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Advocate For Diversity Leads By Example

May 7, 2003 -- Quiet by nature, H. Timothy Lovelace knows there are times to stand up and let your voice be heard.

When the University community struggled after a racially motivated attack against another student was reported earlier this year, Lovelace told students, faculty and staff at a Feb. 26 meeting that silence about race relations ends up being apathy.

Diversity, however, isn’t limited to race, and Lovelace has been involved in a variety of activities over his four years at U.Va. Although he considered majoring in engineering, having attended the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School in Science and Technology, he chose politics instead.

He has been active in the University Democrats and the Black Student Alliance and has practiced with the women’s basketball team, an experience he described as “unique and phenomenal.”

This year he has lived on the Lawn and served as the student representative on the U.Va. Board of Visitors. At the board’s April meeting, which was Lovelace’s final, board members gave him a standing ovation for his work with the group.

“The board sought to include me in discussions, even outside of student affairs. They treated me as a peer. It speaks to their character.”

He said he is grateful for the support friends and administrators have given him, including board members. “I’ve been challenged intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, and it has helped me in trying to become a better person,” he said.

Although he believes the University’s responses to recent events will improve the diversity climate on the institutional level, he said changing behavior is up to each person.

People need to understand that “racial hatred and injustice are moral problems,” he said at the February meeting.

Because minorities may not be considered part of the mainstream culture and society, being marginalized can cause them to question their own identity. He has experienced the subtle and not-so-subtle moments where latent racism surfaces — like finding himself the only African American in a discussion and being looked to as a spokesman for his race, like walking alone at night and seeing another lone walker clutch her pocketbook as he approaches.

He challenged the University community to work together to fight racism and “channel emotions into productive actions.” It is a call he himself is still following. Lovelace plans to attend U.Va.’s School of Law this fall, and his hopes are eventually to work on improving public education policy.

Contact: Lee Graves, (434) 924-6857

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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