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Here’s the University Y’s Spring Friday Forum lineup

The University Y‘s Friday Forum series this semester is “The Digital Mis(Shaping) of the World” and features a pretty rad line-up of speakers. All lectures are at noon on Fridays, and are free and open to the public. This semester’s lectures will be on Zoom and Facebook Live.

You may also request a sign language interpreter, or catch the forum on the radio through WEFT. Details are below.

University Y’s Spring 2021 Friday Forum Presents “The Digital Mis(Shaping) of the World”

The Spring 2021 Friday Forum series “The Digital Mis(Shaping) of the World” at the University YMCA will highlight how technology is not only shaping but also misshaping our world. In the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, many of us are using technology more than ever before. The world of technology opens many doors for global connection, but does it also come with consequences? With growing digital interactions, there is a greater need to more deeply understand the intersections between technology and race, class, privacy, education, faith and public health. How these intersections impact our everyday experiences, as well as what might happen within these intersections looking forward, are critical for us to consider. Friday Forum lectures will be held via Zoom and Facebook Live and are open to the public.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our everyday lives in a multitude of forms. A universal difference for so many of us has been the growing use of technology and the opportunities it presents,” said Griselda Escobedo, the University Y’s Capacity Building AmeriCorps VISTA and Friday Forum Coordinator. “We wanted to focus on those opportunities for this semester’s Friday Forum series, and give a space to talk about both the pros and cons of these opportunities. Considering how technology intersects with race, class, art, privacy, education, and public health is crucial as our utilization and reliance on technology increases.”

Speakers and topics for the spring series will include:

  • February 12 – “#DigitalFaith – Keeping the Faith Remotely”, Sable Manson of The University of Southern California.
  • February 19 – “Disrupting Disinformation”, Miriam Larson of Independent Media Center.
  • February 26 – “Technology and Data for Positive Social Impact”, Lauren Haynes of Code for America.
  • March 5 – “The Intersection of Black Culture and Technology”, Lamont Holden of TheLetterLBeats.
  • March 12 – “Algorithms of Oppression – Data Discrimination”, Safiya Noble of The University of California Los Angeles.
  • March 19 – “How Data is Used in Immigrant Surveillance and Management”, Daniel Gonzalez of The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • March 26 – “Exploring Equity and Power in Online Learning Environments”, Virginia Byrne of Morgan State University.
  • April 2– “U.S. Youth and Media Migration”, Aimee Rickman of California State University.

This series was made possible thanks to the generous support of our partners: Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program, Social Action Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign, Urbana Champaign Friends Meeting, The Center for Global Studies, First Mennonite Church of Champaign-Urbana, University of Illinois School of Social Work.

For more information, please visit:

A sign language interpreter is available with a 72 hours notice (contact us at 217-337-1500). All forums are radio broadcast at 6:00 p.m. on WEFT 90.1 the Wednesday following the lecture. Urbana Public Television also provides recordings of past Friday Forum lectures on their YouTube channel.

Top image from the University Y’s Facebook page.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect additional accessibility options.


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