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The value of diversity

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By John Pawlak

“The challenges and opportunities that confront Mississippi and the nation demand creative and innovative responses if we are to realize the potential that the future holds for our citizens. Our best hope for increased prosperity, health and quality of life for all lies in our ability to take advantage of the full range of talents and perspectives available to us.”

Those were the opening words to the “2010 Diversity Conference” held on March 24 at Mississippi State University to address Mississippi’s desire to enhance its global competitiveness through diversity and education. Good words.  Challenging words.  

Perplexing words given that just two weeks prior to the conference, the Itawamba County School Board in Mississippi announced that it was canceling the upcoming prom in order to prevent a gay student from bringing a same-sex date to the event.  

The school board then openly encouraged parents to organize a private prom that would exclude same-sex partners.  One has to admire the sheer courage displayed by the school board and the parents for the enormity of their dedication towards supporting diversity and education.  


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