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Kesho Scott to give Grinnell College Commencement address on May 28

GRINNELL, Iowa — Kesho Scott,an internationally renowned diversity consultant, award-winning writer, and associate professor of American studies and sociology at Grinnell College, will give the 2021 Commencement address at Grinnell College on Friday, May 28. 

As a published author and speaker, Scott documents and amplifies the cultural experiences of Black women surviving racism, sexism and other life barriers. Scott was a founding member of International Capacity Building Services, a cultural competency training team that specializes in facilitating both “unlearning -isms” and human rights workshops as well various seminars and training programs that have been successfully adapted for audiences throughout the United States and abroad.  

In more than two decades of developing unlearning racism work, Scott has led hundreds of professional and community-based workshops; she has been keynote speaker for national conferences as well as a participant on several dozen national and local radio debates, discussions and public service announcements.   

Grounded in this extensive experience, Scott developed an “affirmative duty” technique for facilitating unlearning racism workshops. This method helps shift participants’ awareness, commitment and skill-sets toward being actively and personally anti-racist and anti-sexist, rather than remaining merely passive observers. 

As an educator, Scott values teaching students to be subjects of their own education. Her classrooms are active places and safe spaces where she challenges students to become thought leaders and to spread positive influence for social justice on campus and beyond. 

In this moment of racial reckoning, Scott is supporting small towns in Iowa and helping the residents see the institutional inequities throughout the United States. She is supporting small towns in their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives — showing them how to have a voice, establish memorials and create change surrounding the deaths of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor and others. To date, Scott has been invited to seven small towns in Iowa and hopes to continue this powerful work across the state.  

Scott’s address, “The Magic of the Red Shoes,” will be a continuation of the exploration of the Wizard of Oz as a truth telling moment. 

2021 Commencement Ceremony  

Grinnell College will host an in-person, outdoor Commencement ceremony for graduating seniors at 10 a.m. Friday, May 28, 2021. In light of current and projected community health conditions, the College will not be able to invite families or guests —— including faculty and staff — or first-year through third-year students to attend this year’s Commencement. The ceremony will be available via livestream so that everyone can share in celebrating our graduates’ tremendous contributions and accomplishments. For questions and updates, please visit or call 641-269-3178. 

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