MSSC promotes local BIPOC businesses

Building Unity and Inspired Leaders of the Diaspora (B.U.I.L.D.) held its first annual event to help URI students reach BIPOC employers, leaders and organizations. PHOTO CREDIT: Hannah Charron | Staff Photographer

On Wednesday, April 20, the Multicultural Student Services Center and the Center for Career and Experiential Education held the first annual “Building Unity and Inspired Leaders of the Diaspora,” (B.U.I.L.D.) event, to create a bridge between University of Rhode Island students and BIPOC employers, leaders and local organizations.

This event was in the form of a career fair located in the Hope Room of the Higgins Welcome Center that started at 6:30 p.m. and went until 8:30 p.m. 

Attendees were met by advisors from the Career Center who handed out name tags and an event program. The attendees then proceeded to the Hope Room where they were offered light refreshments and the main event.

The welcome address was made by Kristy Embrack Searles, the marketing and event coordinator at URI.

“We have local leaders in the building from our greater community,” Searles said. “We have here champions for diversity, equity, inclusion, access and amongst our own faculty and staff right here at URI.” 

Searles discussed the various programs and members of the community who were participating in the evening.

“We’re here to build because diversity drives innovation and when we limit who can contribute, we in turn limit the problems that we can solve,” Searles said. 

Robert W. Britto-Oliveira, assistant director of the Multicultural Student Services Center, gave opening remarks. 

“A lot of the work I do is directly with multicultural student organizations, advising them, mentoring them, guiding them and hearing what their needs are,” Britto-Oliveira said. “One of those [needs] is to make sure you are successful after graduation. We are present and we are a resource for that.”

He later mentioned how representation in higher education and the workforce matters and that the two centers were beyond excited to create a space for URI students and BIPOC employers, leaders and local organizations to meet, make valuable connections and “build.”

“The purpose of tonight is to create a safe space for BIPOC scholars to come together and be their authentic selves with people who understand the journey and people who have been through it already,” Britto-Oliveira said. 

The evening included 18 representatives from various organizations and careers. These featured people from healthcare fields, people from nonprofits, people from government and local organizations, people from the Tomaquag Museum and various URI faculty and staff. 

Anitra Galmore is the vice president, chief nursing officer and chief operating officer for South County Health. She has over 25 years of healthcare experience and oversees and leads global operations for the health system in its continuing efforts to improve patient care and operational efficiencies. 

“Find your purpose and something you are passionate about,” Galmore said. “Be intentional in the research of your potential career, do your homework on market trends, stay focused and find balance in your personal and professional goals. Your only limitation is you.”

U.S. Marshal Wing Chau of the Rhode Island District was also present. He is the first Chinese-American U.S. Marshal.

As Marshal, Chau is responsible for United States Marshals Service operations in Rhode Island’s five counties, encompassing over twelve hundred square miles of land and a population of over one million people. Additionally, he leads and directs operations that includes the security and protection of the United States Courts and its judges, criminal investigations, fugitive apprehension, execution of federal court orders and other law enforcement activities.

“Never compromise commitment and integrity,” was his advice to URI students. 

At the end of the event, students were asked to fill out a short QR code survey of their experience.