 1 of 6 community leaders appointed by Salt Lake City’s Mayor Erin Mendenhall to server on the Salt Lake City Racial Equity in Policing Commission.

Ms. McDonald holds a BS in business information technology management from Western Governors University and studied economics at Westminster University.

Billy Palmer.Billy Palmer

Billy Palmer joined the ACLU of Utah as a community organizer in January of 2022 after spending 5 years as a host and associate producer of the public affairs show RadioACTive on KRCL 90.9 FM. While at KRCL, he also served as the director of civic engagement. Billy also has a background in filmmaking, music promotion, as well as swing dance performance and choreography.

Billy has 20 years of experience in activism and grassroots movement building on a local and national level. Among many focuses he has worked around issues of economic equality, human rights, gender equity, anti-black and indigenous policy, youth empowerment, and advocacy for survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse.

A resident of West Salt Lake City and father of 3 adult children, Billy enjoys spending time with family, live performances of many sorts, film festivals and traveling as often as possible.

About the Speaker: Brian Garrett

As deputy director of Military Affairs for the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs, Brian Garrett serves as a liaison to the leadership of Utah’s military installations, defense industry, economic development organizations, and military organizations. He advises the executive director, governor, and legislature on matters of military affairs throughout Utah.

Mr. Garrett also serves as the state command chief master sergeant for the Utah Air National Guard (UTANG). In this capacity, he serves as the principal advisor to the assistant adjutant general for Air and Commander of the UTANG on all issues about the enlisted force.

He currently serves as the chair of the Utah Guard Charitable Trust and as a board member for the Road Home, Encircle-Salt Lake City, Hill AFB Museum, the Red Cross-Salt Lake Chapter, Utah Defense Alliance, and the Salt Lake and Top of Utah Military Affairs Committees.

Prior to his current position, he served as the director of Military Relations for Zions Bank.

Mr. Garrett lives in Saratoga Springs with his husband Rob and his sons Braxton and Brayden. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family at Lake Powell.

Watch the Recording with Brian Garrett

About the Speaker: Dian Squire, PhD

Dian Squire, PhD, is an associate professor and associate dean for inclusive excellence at Loyola University Chicago's Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. He previously was an assistant professor of counseling-student affairs at Northern Arizona University, a visiting assistant professor at Iowa State University, and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Denver.

Dr. Squire's research focuses on understanding how racism shapes university organization, culture, and experience. He utilizes organizational perspectives to help explain individual behavior and experience in order to transform organizational structures to support equity and justice.

Watch the Recording with Dian Squire

About the Lecture

This knowledgeable, charismatic, and well-studied trio of scholars will present, through the lens of queer and trans university student contexts, a wide-ranging intersectional conversation about LGBTQIA students that expands the connections and possibilities of identities, policies, and contexts of campus life and work.

Dr. Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher, Dr. Devika Dibya Choudhuri, and Dr. Jason L. Taylor will explore these topics to expand the discussion across race and ethnicity, (dis)ability, age, gender, and class, inviting us to join them in this necessary struggle to reimagine a world that is safe, livable, and nourishing for all.

About the Panelists

Drs. Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher, Devika Dibya Choudhuri, and Jason L. Taylor are the co-editors of the 2019 text "Rethinking LGBTQIA Students and Collegiate Contexts: Identity, Policies, and Campus Climate."

Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher, PhD

Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher, PhD, is a professor in Higher Education and director of the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She also serves as the executive director of the Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC). Previously, she served as associate dean of the Graduate College and was associate head of the Education, Policy, Organization and Leadership department at UIUC.

Dr. Zamani-Gallaher holds a PhD in Higher Education Administration with a specialization in Community College Leadership and Educational Evaluation from the UIUC. Dr. Zamani-Gallaher’s teaching, research, and consulting activities largely include psychosocial adjustment and transition of marginalized collegians, transfer, access policies, and women in leadership

Devika Dibya Choudhuri, PhD

Devika Dibya Choudhuri, PhD, is a faculty member in the Counseling Program at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She currently serves as the chair of the President's Commission for Diversity and Inclusion at Eastern Michigan University, and has been working on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion for much of her professional life. She is a licensed professional counselor in Michigan and Connecticut with over 20 years of experience working with clients individually, as well as in couples, families, and groups.

Clinically, Dr. Choudhuri specializes in cross-cultural and diversity issues, as well as trauma, assault, and abuse, working with refugee populations, sexual assault, and abuse survivors, and immigrant and multicultural populations. She is also a certified coach, consultant, and frequent presenter on cultural competence, diversity, and ethical issues. She teaches courses such as cross-cultural counseling, advanced multicultural counseling, counseling skills, group work, crisis and trauma, couple and family, and counseling women and LGBTQ populations.

Jason L. Taylor, PhD

Jason L. Taylor, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Utah. He received his PhD in Higher Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a research specialization in evaluation methods and concentration in public policy.

Dr. Taylor's broad research interests are at the intersection of community university and higher education policy and educational and social inequality. He has conducted and led several quantitative and mixed methods studies related to university readiness, developmental education, university affordability, adult pathways to university, dual credit/enrollment and early university experiences, transfer policy and reverse transfer, LGBTQ students, career and technical education, and educational access and equity.

The goal of Dr. Taylor's research is to examine and better understand how public policies impact underserved students’ access to, transition through, and success in community universitys and institutions of higher education to contribute to both theory and practice.

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About the Speaker: Dafina-Lazarus (D-L) Stewart, PhD

D-L Stewart, PhD, is a professor in the School of Education, co-coordinator of Student Affairs in Higher Education, co-director of Campus Initiatives for the Race and Intersectional Studies for Educational Equity (RISE) Center, and affiliated faculty in the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research at Colorado State University.

Over the course of his faculty career, Dr. Stewart has focused most intently on the history and philosophy of higher education, as well as institutional systems and structures that affect the postsecondary experiences, growth and development, as well as success of racially minoritized and queer and transgender students.

Dr. Stewart examines these topics through intersectional, critical, and poststructural frameworks that incorporate ableism, religious hegemony, and classism alongside racism, patriarchy, and queer- and trans-antagonism. In addition to over 50 journal publications and book chapters, D-L is an author or editor of 4 books, most recently, Black Collegians’ Experiences in U.S. Northern Private Colleges: A Narrative History, 1945-1965, and co-editor with Elisa Abes and Susan R. Jones of the text, Rethinking College Student Development Theory Using Critical Frameworks.

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About the Speaker: Dr. Patrick Grzanka

Dr. Grzanka is a professor of psychology and women, gender, and sexuality studies at the University of Tennessee. In this lecture, he will discuss the social implications of scientists’ search for the biological origins of sexual orientation. An expert in intersectionality, Grzanka’s work broadly investigates the psychosocial consequences of complex structural inequalities at the nexus of race, gender, and sexuality.

Watch the Recording with Dr. Patrick Grzanka

About the Speaker: Dr. David Rivera

Dr. Rivera is a professor at Queen’s College in New York City. In this lecture, he will discuss university access in the context of social class and in the lives of first-generation university students. His research focuses on cultural competency development, and issues impacting the marginalization and health of people of color and sexual minorities.

Watch the Recording with Dr. David Rivera

About the Speaker: Jennifer Eberhardt, PhD

Jennifer Eberhardt, PhD, is a professor of psychology at Stanford and a recipient of a 2014 MacArthur Genius Grant. She draws from state-of-the-art technology, innovative experiments, and meticulous data to uncover how implicit bias shapes our visual perception, attention, memory, and behavior.


About the Lecture

Hear from business and non-profit leaders on how diversity shapes their operating practices, business decisions, talent development in their industry, and leadership approach.


This living room conversation will include:

  • Raymond Hall, Chief Human Resource Officer
  • Larry H. Miller Management Corporation
  • Barbara Melendez, Attorney
  • Richards Brandt Miller Nelson
  • Davis Smith, Founder and Chief Executive Officer
  • Cotopaxi

Watch the recording

About the Speaker: Carlos Maza

Carlos Maza is a video producer at Vox. He writes, produces, and hosts a video series called "Strikethrough," in order to wed timely, research-based media criticism with comedy and pop culture.

Watch the recording

About the Lecture

Westminster University collaborated with Salt Lake Community College to host W. Kamau Bell, host of CNN’s “United Shades of America," for the MLK Keynote Lecture and B.W. Bastian Foundation Diversity Series.

About the Speaker: W. Kamau Bell

Emmy-nominated comic W. Kamau Bell is known for delivering incisive, scathingly funny commentary on modern society. Bell travels the country, offering viewers a look inside the various subcultures of American life. He first captured audiences’ attention with his thought-provoking, one-man show, "The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour,” and later, with his widely praised FX comedy series, “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell."

The multitalented entertainer also hosts the podcasts, "Denzel Washington is The Greatest Actor of All Time Period" and "Politically Reactive," as well as the live public radio show, "Kamau Right Now!" Kamau’s book, The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell, will be released May 2.

Bell's one-man show "Ending Racism in About an Hour" has been praised by audiences and critics from leading outlets, including The Guardian and Time Out.

About the Lecture

In fall 2018, not only did Westminster join the NCAA, but it also launched its Diversity Strategic Plan, which captures the university’s intention to make Inclusive Excellence a cornerstone of the institution. Having an inclusive excellence mindset means that Westminster sees diversity, inclusion, and equity as critical to the well-being of democratic culture.

This luncheon will introduce the university’s strategic plan and feature an inclusive excellence trailblazer and thought leader, Dr. Katrice Albert, chief inclusion officer for NCAA. Albert will share lessons on inclusive leadership.

About the Speaker: Katrice Albert, PhD

Katrice Albert, PhD, is the chief people and inclusion officer for the NCAA.

About the Speaker: Kay Ulanday Barrett

Kay Ulanday Barrett is a nationally-recognized poet, performer, and cultural strategist, navigating life as a disabled pilipinx-amerikan transgender queer person. On top of performing on stages globally, Barrett’s ideas have been featured in POOR Magazine, Huffington Post, Colorlines, and BuzzFeed.

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About the Speaker: Yaba Blay, PhD

Yaba Blay, PhD, is the Dan Blue Endowed Chair in political science at North Carolina Central University. A professor and ethnographer, Dr. Blay scholarship centers on Black racial identity, Black aesthetic practices, and Black beauty, with particular attention given to hair and skin color politics.

About the Speaker: E. Patrick Johnson, PhD

E. Patrick Johnson, PhD, is the chair of African American Studies and Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University. A scholar/artist, Dr. Johnson performs nationally and internationally and has published widely in the areas of race, gender, sexuality, and performance.

About the Speaker: Kevin Kumashiro, PhD

Kevin Kumashiro, PhD, is an internationally recognized expert on educational policy, school reform, teacher preparation, and educational equity and social justice, with a wide-ranging list of accomplishments and awards as a scholar, educator, leader, and advocate.

About the Lecture

A scholarly and practical exploration into how sexuality is politicized and why we need to reframe discourses about sex toward inclusivity and positivity.


Emerson L.R. Barrett

Emerson L.R. Barrett is a senior in sociology and gender studies who is the co-founder of the art activist collective, Be a Human. His research is on race and gender in LGBTQ+ communities.


Amp Somers

Amp Somers is an American blogger, producer, sex worker, and activist who co-founded the YouTube channel Watts the Safeword and is affiliated with Mr. Leather.

Amy Foley, PhD

Amy Foley, PhD, is a professor at Scott Community College who researches the history of the carnival in the U.S.—and the intersections of ableism, imperialism, racism, heterosexism, and ethnocentrism.

Ocean Candler

Ocean Chandler is a sophomore in public health and gender studies who leads the education branch of Students for Choice at Westminster University.

Michael Sanders

Michael Sanders is a business owner, activist, and rebel-rouser who is a leading force in sex education in SLC through blackBOOTS, blackBOARD, Team Friendly UTAH, and PrEP information outreach.

About the Lecture

During this Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture, Dr. Marco Barker takes the audience through a reflective and educational experience. Drawing from his lived, personal experiences as a young Black male growing up in Arkansas' Mississippi Delta and now as a career diversity professional, Barker introduces the notions of reflecting and learning from personal experiences and narratives and offers frameworks for making sense of these life lessons—particularly given the uncertainty of our national climate for diversity and inclusion.

About the Speaker: Marco Barker, PhD

Marco Barker, PhD, serves as Westminster’s inaugural chief diversity officer and has the responsibility of providing leadership for campus diversity initiatives. His research focuses on cross-race doctoral advising with a focus on critical race theory, doctoral socialization, and cross-cultural interactions.

Dr. Barker currently serves as a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education and is a member of the advisory board for KeyBank of Utah. Dr. Barker earned his undergraduate degree in industrial engineering from the University of Arkansas, his MBA from Webster University, and his PhD in educational leadership and research from Louisiana State University.

About the Lecture

Taking place less than 2 weeks before this year's unprecedented U.S. presidential election, Brazile's talk will discuss the complexities of the current U.S. political landscape from an insider's perspective.

About the Speaker: Donna Brazile

Veteran democratic political strategist Donna Brazile is an adjunct professor, author, syndicated columnist, television political commentator, vice chair of Voter Registration and Participation at the Democratic National Committee, and former interim National Chair of the Democratic National Committee, as well as the former chair of the DNC's Voting Rights Institute.

Aside from working for the full recovery of her beloved New Orleans, Brazile's passion is encouraging young people to vote, to work within the system to strengthen it, and to run for public office. Since 2000, Brazile has lectured at over 125 universitys and universities across the country on such topics as "Inspiring Civility in American Politics," race relations in the age of Obama, and why diversity matters, women in american politics: are we there tet.

She first got involved at the age of 9 when she worked to elect a city council candidate who had promised to build a playground in her neighborhood; the candidate won, the swing set was installed, and a lifelong passion for political progress was ignited. Brazile worked on every presidential campaign from 1976–2000, when she became the first African-American to manage a presidential campaign.

Author of the best-selling memoir Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics, Brazile is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, a syndicated newspaper columnist for Universal Uclick, a columnist for Ms. Magazine, and O, The Oprah Magazine, an on-air contributor to CNN, and ABC, where she regularly appears on ABC's This Week. Her secret passion is acting; she has recently made 2 cameo appearances on CBS's The Good Wife. Ask her and she'll tell you that acting, after all, is the key to success in politics.

In August 2009, O, The Oprah Magazine chose Brazile as one of its "20 remarkable visionaries" for the magazine's first-ever O Power List. In addition, she was named among the "100 Most Powerful Women" by the Washingtonian, "Top 50 Women in America" by Essence, and received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's highest award for political achievement.

She is currently on the board of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

Last, but never least, she is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. In the aftermath of the 2 catastrophic hurricanes that made landfall in the Gulf region, Brazile was appointed by former Governor Kathleen Blanco to serve on the Louisiana Recovery Board to work for the rebuilding of the state and to advocate for the Gulf recovery on the national stage.

Brazile is the proud recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from Louisiana State University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Xavier University of Louisiana, the only historically Black, Catholic institution of higher education in the United States.

Brazile is founder and managing director of Brazile & Associates LLC, a general consulting, grassroots advocacy, and training firm based in Washington, DC.

Westminster University's Statement

As an educational institution, Westminster University is committed to promoting the free exchange of ideas, which includes providing a forum for speakers who express a wide variety of political views. The university’s tax-exempt status, however, requires that it not engage in any political campaign activity, which means the university is prohibited from endorsing or opposing any candidate for public office. Westminster University takes its obligation in this regard very seriously. This event does not represent an endorsement by Westminster University of any candidate for public office.

Watch the Recording

About the Lecture

This talk will examine the influence of a sending community and its social networks on migrant outcomes in the U.S. Dr. Rosales will explain how these social networks affect migration patterns, ease entry into the street vending business but also facilitate exploitation.

Furthermore, she will show how these social networks do not always function as effective conduits of information because its members, due to feelings of shame or embarrassment, often fail to add to the existing body of knowledge. As a result, international migration patterns, job placement, and exploitative practices do not change or improve for subsequent migrants. This creates a cycle in which social networks become stagnant and successively fail to function as effective conduits of information and resources in ways that might help network members equally and in the aggregate.

About the Speaker: Rocío Rosales

Rocío Rosales, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Sociology department at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to this appointment she was a chancellor's postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Rosales completed her PhD in cociology at UCLA in 2012 and received her AB in sociology (cum laude) with a certificate in Latin American Studies from Princeton University. Her research interests include international migration, immigrant and ethnic economies, race and ethnicity, law and society, Latinas/os in the U.S., and qualitative research methods.

Dr. Rosales' work has been funded by the American Philosophical Society (2011), John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation (2010), Ford Foundation (2005–2008), and Mellon Mays Foundation (2003–2012). Her research appears in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and Ethnic and Racial Studies. She is currently working on her book manuscript based on over 4 years of ethnographic research among street vendors in Los Angeles.

Resources from Dr. Rosales

  • Duneier, Mitchell. 2000. Sidewalk. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • Light, Ivan. 2006. Deflecting Immigration: Networks, Markets, and Regulation in Los Angeles. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
  • Ramirez, Hernan and Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo. 2009. "Mexican Immigrant Gardeners: Entrepreneurs or Exploited Workers?" Social Problems 56:70-88.
  • Valenzuela, Abel, Jr. 2001. "Day labourers as entrepreneurs?" Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 27:335-352.
  • Waldinger, Roger, Howard Aldrich, Robin Ward. (1990). Ethnic Entrepreneurs: Immigrant Business in Industrial Societies. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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