Free Morning Keynote: Race, Gender & Identity in the Workplace featuring Jane Elliott and Roland S. Martin

Topic Areas: Special Events

March 3, 2017 - 8:30am - 10:30am
Hill Auditorium, 825 N University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

As part of the 35th Annual Women of Color Task Force Career Conference, please join us for an engaging discussion on Race, Gender & Identity in the Workplace featuring Ms. Jane Elliott, Diversity Scholar and Pioneer, Mr. Roland S. Martin, Host & Managing Editor of News One Now, moderated by Professor Robin Means Coleman.

All U-M staff, faculty, students and the public, regardless of gender or ethnicity, are invited to attend this event.


  • Live Stream: To view the livestream of the keynote at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, March 3rd, please click here:
    The livestream will be uploaded to our YouTube afterward.
  • Keynote Registrants Only: This morning keynote address is free and open to the public, however registration is requested for those not attending the 1-day WCTF conference.
  • Conference Registrants Only: This morning keynote address is included with all paid conference registrations. If you are already planning to register for the WCTF conference, you do not need to register for the keynote separately, as it is included in your paid registration. Registration for the 1-day WCTF conference is now closed.



Jane Elliott has been teaching her "Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes" groundbreaking anti-racist group social exercise for over thirty-six years, working to make people permanently more empathetic and sensitive to the problem of racism. Called "an emotionally significant and life-changing experience" by those who have been through it, the Pulitzer Prize-winning psychiatrist and author Dr. Robert Coles deems it "the greatest thing to come out of American education in a hundred years.”

Elliott started the exercise in her third-grade classroom in all-white, all-Christian Riceville, Iowa, immediately after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and has since repeated it with dramatic results for both children and adults throughout the country. Feeling it wasn't enough to just choose not to go along with racism, she believed it was necessary to take an active role by protesting remarks, advertising, politics and racist behaviors.

“Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes” has been the subject of several television documentaries, including ABC’s The Eye of the Storm, which won the Peabody Award, and A Class Divided, which dealt with the long-term impact of the exercise. Her work with adults and was broadcast nationally on the PBS Frontline series. Florida Public Television produced The Eye of the Beholder, which dealt with adults and their reactions to discrimination. Both the latter films have received Emmy Awards.

In addition, Elliott’s work has been written up in many psychology and social studies texts, numerous magazine articles, and is the subject of a book, A Class Divided, Then and Now. Her film, A Class Divided, has been used with high school students in South Africa to teach the anatomy of prejudice and the effects of racism on both the perpetrators and the victims.

Elliott is a recipient of the National Mental Health Association Award for Excellence in Education. She has been a guest lecturer at numerous colleges, universities, and corporations, and has appeared on a wide variety of television shows, including 60 Minutes, Oprah, and Today. Counselors, student program administrators, corporate trainers and psychologists all benefit from her program.

Today, Elliott says she sees the same racist attitudes all over the world, but she still is fighting the fact that "discrimination and its effects are the same no matter where you find them."

Over the course of a journalistic career that has seen him interview news-makers ranging from multiple U.S. presidents to the top athletes and entertainers in Hollywood, Roland S. Martin is a journalist who has always maintained a clear sense of his calling in this world. Martin is the host and managing editor of TV One’s News One Now, the first daily morning news program in history to focus on news and analysis of politics, entertainment, sports and culture from an explicitly African American perspective. News One Now airs weekdays on TV One at 9AM/ET.

Martin is also the creator and host of The Roland Martin Show, a daily syndicated radio broadcast in 20 markets across the country; a nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate and The Daily Beast; as well as senior analyst for the Tom Joyner Morning Show, where his daily segment is heard on more than 100 stations by 8 million people.

Honored with the 2013 National Association of Black Journalists' (NABJ) Journalist of the Year Award, Martin is a two-time winner of the NAACP Image Award and has received more than 40 professional media awards, as well as honors by numerous organizations for his contributions to the media. Martin spent six years as a CNN Contributor, and as a member of the network's "Best Political Team on Television" he earned the esteemed Peabody Award (2009) for his 2008 Presidential Election coverage. Roland has been named three times to Ebony Magazine's 150 Most Influential African Americans list and was also named one of the Top 50 Political Pundits by the Daily Telegraph in the United Kingdom. Martin is the author of three books: Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith; Speak, Brother! A Black Man’s View of America; and The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as originally reported by Roland S. Martin.

Moderator - Robin R. Means Coleman is a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies. She is an Associate Dean in the Rackham Graduate School. Prof. Coleman is the author of Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present (2011, Routledge) and African-American Viewers and the Black Situation Comedy: Situating Racial Humor (2000, Routledge). She is the co-author of Intercultural Communication for Everyday Life (2014, Wiley-Blackwell). Prof. Coleman is the editor of Say It Loud! African American Audiences, Media, and Identity (2002, Routledge) and co-editor of Fight the Power! The Spike Lee Reader (2008, Peter Lang). She is also the author of a number of other academic and popular publications. Her research and commentary has been featured in a variety of international and national media outlets. Her current research focuses on the NAACP’s participation in media activism.

Prof. Coleman is the recipient of the John Dewey Award (UM), the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Award (UM), the UROP Outstanding Mentor Award (UM), the National Communication Association AACCD & the Black Caucus Scholar Award for Publishing, the New York University Teaching Excellence Award, and the Chatham College Alumnae “Cornerstone” Award.


For additional information or inquiries please contact the CEW office at 734-764-6005.

Thank you for your continued support of the Women of Color Task Force.


CEW extends special thanks to TIAA-CREF, our Platinum Plus corporate sponsor for its generous support of the Women of Color Task Force Conference.