MTSU to host Feb. 9 panel on overcoming racial prejudice, discrimination

Feb 07, 2023 at 11:38 am by WGNS

The Political Economy Research Institute in MTSU’s Jones College of Business is hosting a special off-campus community event Thursday, Feb. 9, that will bring together Nashville-area business leaders and scholars to engage in personal conversations on societal issues.

As part of the PERI’s Dr. Ming Wang's Cosmopolitan Initiative Lecture Series and in conjunction with MTSU’s Black History Month celebration, this event will feature a diverse slate of speakers united in finding ways to understand and eliminate the barriers that divide society. While sharing their experiences with racism, each panelist explores actionable ways to reach a common ground.


The free event will occur at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, at Redstone Federal Credit Union’s Stones River Room (third floor), 2404 Medical Center Parkway in Murfreesboro. Complimentary pizza and beverages are provided for those who register online at Free parking is available on site.

“We are honored to be able to host such a meaningful conversation to elevate the dialogue on important societal issues that impact our well-being. We especially hope students will take this opportunity to hear from inspiring business leaders and researchers who are working to make a difference,” says PERI Director Daniel Smith, professor of economics at MTSU.

“Learning from Diversity” panel speakers include:

  • Dr. Ming Wang, laser eye surgeon, philanthropist, and founding director of Wang Vision Institute
  • Lee Molette II, principal at Frank Stanton Developers, founder of The Table Action group
  • Sandra Lee, senior media strategist at Salem Music Network, executive director, Hispanic Organization of Leaders and Achievers
  • Donovan Robertson, co-founder of Community Capital Investment Group and former Fisk University professor
  • Dr. Howard Henderson, founding director of the Center for Justice Research and professor of Justice Administration at Texas Southern University, and MTSU criminal justice alumnus

The event panel moderator for the discussion is Kip Dodson, principal of Dodson Management Consulting, co-founder and board member of Empower Local, and board member of the Tennessee Immigrant and Minority Business Group.

Prior to the organization of this panel series, Dodson and Robertson originally sat down to discuss the problems of racism. They agreed that “we want to eliminate the barriers that divide us… So how do we do it?” Their initial conversation led to the development of an outline of solutions to overcome such barriers. From that idea, the network of speakers grew, with more possible solutions to curtail prejudice and discrimination.

In addition to the “Learning from Diversity” event, MTSU’s commemoration of Black History Month provides a monthlong schedule offering films, awards, fashion, music, panel discussions and talks.

“We’re excited for this opportunity to commemorate Black History Month with a very honest and empowering conversation in our community,” said event organizer Brian Delaney, program director for the PERI at MTSU. “Our students at the PERI come from all over the world, so we take pride in planning events that celebrate the rich culture of diversity on campus.”

Stay up to date with the latest MTSU student programs and community events hosted by the Political Economy Research Institute on social media on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter. Visit or email for more information.

About the lecture series

The purpose of this series is to promote civil dialogue on the economic, philosophical, and political benefits of an interconnected, tolerant, and cosmopolitan world. The series features academic scholars exploring the role of global trade, immigration, and de-escalation in establishing a more peaceful and prosperous future for humanity.

Previous PERI lectures presented with support from Dr. Ming Wang's lecture series include "Exploring Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration," with professor Bryan Caplan; "The State of the Liberal Project: The Struggle for a Better World," with professor Peter Boettke; "Seeking Common Ground in U.S. and China Trade," with Dr. Ming Wang; and "Debating Democracy: Do We Need More or Less?" with professor Jason Brennan.

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