OTTUMWA — The keynote speakers have been chosen and the breakout sessions are being put together for the 13th Annual Diversity Conference at Indian Hills Community College next month. The one-day conference will take place on Friday, March 10, on the IHCC Ottumwa campus.
This year’s keynote speakers will be former Los Angeles Times photojournalist Don Bartletti (“The Roads Most Travelled: Migration for Survival”), as well as author and advocate Joan Becker (“Sentenced to Life: The Mark Becker Story – Mental Illness, Tragedy & Transformation”).
Bartletti will share touching pictures and real-life stories of the Central American people and families he has gotten to know throughout his time as a photojournalist, including the decisions made by them and how it resulted in migration for survival.
Joan Becker’s story includes an unimaginable tragedy when her son Mark shot and killed Ed Thomas, the Aplington-Parkersburg football coach, in 2009. She will share the family’s story about Mark and the experience they had of coping with his paranoid schizophrenia in the hope that it will help others understand how they can make a difference in moving forward and improving our mental health system.
A number of interesting and pertinent breakout sessions with a variety of topics to choose from will also be offered.
The conference will take place in St. John Auditorium on the Ottumwa campus. Early registration through March 1 is $30, with early student registration $5. After March 1, regular registration is $40 and student registration is $10. Area K-12 students are exempt from the fee – please email Ashley.Albertson@indianhills.edu for more information on how to register if you are a K-12 student.
Lunch is included with all registrations and will be catered by Market On Main. Sponsors for this event include: Iowa Department of Education, Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, US Bank, Great Prairie Area Education Agency, Humanities Iowa & the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Indian Hills Community College. For more information please visit www.indianhills.edu/diversity.