COLUMBIA — International Spirit Day will be held Wednesday to raise awareness about anti-gay bullying across the country.
Community members are encouraged to wear purple to remember lives lost because of harassment. The color purple on the rainbow flag represents spirit.
It is also a day to recognize those who fear expressing themselves and who they are.
It is a way to help people who may not know how to recognize the problem, said Ryan Black, coordinator of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Resource Center at MU.
Spirit Day coincides with the second Biannual Mizzou Diversity Summit that also begins Wednesday.
It was a coincidence, rather than planning, that the two events fell on the same day, said Roger L. Worthington, assistant deputy chancellor and chief diversity officer at MU.
“When we realized that Spirit Day would take place on Oct. 20, our opening day, we wanted to make sure participants had an opportunity to do both,” Worthington said.
The summit opens with a town hall meeting at 5 p.m. in Stotler Lounge in Memorial Union. Chancellor Brady Deaton will deliver the state of diversity address, and a panel discussion with questions and answers from the audience will follow. Academic and administrative leaders from across campus will make up the panel.
Created by the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative, the summit is for students, faculty, staff and administrators to get together and engage in dialogue, Worthington said.
To date, 422 participants have registered, including 235 for the town hall.
“It’s really the only time all campus constituents have an opportunity to be in the same room at the same time in dialogue about diversity,” he said.
The summit ends Thursday after a series of workshops and panels. At 4:30 p.m., individuals and groups will be honored with Inclusive Excellence Awards.