Posted on November 25, 2020 by


As the country continues to heal and learn from the summer’s Black Lives Matter movement in response to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the College of Education and Human Development’s Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality Studies department's African American Studies program invited former NPR Host and Special Correspondent, Founding Director of   “The Race Card Project”   and Washington Post Opinions Contributor, Michele Norris to speak to students and UTSA community.

Students from the   Black Lives Matter: Race Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality , class spearheaded the speaking engagement and were invited to come up with questions to ask Norris, with some students moderating the special event.

“Our Black Lives Matter class wanted Michele to come because of her background and what we wanted to learn from the experience,” Xiolani Turner, a student from the class said. “Our class has had many guest speakers and we really enjoy being able to see different perspectives from several different people just like us.”

Norris, an award-winning journalist engages audiences in candid discussions about race, culture and communication in America. A host of National Public Radio’s longest-running program,   All Things Considered , she’s captivated audiences nationwide while earning some of journalism’s highest honors. As a   Washington Post   Opinions contributor, Norris sparks important dialogue on current events, social issues and the power to make change as she breaks down commonly held beliefs and attitudes on race, diversity, and bias. She makes complex and taboo issues remarkably accessible.

“Michele Norris provided the students a different perspective on a topic I had spoken about all semester.” Karla Broadus, director of the African American Studies program said. “It allowed them to engage in the topic with someone that has a different background other than the mine to then enhance their personal view on the subject, such as Race with Ms. Norris.”

Norris offered students an in-depth perspective of both her personal and professional experiences and spoke about the many powerful stories people share through her Peabody Award-winning initiative, “The Race Card Project,” which fosters conversation among individuals about their differences.

“The most influential part of the event was when Michele touched on opening doors for others but just holding it a little longer to let more people in,” Turner said. “I like to put it this way, everybody eats at my table. If I’m succeeding in life I want those just like me to follow suit. Our community needs that. We can’t leave people behind, our Black friends and family need to come with us. We need each other.”

As the country continues to learn and have conversations about social justice and the need for change, events such as these offer valuable insight into other people’s perspectives.

“Guest speakers are an important part of a student’s learning experience because we get a different view on things it’s not straight from a textbook or lesson plan,” Turner said. “Michele Norris was an amazing speaker and having her here made our entire class feel so warm.”