Guest speaker Ricardo Nazario y Colón speaks at the Asanbe Diversity Symposium. HASSAN TAYLOR | THE ALL STATE

Co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets and author of the poetry compilation “Of Jíbaros and Hillbillies,” Ricardo Nazario y Colón delivered a keynote lecture during this year’s Asanbe Diversity Symposium at Austin Peay.

Colón, who has a doctorate in educational leadership and serves as chief diversity officer at Western Carolina University, spoke on his findings that defied a “racially homogenized rural region” in the Appalachian portion of West Virginia.

He later participated in a panel discussion at the Wilbur N. Daniel African American Cultural Center.

Mia King, a senior in the women’s and gender studies department, said the event’s focus was on accepting differences among others.

“People want to know each other, but we have to get past what is keeping us from knowing each other,” she said. “And I think that a lot of times we say we want to know, but we have a hard time getting past those things that make us different from really being able to get to know each other.”

APSU’s department of languages and literature sponsored the symposium, which began in 1997. Its name is in honor of Joseph Asanbe, the first professor of African and African-American literature at the university.