Heard on Campus: Michael Eric Dyson

Johnathan White interviews Dr. Michael Eric Dyson on stage at Crossing Bridges: A Summit

Johnathan White, left, interviews Michael Eric Dyson on stage at "Crossing Bridges: A Summit." The summit was held Oct. 27, 2017, at Penn State Greater Allegheny. 

Credit: Penn State

“Move the conversation to creative action. You know, you’ve got to try out those ideas you think about.

“How do you test the durability of democracy? You have a government. It isn’t perfect, but you try to work out differences and you hope that a branch holds another branch accountable — you got the judicial, the legislative, you got the executive. [People] say liberty and justice for all, but you got to figure out how to keep reforming. It’s the same thing with [racial tensions], you got to test it out. You got to go to school and think about it, you got to test it in the classroom, you got to test it in the job.

“Apply locally what you studied globally. Test the durability of your ideas in local forums. Go to a school and teach some young kids. Engage with them. Mentor them.”

— Michael Eric Dyson, author of “Tears We Cannot Stop,” at "Building Bridges: A Summit," held Oct. 27 at Penn State Greater Allegheny.

"Building Bridges: A Summit" brought together local communities with the Greater Allegheny campus to address social needs of the region, but in particular, how to begin bridging racial divides.

The two-day summit engaged campus neighbors, community leaders, faculty, staff and current students to share their opinions, concerns and to hear the viewpoints of others.

On Oct. 28, the conversation continued with panelists and breakout sessions to work on issues stemming from Dyson’s thoughts. During these conversations, actionable ideas were created for the campus to begin integrating into initiatives. 

“The summit will provide the time and opportunity for us to discuss strategies and make plans with community partners that will help us reconsider our curriculum, our role in the community, and our efforts to be more collaborative,” said Jacqueline Edmondson, Penn State Greater Allegheny chancellor and chief academic officer.