The WeLead: Diversity Matters Student Leadership Symposium is a one-day experience designed to broaden participants cultural competency and leadership knowledge. WeLead is open and free to all FAU students and includes keynote speakers, several break out sessions and opportunities to interact with peers, faculty, and staff.
WeLead was held on Saturday, January 27, 2018 in the Student Union on the Boca Raton Campus.
Rosa Clemente, a native of the South Bronx, is one of the most raw, honest, political, social, and cultural voices in the country. From Harvard to prisons, Rosa has spent her life dedicated to scholar activism. She is currently a doctoral student in the W.E.B. Dubois department of UMASS-Amherst. Throughout her scholarly career, Rosa has been a constant on the ground presence through the many political struggles facing Black and Latinx people in the 21st century.
Rosa is the president and founder of Know Thy Self Productions, which has produced four major community activism tours and consults on issues such as Hip-Hop activism, media justice, voter engagement among youth of color, third party politics, intercultural relations between Black and Latinx, immigrants’ rights as an extension of human rights, and universal healthcare. She is a frequent guest on television, radio and online media, as her opinion on critical current events is widely sought after.
As the co-founder and coordinator of the first ever National Hip-Hop Political Convention, Rosa helped bring together more than 3000 activists to create and implement a national political agenda for the Hip-Hop generation. She also co-founded the R.E.A.C.Hip-Hop Coalition, a Hip-Hop generation based media justice organization.
Rosa ran for Green Party Vice President in the 2008 U.S. election. Along with Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, the pair became the first women of color ticket in American History.
A nationally leading activist-scholar practitioner and educator, with extensive experience in education and diversity issues, Dr. Michael Benitez is known for his down-to-earth insightful commentary and critical perspectives on social and cultural issues, and his innovative practice and transformative work on equity and inclusion in higher education. Dr. Benitez has served higher education in different capacities over the last two decades, including academic and student affairs, equity and inclusion, Title IX, and teaching.
A highly sought out speaker and workshop leader at conferences and colleges across the nation, he has authored book chapters and articles on identity, hip hop culture, cultural centers, cultural and ethnic studies, institutional research and campus climates, and supporting faculty of color. Issues Benitez addresses include social justice education, equity and inclusion, diversity and multiculturalism, intercultural development, identity formation, race and ethnic relations, knowledge representation and production, youth and leadership development, and critical pedagogy and praxis.
Dr. Benitez completed both his B.S. and M.Ed. at the Pennsylvania State University, where he worked with and helped revive and strengthen the University’s College Assistance Migrant Program, and holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from Iowa State University School of Education, where he helped revamp the curriculum for Iowa State’s Conference on Race and Ethnicity (ISCORE).
Informed partly by his poetry and love for spoken word, and as Director of Diversity Initiatives and Social Justice at Dickinson College, Dr. Benitez established the Diversity Monologues: An ongoing annual program aimed at highlighting the creative talents of students while addressing diversity and social justice- a program he has helped implement and shape at multiple institutions.
Currently, Dr. Benitez serves as the Dean of Diversity and Inclusion/ Chief Diversity Officer, as well as their Title IX Officer, at the University of Puget Sound, providing leadership over the coordination, implementation, and assessment of operational and strategic goals related to diversity strategic planning and institutional efforts to foster and sustain an equitable and inclusive campus climate.