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April 5th: To the Leadership…

What messages or recommendations do you have for the University Leadership?

April 5th: Going forward…

What one thing that you learned or experienced today will you use to help personally move the diversity’s diversity agenda?

April 5th: Key Learnings?

What did you learn or experience today that you did not know or experience before?

William Julius Wilson’s Keynote address on October 2nd

“Race and Affirmative Opportunity in the Barack Obama Era”
What did you think?

We Wear the Mask

by Paul Lawrence Dunbar

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,–
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

Dunbar, P. L. (n.d.) We wear the mask. Public Relations Office of the University of Dayton. Retrieved May 7, 2009 from

During my childhood someone always recited the preceding poem, at various celebrations, talent shows, competitions, and sometimes in unison as the finale of a major event. For me the poem held such fond memories of pride.

Then I discovered this poem screams the painful reality when one is considered “the other” and feels outcast because of heredity, physical abilities, identity, and even divergent thought. Unknowingly a colleague reminded me of this poem as they unloaded their frustration toward their need to “wear the mask”.

I welcome you to comment on the subject of wearing the mask in 2009.

Sally Ellis Fletcher, MSN, NP
School of Nursing