Given the enthusiastic response to last month’s “A Conversation About Racism” by Dr. Robert Livingston, the Spirit of ’68 Steering Committee is planning a campus discussion about the book that was the basis of his presentation. 

The Conversation: How Seeking and Speaking the Truth About Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations was gifted to all who attended the event.

“Our class established the Spirit of ’68 Endowment to ‘promote, explore and discuss how the values of the Franciscan tradition are relevant today and how they can be applied to the most powerful issues of public importance.’ Dr. Livingston’s presentation exemplified that purpose,” said Jerry DeFrancisco ’68 H’18, Siena’s executive in residence and one of the founding members of the Spirit of ’68 Endowment. “We would like to give the Siena community the opportunity to read and explore the concepts in the book, which were so impressively shared at the Spirit of ’68 event. Dr. Livingston was a wonderful, thought-provoking speaker and the response to his presentation was overwhelmingly positive. It is important that the conversation continue.”

Get a head start on your reading – a date, time and location for the book discussion will be announced soon. February 2023 is looking like the most likely time frame. Copies of The Conversation are still available in the following offices: School of Liberal Arts, School of Business, School of Science, Enrollment Management and the President’s Suite.

Livingston’s October 25 talk mixed statistics with humor and compassion as he explored how racism thrives, and how we can achieve a better society. A Harvard University social psychologist, he researches the science underlying racism and bias, and serves as a diversity consultant for Fortune 500 companies, public sector agencies and nonprofits. 

“This work is my passion, my life’s purpose,” he said. “To bring greater equity to the world. People say ‘Dr. Livingston, tell us what to do,’ but the problem is much more complicated than that. Acknowledging there is a problem is the first step. If you don’t know you have a problem you can’t seek treatment. Awareness first, then commitment.”  

“I felt that Dr. Livingston had incredible insight on the topic of racism and bias in the workplace. He did not deviate from his argument and supported it with facts and data, while also keeping us all interested with his jokes and sense of humor.”

Emily Atassi ’25, Spirit of ’68 Steering Committee member

“He helped us understand that everything takes time; nothing is achieved overnight like many people expect, whether it's as small as losing weight or as big as changing mindsets about racism and tackling it. He also taught us that even though it can take time, nothing is impossible; we can achieve all our targets with hard work and patience.”

Mariam Zulfiqar ’24