BGSU to host 'Day of Dialogue' on Sept. 10

Dr. Tony Anderson will be the keynote speaker at the Wolfe Center for the Arts

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Bowling Green State University will host “Day of Dialogue”, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, at the Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center for the Arts, featuring both in-person and virtual options for participants. The target audience is a wide one — humanity — BGSU students, faculty, staff, alumni and the general public.

“We feel that this is an extremely important day for everyone, especially as polarized as our society is right now,” said Ana Brown, BGSU deputy chief for Diversity, Belonging, and Multicultural Affairs. “We really need to spend time listening to each other and understanding each other. That's what dialogue is — it is not a speech — it is a back and forth.”

Brown said holding the Day of Dialogue connects well with the longstanding commitment of BGSU to its responsibility as a public university for the public good. She added that the wider Bowling Green community is invited and encouraged to be part of the session as involved, listening, talking and learning active participants in this effort to outline and confront the challenges facing our society.

“The Day of Dialogue is a way for us to rethink how we talk about racial issues and issues of inclusion in general in the United States,” she said, adding that there will be an emphasis on seeking the best avenue for raising awareness and dealing with those racial issues. “This is essential, since we've discovered that things have not gotten better during the time we've also been dealing with the global COVID pandemic. Not talking has not made things better.”

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Tony Anderson, the assistant principal at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center in Columbus, a public magnet alternative school that focuses its curriculum on blending arts and academics with career programs. Anderson's commitment is helping to prepare Fort Hayes Students for leadership, service and success in the global community.

“Dr. Anderson is the ideal keynote, given the Division of Diversity and Belonging’s programmatic theme for this is ‘The Art of Diversity: An Introspective Journey to Belonging, and the Day of Dialogue is the opening event,’” Brown said. “His life journey is one where passion and purpose collide.”

Diversity and Belonging is thrilled to have the College of Musical Arts join us as a sponsor for this keynote.

The Columbus native is a graduate of Xavier University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in vocal music performance. He went on to earn a master's degree in elementary education from Florida State University, a master's degree in education from the University of Delaware, and a doctorate from Delaware in socio-cultural approaches to research in education.

Anderson is the creator and founder of Bassline Entertainment, an enrichment program for youths that involved Hip-Hop performance, entrepreneurship and social justice-themed studies. His work with that organization has received rave reviews after Bassline took youths who had been considered to be under-performing on the educational side and elevated them to the point of 100% were accepted into college.

Brown said Anderson's unique and extensive skills have allowed him to meld music and education into a highly productive mechanism. Before his work in Columbus, Anderson had served as one of the artistic managers for the Roots, the house band for the “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” He has also spent seven years teaching at the University of Delaware, where he was honored as the Educator of the Year.

“This is a person who worked with this very well-known Grammy Award-winning group, and he decided that as much as he loved that work and the music industry, he also loved teaching, so he went back to education,” Brown said.

Anderson founded The Paragon Project and currently directs that youth music group that focuses on creating and performing music that connects with the social issues of the times, prevention efforts and the overall social-emotional wellness of today's youth.

“Everything he is involved with lends itself very well to inclusion and the journey to belonging,” Brown said. “With our theme being the art of diversity, he is the ideal speaker and we are holding this event in an appropriate venue, the Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. We can maybe get people over to a part of campus they haven't been to before.”

She said that with both in-person and streaming options, the Day of Dialogue will be available to all. For those experiencing the in-person component, all University guidelines regarding distancing and other safety protocols will be followed.

“Our goal should be ambitious, to get us back to the point where we can have a conversation,” Brown said. “We have to move beyond our feelings and look at what is going on externally around us. I'm not saying it's easy, but at BGSU, if we are going to be a public university for the public good, we have to do this.”

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349