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Diversity Programs and Services

Diversity Programs & Services

2020 Annual Legacy/Diversity Forum

Important dates:

Legacy Celebration: Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 6pm-9pm
Diversity Conference: Thursday, March 26, 2020, 9am-4pm

Diversity Forum Schedule (Coming Soon)


Cara E. Yar Khan

Cara E. Yar Khan

At age 30, in the first decade of her humanitarian career with the United Nations, Cara was diagnosed with a rare muscle wasting disease that leads to quadriplegia, a devastating condition for which there is no treatment or cure. Rather than letting it quiet her, Cara who is also a woman of color and of a religious minority family, set off even bolder, proud to be a part of human diversity, to break down the endless barriers she now faces. In her ten years working around the world with United Nations in Ecuador, Panama, China, Angola, Madagascar, Mozambique, Thailand, and Haiti, Cara was the first person with a severe physical impairment to serve in a UNICEF Emergency Operation when stationed in Haiti for two years after the devastating 2010 earthquake that killed more than 500,000 people and displaced 1.3 million Haitians. Video:

In an industry where women with disabilities are not only underrepresented in making movies, but also starring in them, Cara is presently producing a feature documentary film about her life. This feature film‘s story, produced by Sam Pollard (2x Academy Award nominee), follows Cara on a daring 12-day expedition through Grand Canyon on a wild Mustang horse and rafting over 150 miles of white water. The film tells the story of a woman’s lifelong devotion to helping others and how when struck by a devastating disease, breaks down the barriers that try to keep her from fulfilling her calling to serve others.

Cara has helped put a face on disability and teach companies what a lost business opportunity it is not to include people with disabilities, the largest minority in the USA, accounting for 25% of the population. With her active engagement with the private sector and in the community, Cara is helping people identify their unconscious biases that exclude all minorities, while teaching them how to make conscious decisions to include people with disabilities. Cara shines a spotlight on the intersection of issues facing this shunned community, which transcend every ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, gender, and socio-economic segment, in a way that people not only change their attitudes after hearing her speak, but also their behavior. Cara has an innate power to positively influence anyone she comes in contact with.

MSNBC’s Break Glass series featured Cara in a short film called, With muscles wasting, fighting the Stigma of Disability:


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. 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.


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