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Becoming a fully engaged participant in our democracy requires more than simply pulling oneself up by his or her proverbial bootstraps. Indeed, it requires hard work and the personal fortitude required to delay gratification. But no one succeeds alone.

For scholar Cornel West and venture capitalist Miriam Rivera, MBA ’95, it took a lot of love from family members and great teachers, librarians and other adults who may never even know the extent of the impact they had on individual lives.

And even in this so-called “post-racial” or “post-gender” society, that kind of support is vital. Rivera and West spoke during a March 5 forum titled “Access, Success, Impact: How Low-income Students of Color Succeed in College and Beyond”.

“Simply because we’re less racist does not mean we’re post-racial,” said West, the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University.

Rivera, who holds four degrees from Stanford and serves on the university’s Board of Trustees, talked about her experience growing up in a poor Puerto Rican family in Chicago and the role poverty played in her academic and professional journey.

“One of the things that’s missing here is class,” Rivera, co-founder and managing partner of Ulu Ventures, said of the discussion.

View a video segment of the discussion

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Also on Stanford Knowledgebase:

  1. Social Class Comes Through on a Potato Chip Bag
  2. Assigning Race: When the Clothes Can Make the Man
  3. Gender Beliefs Funnel Women Away from Science and Engineering

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