Diversity Trainer and Filmmaker to Visit McKendree on Aug. 29

“If These Halls Could Talk” Screening and Discussion is Open to All

Lebanon, Ill. — McKendree University starts off its “Year of Diversity” with the documentary “If These Halls Could Talk” and a discussion with the filmmaker, Lee Mun Wah. It will be held on Thursday, Aug. 29 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts on campus. The event is free and open to the public.

In 2010 and 2011, the director brought together 11 college students from around the country to discuss issues of diversity in higher education. “What emerged changed everyone in the room,” Mun Wah writes on his website, stirfryseminars.com. “In my 20 years as a diversity trainer, filmmaker and educator, I have never witnessed such honesty and depth of feeling, such courage and fear, such truths, so raw and undeniable.” As the students share their stories and different life experiences with each other in the film, they discover and expose the complexity and anguish of trying to be understood and validated in a predominantly white environment.

“From the moment we started filming… I was struck with the honesty of all the students,” Mun Wah said. “(They) talked about how classism and racism intersect, the struggle of whites to talk about their whiteness, trust issues between whites and people of color, what people of color want and don’t want from whites, what makes it unsafe for students of color to be themselves, whites confronting their shame and guilt, being gay on our campuses, and how to create a sense of community in our classrooms and campuses.”

Widely recognized for his films “The Color of Fear” and “Last Chance for Eden,” Mun Wah is the executive director of Stirfry Seminars & Consulting, a California-based diversity training company that provides educational tools and workshops on cross-cultural communication, awareness and conflict mediation. For more than 25 years, he was a resource specialist and counselor in the San Francisco Unified School District.