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ISCORE session discusses “The Conviction Behind Race Work in Higher Education”

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Michael Benitez, vice president for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Metropolitan State University of Denver, presented as the speaker for the second-to-last keynote of the 2021 Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity (ISCORE). Michael Benitez, vice president for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Metropolitan State University of Denver, presented as the speaker for the second-to-last keynote of the 2021 Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity (ISCORE).

Benitez’s keynote “The Conviction Behind Race Work in Higher Education,” took place virtually over Zoom, just like the rest of the conference.

Benitez opened by discussing his experiences living in different places across the country.

“I recall back when Dr. Hill was trying to recruit me to come to Iowa State, I looked at Dr. Hill like ‘I don’t know, that’s Iowa man, Iowa is an incredibly white place,’” Benitez said.

He said he is used to navigating white spaces and recalled his movements from Puerto Rico to New York and then from New York to Pennsylvania.

“In New York I did not have to worry very much,” Benitez said. “I was in Washington Heights, which in the ’80s […] I didn’t have to pick up English very quickly, everybody already spoke […]

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