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Conversation Café


Please join us this fall as Diversity & Social Justice Education (Conversation Café) partners once again with the University YMCA (Friday Forum) for Our Community in Action:  Advancing Social Justice in Champaign-Urbana and Beyond.  We will be hearing from community leaders tackling our most pressing public concerns through an unwavering pursuit of social justice. 

This series will take place on most Fridays during fall semester, from Noon - 1:00 PM, at the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St., Champaign, IL.

How to Participate in Conversation Cafe/Friday Forum Online:

Registration is required, but once registered attendees can attend any of the sessions.  No passcode is required.

A free lunch will be offered to attendees.

This series is radio broadcast at 6:00 PM on WEFT 90.1, the Wednesday following the lecture.  Urbana Public Television also provides recordings of past lectures on their YouTube channel.

To view past presentations:

Conversation Café is part of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs,  Lunch on Us series and is paid for in part, by the Student Cultural Programming Fee (SCPF).  

To request disability-related accommodations, please contact A sign language interpreter is available within 72 hours of notice (contact the University YMCA at (217) 337-1500.  

Friday, September 16, 2022 

Gloria Yen, Director of the New American Welcome Center - Welcoming Immigrants in Champaign County

Are you a visionary? A storyteller? A healer? A disrupter? The work of advancing social justice requires the joint energy of a myriad of roles illuminated in the Building Movement Project’s Social Change Ecosystem Map. Join the New American Welcome Center to learn how our community has created an ecosystem to advance immigrant justice, and find a way to bring the work of advancing equitable access, economic opportunity, and meaningful belonging in spaces you are part of.



Friday, September 23, 2022 

Kofi Bazzell-Smith - AZUKI!  Manga as a Bridge Between Cultures

See also Art @ the Y exhibition on view August 15 - October 22, 2022.


 Friday, September 30, 2022

Dementro Powell & Carlton Cummings - We are Here!:  Cultivating Belonging for our Queer Students of Color at Illinois

Join Dementro Powell, Director of Community Development and Community Engagement (UIPD), and Dr. Carlton Cummings (Counseling Center) for a conversation about "We Are Here," the inaugural block party for queer people of color at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. We will speak on the importance of community building, affirmation, pride, resilience, and most of all joy, within our queer and trans communities of color.

 Friday, October 7, 2022

Anthony Brown - I Go On Singing:  Paul Robeson's Life in his Word and Song, accompanied by Phillip De Luna

Friday, October 14, 2022

Rev. Michael Crosby & Rev. Terrance Thomas - Faith and Race in Building Local Coalitions for Justice

Friday, October 21, 2022

Jacqueline Kalipeni - Neighborhood Ambassadores Program

Friday, October 28, 2022

Sam Smith - Juvenile Justice in Champaign County:  A Wicked Possibility (Session 1)

Friday, November 4, 2022

Sam Smith - Juvenile Justice in Champaign County:  A Wicked Possibility  (Session 2)

Friday, November 11, 2022

Tracy Dace - Keep HOPE Alive! We Can Prevent Violence in Champaign County