Journalism Student, Faculty Member Recognized for Diversity Efforts

University of Mississippi journalism lecturer Robin Street and members of her student committee received a second honor in a month for their Diversity Rocks campaign. Street received the faculty Diversity Award and public policy major Ray Mays received the student Diversity Award at the annual Black and White Affair. The student committee members received special certificates. Pictured, left to right are (front row) student committee members Ignacio Murillo and Molly Jarabica, along with student winner Mays. Back row: Kaylen Addison, ASB director of diversity affairs, who presented the awards, stands with committee member Jajuan McNeil, Street and committee member Kristie Warino.

OXFORD, Miss. – For the second time in a month, a University of Mississippi journalism faculty member has been honored for her commitment to diversity, along with a student who is working to promote racial dialogue at Ole Miss.

Robin Street, lecturer in journalism who specializes in teaching public relations classes, received the faculty Diversity Award for a campaign she created called “Diversity Rocks” for the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. “Diversity Rocks” celebrated diversity, whether through ethnic origin, sexual orientation or disability, with an emphasis on anti-bullying. Street was aided by a 14-member committee of public relations students who were also recognized at the award ceremony.Ray Mays, a public policy major from Darling, Miss., received the student Diversity Award for his work with One Mississippi, a student coalition that promotes social integration. As director of dialogue for the group, Mays organizes dialogue meetings between members of different races and cultures to ensure every student feels welcomed and respected.

“The selfless work that Robin and Ray have done to promote diversity in their roles as faculty and student has not gone unnoticed and the selection committee members felt that their hard work should be acknowledged and celebrated,” said Valeria Beasley Ross, assistant dean of students for multicultural affairs and volunteer services.

The awards were given by the Black Student Union, Associated Student Body and the Office of Dean of Students/Multicultural Affairs at the Black and White Affair, an annual celebration of diversity. Kaylen Addison, ASB director of diversity affairs, and BSU Vice President Lauren Wright co-presented the awards.

“The very first line of the UM Creed calls for respect for the dignity of each person, and we want to encourage this and live it out,” Addison said. “The people who advocate diversity can make such large impacts on people’s lives. It is important to showcase these people and show that their actions are amazing and should be encouraged.”

The Black and White event began as a way to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the integration of the university, a fact that Street found especially poignant because her father, George Street, was a university administrator during that time.

“Because of the hatred my father observed during the integration of the university, racial reconciliation became very important to him in the last years of his life,” Street said. “He would have been delighted to learn that some 50 years later, his daughter was continuing his efforts.”

Mays expressed his honor at receiving the award, but urged students to continue to do more.

“I would like to thank and dedicate the award to every student on campus who fights for the inclusiveness of all people,” Mays said. “Each day, I hope we strive to promote diversity in every way.”

Students who have been working for diversity include Street’s 14 committee members, all from Mississippi, who received special certificates at the event. They are Macey Baird of Jackson; Lauren Childers, Booneville; Kimbrely Dandridge, Senatobia; Artesha Dunning, Gulfport; Locke Houston, Aberdeen; Molly Jarabica, Vicksburg; Lindsay Jordan, Brandon; Emily Laird, Columbus; Leighanne Lockett, Olive Branch; Ignacio Murillo, Horn Lake; Bud Taylor, Sardis; Kristie Warino, Kiln; and Poinesha Barnes and Jajuan McNeil, both of Oxford.

For more information on the Black and White event and multicultural affairs at UM, contact the Office of the Dean of Students/Multicultural Affairs and Volunteer Services at 662-915-7247.