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Office of Diversity Programs and Services

Office of Diversity Programs and Services

2018 Annual Legacy/Diversity Forum

Carlos Andrés Gómez


Carlos Andrés Gómez is an award-winning poet, speaker, actor, and author of the memoir Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood, released by Penguin Random House. A star of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, TV One’s Verses and Flow, and Spike Lee’s #1 movie Inside Man with Denzel Washington, you may know him from his viral poems, “Where are you really from?” and “What Latino Looks Like,” which have garnered millions of views online. Carlos recently partnered with John Legend for Senior Orientation, a program to counteract bullying and champion inclusive masculinity among high school students. He’s a proud Latino and father.  

History and background of the Legacy Banquet & CSU Diversity Conference


The CSU Diversity Conference began in 2012 as a partnership between the Mayors Commission on Diversity and Unity (formally One Columbus) and Columbus State University. The brainchild of Dr. Florence Wakoko, Professor of Sociology at CSU, the goal was to create a platform to engage the Columbus community and CSU in serious, and sometimes difficult dialogue concerning issues of diversity, poverty and inequality

Moving forward, the conference has merged with Columbus State University's Legacy Celebration to form the annual CSU Diversity Forum to take. This important partnership will continue to work with supporters and groups within the community namely in conjunction with the Mayors Commission on Diversity and Unity, to discuss a broad range of issues reflecting the diverse lives of many throughout the Columbus region in regards to race, religion, gender, sexuality, disability, education, nationality, poverty, and privilege.

As part of the Diversity Forum the 2018 Legacy Celebration, hosted by the Office of Diversity Programs and Services, will celebrate its 7th anniversary. The Legacy Celebration Banquet highlights diversity as a campus priority and the necessity for maintaining institutional excellence. Students are recognized for their efforts in continuing the legacy of inclusion, celebrating diversity and educating others through their hard work, volunteerism, and leadership. The goal is to help realize a better world and future for all. In addition, the awards process, event, and publicity showcases campus diversity achievements and best practices to internal and external audiences and enables students, faculty and staff to communicate and document their achievements.

Chrisette Michele is a Grammy Award winning R&B and soul singer-songwriter.

Michele grew up in Patchogue, located in the Long Island area of New York and led gospel choirs in high school. She attended Five Towns College in Dix Hills, New York, and graduated with a vocal performance degree.

Michele's debut album, I Am, was released in June 2007 on Motown Records. The album's lead single "If I Have My Way" charted at number twenty-four on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. In December 2007, "Be OK" was released as the third single, garnering Michele a Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in 2009.


A singer, songwriter and actress, Michele guest starred as herself in The CW's Girlfriends in 2008. She also wrote a song for Tyler Perry's House of Payne titled "I've Gotta Love Jones". That year, Michele embarked on a nationwide co-headlining tour with fellow soul singer Raheem DeVaughn called the Art of Love Tour; Solange Knowles served as the opening act.

Following the tour, Michele began recording for her second album, Epiphany. The album’s title track was released as the lead single and marked Michele's first solo entry to the Billboard Hot 100. Released in May 2009, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 83,000 copies in its opening week.

After the release of Epiphany, Michele started working on her third studio album, Let Freedom Reign. The album features Michele performing hip-hop, R&B, as well as the dance-pop influenced "So Cool". In November 2010, her first mixtape Love Thy Brother was released, followed by her second mixtape titled Audrey Hepburn: An Audiovisual Presentation, released in 2012.

In 2013, Michele released her fourth album Better, which featured collaborations with rappers such as 2 Chainz and Wale. The album spawned two charting singles, "Charades," followed by the second single "A Couple of Forevers" and debuted at number 12 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. Better was nominated at the 2014 Grammy Awards for Best R&B Album.

In 2014, Chrisette Michelle joined the cast of R&B Divas LA for its second season, but ultimately decided to leave the show to focus solely on her music. She began recording again, collaborating with Blickie Blaze, from Four Kings Productions, and releasing The Lyricist's Opus for digital download.

Michele has been featured on several hip hop albums, including The Game's album LAX, Jay-Z's Kingdom Come, Nas' Hip Hop Is Dead and Ghostface Killah's The Big Doe Rehab.

Michele will release her fifth studio album Out of Control via her label Rich Hipster in April 2018.


View some of our past celebrations

Interested in Sponsoring?

Diversity Forum Schedule

Time Activity
8:00-8:15am Welcome and Introduction University Welcome City of Columbus Remarks
Welcome and introduce Snyder Remarks
8:30-10:30am QEP/Diversity
Courageous Conversations: Political Discourse in the Current Climate
10:45-12:00pm Breakout Sessions

Concurrent Workshop A: Curvy Body, Curly Hair and Self Acceptance
Presenter: Chrisette Michele
Location: Theater 209

Curvy Body: The Time My Stylist Wrapped My Body in Duck Tape from Head to Toe
-What the industry thinks of our bodies
-She can be “thick” but only in the “right places”

Curly Hair: The Time My Stylist Told Me “If I Went Natural, the Industry Would Dis-own Me”
-We’re harder on each other then other races
-Why natural hair is a movement
-Why hair choices become divisive

Self Acceptance: Becoming My Own Champion by Taking on My Own Body and Hair
-How I changed the way the industry looked at natural hair
-Enjoying fashion and celebrating your truth
-That time I wore a bathing suit on the cover of Ebony Magazine
-Owning my style and it’s many changes

Concurrent Workshop B: Diversity & Social Justice
Presenter: Carlos Andrés Gómez
Location: Main Ballroom, Blanchard Hall
Carlos will guide the group through an exploration of social identity through intersectional lens, examining how race, gender, sexuality, class, and other identities frame and impact our lives. The workshop will be centered on courageous dialogue and personal narrative, structuring the session around interactive exchange and thoughtful discourse as a means of breaking down walls and building understanding across lines of indifference.

Concurrent Workshop C: LGBT Breakout
Location: Classroom 215
12:15-1:00pm Lunch
1:00-1:05pm Introduction of the Keynote
1:05-2:00pm Chrisette Michele
The Art of Acceptance & The Freedom of Communication
It’s not always easy to start conversations with people who may not look like us or have the same culture as us. It’s often a little intimidating to find the right words or word choices with new people. Whether it’s sexual orientation, race, gender, education, work or culture and community, diversity can be challenging. Accepting others and communicating with them isn’t always easy.
In this diversity workshop and talk the following topics will be covered and discussed:
Being yourself
How to find a safe-space / safe-person to ask questions and learn from
How to experience events and absorb other communities
Giving yourself permission to be okay with what you like and don’t like
How to be honest with yourself and others about your opinions and thoughts
2:00pm Close

Thank You to our Sponsors!


Aflac Columbus State University


Waffle House


Buffalo Rock United Coco Cola CSU Bookstore


Columbus, Ga Chamber of Commerce Tri-City Latino Festival The Wade Companies