Archive - Past Unity in Diversity Events

Schedule for Day One - Tuesday, April 5, 2022

8-9:15 a.m. - How to Navigate and Grow as a Leader on Campus and in the Workplace: Self-Care Strategies and Other Tips

Speaker: Tiana Lawrence ’20 M’21
Moderator: Kathryn Nielsen
This session will provide attendees with the knowledge and skills required to navigate the opportunities and challenges available to emerging leaders. Drawing on her own experiences as a student of color leader in a predominantly white space and as the Program Associate with the Mel King Institute, a capacity and community building program that serves professional practitioners, and volunteer leaders in the community development field, Tiana will offer reflections, strategies, and tips. She will also share her successes and challenges navigating and growing in a student leadership position and in her professional role working on statewide racial equity and leadership development efforts. This is an opportunity to learn more about the importance of networking, building a solid team, verbal and nonverbal communication, and the necessity of utilizing self-care strategies in an academic and professional setting.

Join 4/5 Self-Care Strategies Zoom Session


10-11:15 a.m. - Art as Sanctuary in Times of War: Reflections of a Young Palestinian Artist

Speaker: Malak Mattar
Moderator: Nancy Wynn
Twenty-two-year-old Palestinian artist will share snippets from her personal journey as a young Palestinian woman, an artist and a cultural ambassador. Growing up in the Gaza Strip and living through several intensive Israeli military assaults, Malak channeled her anger, anxiety, and despair into her paintings. Through skillful use of social media platforms, she shared her art with the world, offering insightful accounts of her life and struggle in Palestine while launching her career as an international student and an accomplished artist.

Join 4/5 Art as Sanctuary Zoom Session


Noon-1:15 p.m. - Transgender and Non-binary Athletes: The Future of Gender Inclusivity

Speaker: Edward Carson
Moderator: Jackson Fortune-O’Brien
The prevailing attitude toward transgender and gender non-binary people has been exacerbated due to on-going cultural debates regarding identity. This session will explore the historical framework that has positioned sports and gender into the mainstream consciousness while delving into what institutions and states are doing in terms of being inclusive and exclusive. We will look at case studies while also discussing the needed changes for absolute inclusivity. Other topics of discussion will include the intersectionality of class and race in relationship to transgender athletes.

Join 4/5 Gender Inclusivity Zoom Session


2-3:15 p.m. - Transforming Community: The Power of Art

Speaker: Marquis Victor
Moderators: Dan Vlahos & Elaine Ward
In this workshop, participants will learn about how Elevated Thought, a Lawrence based non-profit organization, utilizes creativity as a form of liberation on individual and communal levels.

Join 4/5 The Power of Art Zoom Session


4-5:15 p.m. - The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive

Speaker: Lucy Adlington
Moderator: Emma Polyakov
Author of the bestselling book The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive will share some of the stories of the women who used their sewing skills to survive the Holocaust, stitching beautiful clothes in an extraordinary fashion workshop within the Auschwitz concentration camp. At the height of the Holocaust twenty-five young inmates of the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp – mainly Jewish women and girls – were selected to design, cut, and sew beautiful fashions for elite Nazi women in a dedicated salon. It was work that they hoped would spare them from the gas chambers. Weaving the dressmakers’ remarkable experiences within the context of Nazi policies for plunder and exploitation, Lucy Adlington exposes the greed, cruelty, and hypocrisy of the Third Reich and offers a fresh look at a little-known chapter of the Second World War and the Holocaust.

Join 4/5 The Dressmakers of Auschwitz Zoom Session


6-8 p.m. - Restorative Justice: Harm and Healing

Speakers: Janet Conners “Mama J”, Clarissa Turner & Dennis Everett Jr.
Moderator: Brittnie Aiello
This session will begin with a screening of Circle up, a restorative justice documentary film about a group of Boston mothers who seek true justice for their murdered sons. Following the film, which has received national attention and recognition, attendees will have an opportunity to learn more about how restorative justice is being used for survivors to navigate their own healing process.

Join 4/5 Restorative Justice Zoom Session


Schedule for Day Two - Wednesday, April 6, 2022

8-9:15 a.m. - Closing the Gender and Race Pay Gap: Challenges and Strategies

Speaker: MaryRose Mazzola ’12
Moderators: Rémy Boyd and Melissa Driver
In this session you will learn strategies for negotiating your salary, interventions that are proven to close pay gaps, and ways to support women and people of color in the workplace. The speaker will share her rich experience as Executive Director of the Boston Women’s Workforce Council, a public-private partnership between the City of Boston and 250 of the largest companies in greater Boston dedicated to closing gender and racial pay gaps. During her tenure, Boston became the first city in the nation to use real compensation data to analyze the pay gap by race, gender, and professional category.

Join 4/6 Closing the Gender and Race Pay Gap Zoom Session


9:30-10:45 a.m. - Life is More than He and She

Speaker: Jeffery Marsh
Moderators: Susan Marine and Rowan Salhi
Beyond the feel-good but sometimes vacuous cry of “be yourself!” the ways we use labels can have unforeseen consequences. Often, Jeffrey’s social followers expect their “right label” to cure them and be a total panacea. It doesn’t work that way. Through research and personal stories, Jeffrey presents the ways labels and categories do more harm than good, and how labels that seem empowering can ultimately divide and conquer us.

Join 4/6 Life is More than He and She Zoom Session


11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Restorative Justice Behind the Wall: A Roundtable with Criminal Justice Professionals

Speakers: Jessica Oljey, Kara Hayes & Andy Peck
Moderators: Jaleh Dashti-Gibson & Dennis Everett, Jr.
This roundtable will engage criminal justice professionals who are deeply involved in how criminal justice institutions are using restorative justice to move institutional practices in a new direction at both the regional and state levels.

Join 4/6 Restorative Justice Zoom Session


12:30-1:45 p.m. - Reconsidering Reparations

Speaker: Dr. Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò, Georgetown University
Reparations for slavery have become a reinvigorated topic for public debate over the last decade. Most theorizing about reparations treats it as a social justice project - either rooted in reconciliatory justice focused on making amends in the present; or, they focus on the past, emphasizing restitution for historical wrongs. Olúfemi O. Táíwò argues that neither approach is optimal, and advances a different case for reparations - one rooted in a hopeful future that tackles the issue of climate change head on, with distributive justice at its core. This view, which he calls the “constructive” view of reparations, argues that reparations should be seen as a future-oriented project engaged in building a better social order; and that the costs of building a more equitable world should be distributed more to those who have inherited the moral liabilities of past injustices. This approach to reparations, as Táíwò shows, has deep and surprising roots in the thought of Black political thinkers such as James Baldwin, Martin Luther King Jr, and Nkechi Taifa, as well as mainstream political philosophers like John Rawls, Charles Mills, and Elizabeth Anderson. Táíwò’s project has wide implications for our views of justice, racism, the legacy of colonialism, and climate change policy.

Join 4/6 Reparations Zoom Session


2-3:15 p.m. - Addressing Health Disparities: Practical Applications

Speakers: Alvin Morton & Nicole Williams
Moderator: Lindsay Carbone
A panel discussion about practical ways students can aid in the reduction of health disparities seen in various sub-populations. Panelists will provide background information on potential causes of health disparities, and students will learn what they can do to reduce these health disparities in their communities.

Join 4/6 Health Disparities Zoom Session


3:30-4:45 p.m. - Preparing Students to Thrive in Diverse Society: The Role of High School Educators

Speakers: Raisa Carrasco-Velez, Stacey Ciprich, Chet Jackson, Sabrina Marte and Chris Rinchon
Moderator: Katrina Everett
The roundtable will highlight ongoing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives at the high school level, featuring key administrators in the Merrimack Valley. Roundtable participants will discuss the shifting practices in their districts to better prepare high school students for real world success, as well as the challenges facing these efforts. As Early College programs expand regionally and nationally, participants will explore how enhanced collaboration between high schools and colleges can help , like Early College programs, to prepare students to thrive in a diverse and ever changing society.

Join 4/6 High School Educators Zoom Session


5-6 p.m. - Gender & Diversity in Leadership: Career Pathways for Student Leaders

Speakers: Tiana Lawrence ’20’ M’21 and MaryRose Mazzola ’12
Merrimack alumnae will share insights and lessons so far on their professional journey. Attendees will learn strategies for finding internships and post-grad jobs in gender advocacy nonprofits, politics, government, and law firms. Speakers will also share insights and strategies for taking on new professional roles in the nonprofit world and in academic spaces while stressing
the importance of maintaining a network, taking risks, and the beauty of ongoing lifelong learning.

Join 4/6 Gender & Diversity Leadership Zoom Session


6:15-8 p.m. - Celebrating Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Work at Merrimack College – A Community Reception

Hosted by the President’s Initiative on Diversity Equity and Inclusion, this reception will feature hors d’oeuvres and cocktails in Arcidi.

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Schedule for Day One - Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021

8-8:30 a.m. - Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Merrimack College: Opening Remarks

Moderator: Nicole Williams
Speakers: Dr. Sean Condon, Dr. Michael Mobley, Dr. Simona Sharoniand Tiffany Vo
An overview of the history of the DEI initiative, its short and long-term goals, accomplishments and challenges, and an opportunity to learn how you can get involved.

Join 10/19 DEI Opening Remarks Zoom Meeting


8:30-9:45 a.m. - Confronting the Housing Crisis: Community Building Initiatives

Speakers: Dr. Calpurnyia Roberts and Tiffany Payne, MHSA; ​Siddeeqah Williams and Amber Mitchell-Soto, Lynne Shelter Association; Mickey Northcutt, North Shore CDC
Massachusetts is in the midst of a deep housing crisis. Housing insecurity is impacting more and more regardless of income, as the shortage of affordable and available rental and buyable properties surges. How we define homelessness and housing insecurity and who is affected is changing, particularly with gentrification, evictions, and the pricing out crisis. This session will include a panel discussion regarding facts, figures, realities, and dispelling of myths regarding homelessness and housing insecurity. Panelists will share the resources and work of their organizations, regarding how they are assisting in the fight to end homelessness and housing insecurity in Massachusetts (and beyond).

Join 10/19 Housing Crisis Zoom Meeting


10 a.m.-11:15 p.m. - Moving Beyond Calling Out: Building a Calling In Culture

Moderators: Jasmine Khamis & Simona Sharoni
Speaker: Dr. Loretta Ross, Smith College
The presentation challenges the Call Out culture of social justice movements and academic spaces in order to build a united human rights movement. Dr. Ross believes that people can be taught how to increase their empathy intelligence and skills to invite others into conversations instead of conflicts. The lecture will cover five topics: 1) Understanding what Calling In/Calling Out is; 2) Exploring why people should care about building a human rights movement through Calling In; 3) Discussing what it feels like to Call people in; and 4) Examining what Calling In looks like; 5) Learning where, when, and how to use Calling In techniques in the future.

Join 10/19 Calling In Culture Zoom Meeting


Noon-1:15 p.m. - Centering Black Women in History and Popular Culture

Moderators: Debra Michals & Ines Ouedraogo
Speaker: Dr. Janell Hobson, University at Albany, SUNY

This presentation offers numerous examples and strategies designed to center Black women’s voices in scholarship and in the classroom. Dr. Hobson demonstrates how we can use popular culture to engage in critical conversations about race, gender, sexuality and other systemic inequalities.

Join 10/19 Centering Black Women Zoom Meeting


2-3:15 p.m. - Unpacking Privilege: Putting Research into Practice

Moderators: Kathryn Nielsen & Antonio Willis-Berry
Speakers: Dr. Adam Howard, Colby College; Pat Stewart, Millbrook School
Privilege is a contested and slippery term often used to speak to all sorts of individual and group advantage. This talk will unpack the concept of privilege and offer a more useful framework for understanding how advantages shape individuals’ identities and behaviors. The presenters will discuss their experiences of putting research into practice at predominantly white and wealthy institutions to transform practices and meanings that keep privilege hidden and unexamined.

Join 10/19 Unpacking Privilege Zoom Meeting


4-5:15 p.m. - On Poetry, Science & Possibilities: Poet Wrestling with Ghost Realities

Moderators: Ellen McWhorter & Rickey Caldwell
Speaker: Rosebud Ben-Oni, Poet/Author

How can poetry change our notion of reality? What if the possibilities within poetry were a true reflection of the multiverse itself? In this reading and performance, Rosebud Ben-Oni will explore the cosmos through trauma, loss, and transformation, where the most important notion of discovery is not always finding answers but the power of curiosity itself.

Join 10/19 Poet Wrestling Zoom Meeting


6:30-7:45 p.m. - Breaking Colonial Imaginations: An Evening of Queer Palestinian Diasporic Poetry

Moderators: Remy Boyd & Simona Sharoni
Speaker: George Abraham, Poet/Author
What role does poetry have in imagining better elsewheres: for language, for the dispossessed, for the whole of our collectives? How does one construct a language of queerness at intersections of colonial trauma? These are some of the questions driving award-winning Palestinian American poet George Abraham’s work. Join us for a night of anti-colonial poetry and reflections.

Join 10/19 Breaking Colonial Imaginations Zoom Meeting


Schedule for Day Two - Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021

8-9:15 a.m. - Global Youth Voices on Climate Justice

Moderators: Cyndy Carlson & Nicole Williams
Speakers: Kaleena Roeva, Climate Cardinals; Mitzi Jonelle Tan, Climate Action Philippines
This session features the youth advocate perspective on climate change and justice. Panelists will share their stories regarding what drove them into this work as climate activists, realities in their home countries and around the globe, initiatives through their organizations, and how youth can get involved.

Join 10/20 Climate Justice Zoom Meeting


9:30-10:45 a.m. - Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice: Faith-Based Approaches

Moderators: MT Davila & Mark Allman
Speaker: Dr. Lester Edwin J. Ruiz, Association of Theological Schools
While some people have used their religious beliefs to justify hatred and bigotry, many others have leaned on their faith to make the world a better place. Dr. Ruiz will draw on his rich experience in academic and activist spaces to address such questions as What is the relationship between religion, diversity and social justice? And how can we use faith as the foundation and inspiration for deep engagement with diversity and other social justice issues?

Join 10/20 Faith-Based Approaches Zoom Meeting


11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire: 20 Years after 9/11

Moderator: Sandra Raponi
Speaker: Dr. Deepa Kumar, Rutgers University
Many believe that Islamophobia is a recent phenomenon that emerged after 9/11. In her critically acclaimed book, Prof. Kumar traces the long history of Islamophobia from the early modern era to the War on Terror. She argues that Islamophobia is best understood as racism rather than as religious intolerance. In this presentation, she will lay out what anti-Muslim is, how it functions, and why it is intimately tied to empire.

Join 10/20 Islamophobia Zoom Meeting


12:30-1:15 p.m. - Blackqueerness, Religion, and the Politics of Possibilities

Moderators: ​Michael Mobley & Jackson Fortune-O’Brien
Speaker: Dr. Ashon Crawley, University of Virginia

The presentation will draw on his writing in The Lonely Letters with a focus on trying to understand how can Black folks, Blackqueer folks, breathe in this world full of violence and antagonisms. Dr. Crawley will also share his work-in-progress about the Hammond organ, the Black Church and sexuality.

Join 10/20 Blackqueerness Zoom Meeting


2-3:15 p.m. - Engaging Diverse Communities through Activism and Advocacy

Moderator: Elaine Ward
Speakers: Shannon Butler-Mokoro, African Community Center of Lowell; Katherine Tarpley, Children’s Law Center of Mass; Kelly Turley, Mass Coalition for Homeless
What are organizations learning from communities to build and sustain commitments that are reflective, intersectional, and inclusive? How do we learn with communities to help create collaborations and pathways to self-education and self-advocacy? This panel discussion includes voices that engage with different and intersecting diverse communities including immigrant, disadvantaged youth and young adult, and homeless (The African Community Center of Lowell, Children’s Law Center of MA, and Mass Coalition for the Homeless) and how we can work and learn with these communities to advocate for systemic change.

Join 10/20 Engaging Diverse Communities Zoom Meeting


3:30-4:45 p.m. - What the Eyes Don’t See: Confronting an Environmental Disaster

Moderators: April Bowling & Jon Lyon
Speaker: Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Michigan State University

In this powerful moderated conversation, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha delivers a personal account of her research and activism to expose and mitigate the effects of the Flint water crisis. Her dramatic story, from how she used science to prove that Flint children were affected by lead to the brutal backlash she faced after courageously going public with her findings, inspires audiences to safeguard their own communities by speaking truth to power.

Join 10/20 Environmental Disaster Zoom Meeting


6:30-7:45 p.m. - Anything But an Elegy: Transness, Disability & the Legacy of Trauma

Moderator: Susan Marine
Speaker: torrin a. greathouse
For trans and disabled people, both physical and social death are the stakes of daily life. In this reading and performance, torrin a. greathouse will explore the systems which make this fact, and how to live, write and carve out joy despite the legacies of trauma we carry.

Join 10/20 Anything But an Elegy Zoom Meeting

Schedule for Day One - Wednesday, April 7, 2021

8-9:30 a.m. - Student Involvement and Social Justice Activism at Merrimack College and Beyond

Speakers: Samantha (Sam) Frey, Clarisa Cameron, Lillian Schaefer-Calderon, Rowan Salhi, Leena Ali
Moderator: Peter Rojas
A conversation among student leaders at Merrimack College. Participants will reflect on their involvement in efforts to raise awareness about systemic injustice and inspire action among students.

Sponsored by the Unity House Council, Office of Student Involvement, Black Student Association (BSA) and Athletic Diversity Committee (ADC)

Join 4/7 Student Involvement Zoom Meeting


9:30-10:45 a.m. - Transforming Prejudice into Social Justice

Speaker: Jasmine Khamis
Moderators: Dr. Michael Mobley and Dr. Sandra Raponi
What is it like to grow up as a member of a minoritized group in the United States? How do you cope and make sense of the discrimination, prejudice and trauma you have experienced? An interactive session based on a compelling story of an Arab-American woman who carved out her professional identity as a counselor and social justice educator by staying true to her cultural roots.

Sponsored by the MA Program in Clinical Mental Health and the Social Justice Program

Join 4/7 Transforming Prejudice Zoom Meeting


11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Embracing Conflict to Become an Inclusive Community: Seeing Opportunity in Danger

Speaker: Dr. Michelle Cromwell
Moderator: Nicole Williams
Working on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion often involves learning to deal with conflict. Embracing rather than avoiding conflict can feel uncomfortable, even dangerous at times. However, inclusive transformation often happens when we push beyond our comfort zone and look for opportunity in what feels challenging, uncomfortable, or terrifying.

Sponsored by the MA Program in Clinical Mental Health and the Social Justice Program

Join 4/7 Embracing Conflict Zoom Meeting


12:30-1:45 p.m. - Health Disparities, Food Insecurity & COVID-19

Speaker: Vivien Morris
Moderators: Eleanor Shonkoff and Rosana Urbaez
COVID-19 and the strong voices of persons of color throughout the United States and beyond during 2020 have made clearer the impact of racism on health and food security. This presentation will bring the discussion closer to home with sharing of experiences and lessons learned through efforts to improve the health and well-being of a largely African American and Afro-Caribbean community in the Boston area.

Sponsored by The School of Health Sciences

Join 4/7 Health Disparities Zoom Meeting


2-3:15 p.m. - Putting a Human Face on the Experiences of Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) People

Speakers: Dr. Yi-Chun Tricia Lin and Sanea Kawaguchi
Moderator: Dr. Laura Hsu
An intergenerational conversation about the History and Experiences of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the US with a focus on strategies to move from systemic violence and trauma to justice and hope.

Sponsored by Merrimack’s Processionals of Color (MPOC)

Join 4/7 An Intergenerational Conversation Zoom Meeting


4-5:30 p.m. - LGBTQ+ Youth: Surviving, Thriving, and Building Community in the Merrimack Valley

Speakers: Stephen Harrington (Nagly); Nicole Lashomb (Project Out), Sasha Goodfriend (Governor’s Commission), Jackson Fortune-O’Brien
Moderator: Rob Koch
Massachusetts is often thought of as a “wickedly welcoming” place for LGBTQ+ folx, and it’s widely assumed that it’s easy to be queer in our state. What’s the real story? students and experts from local queer youth-serving organizations (NAGLY, ProjectOut, and the Governor’s Commission on LGBTQ+ youth) will join us to share their experiences, and will talk about serving the needs and concerns of LGBTQ+ young people in the Valley. They’ll also share what we can all do to make our communities safer and more empowering places for them.

Sponsored by Merrimack’s LGBTQ+ Faculty and Staff Affinity Group and the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA)

Join 4/7 LGBTQ+ Youth Zoom Meeting


6-7:30 p.m. - The Neurodiversity Paradigm in Combating Ableism: One Autistic Professional’s Experience Advocating for Themself and Others

Speaker: Rachel Dorsey
Moderator: Dr. Laura Hsu
This talk will address the role of the Neurodiversity Paradigm in standing up against ableism. The speaker, an Autistic Speech Therapist who will Incorporate her personal experience to discuss obvious and not-so-obvious ableism aimed at Neurodivergent people.

Sponsored by Accessibility Services, Disability Rights Staff and Faculty Affinity Group

Join 4/7 Neurodiversity Paradigm Zoom Meeting


6-8 p.m. - Antiracism Resources 2.0.

Speakers: Tiana Lawrence, Dr. Jolan Rivera, Olivia Rosa, Prof. Gerardo Zayas
Moderators: Angélique Bouthot and Grace Chitam
A follow up on a workshop held during Fall 2020, this interactive workshop will include a panel discussion featuring Community Engagement faculty and students on antiracism resources, while also providing space for participants to reflect on actions they can take toward antiracism.

Join 4/7 Antiracism Resources Zoom Meeting


8-9:30 p.m. - Diversity and Social Justice Open Mic: Poetic Perspectives and Oratory Observations on the World We Share

Featuring Kenton Reaves Hundley (aka Ken10) with local artists Clarisa Cameron, Nathan Nkabasele and Araya Richards
Ken10 will be joined by Merrimack students, using verse and passion intentionally to build bridges, connect cultures and rebuild broken hearts.

Join 4/7 Open Mic Zoom Meeting


Schedule for Day Two - Thursday, April 8, 2021

8-9:30 a.m. - Beyond the Classroom: The Praxis of Social Justice Activism

Speakers: Angélique Bouthot, Glynis Boyd Hughes, Grace Chitam and Gabrielle (Gabi) Scheff
Moderators: Peter Rojas and Nicole Williams
A conversation among graduate students engaged in anti-racism and other efforts to advance intersectional justice. Participants will discuss their experiences applying theories of social justice and social change on campus and in the community as well as their career aspirations.

Join 4/8 Student Involvement Zoom Meeting


10-11:15 a.m. - Civil Rights and Voting Rights: Cornerstones for Democracy and Justice

Speaker: Bakari Sellers
Discussant: Dr. Jeffrey Doggett
Moderators: Emma Duffy-Comparone and Antonio Willis-Berry
A critical analysis of current events in the US political arena and the challenges facing our democracy. Examination of the historical context of the ongoing struggles for civil rights and voting rights amidst systemic injustice and the role of citizens to secure a better future with justice and equality for all.

Sponsored by the Writers House, the Department of Political Science and the Master’s in Public Affairs Program

Join 4/8 Civil Rights and Voting Rights Zoom Meeting


Noon-1:15 p.m. - Rhythm & Resilience: A Poet’s Journey Through Race and Identity

Speaker: Britta B.
Moderator: Rémy Boyd
How does poetry promote self-kindness and a sense of belonging? In what ways do trauma, race and mental health inform writing and performance? Through a dynamic and celebratory spoken word poetry showcase, Britta B. will share thoughts on the role of artistic expression as a platform for resilient communities and minds.

Sponsored by the Writers House

Join 4/8 Rhythm & Reslience Zoom Meeting


1-2 p.m. - Transforming Campus Culture: Building Community, Support and Solidarity for Staff and Faculty

Moderated by Peter Rojas and Nicole Williams
Participants: Glynis Boyd Hughes, Preston Croteau, Dr. Sharon Labao, Dr. Susan Marine, Dr. Simona Sharoni and Oscar Zepeda
A roundtable discussion with representatives of Merrimack’s Affinity Groups for faculty and staff. The groups currently represent staff and faculty who identify as Merrimack Professional of Color (MPOC), LGBTQ+, First Generation, International and disability rights. Also represented is Create Your Impact (CYI), a development and leadership initiative for women employees.

Join 4/8 Building Community Support Zoom Meeting


2-3:30 p.m. - Fostering Inclusion with Empathy

Speaker: Sharon Steed
Moderator: Dr. Shannon Butler-Mokoro
The workforce is more diverse than ever, yet the way we interact with each other doesn’t always reflect these ethnic and cultural differences. Navigating a world where we must constantly engage emotions, opinions and ideas that we don’t always understand or agree with doesn’t have to be impossible. In fact it can be greatly beneficial to team productivity, innovation, creativity and overall company success. The result of this breakout will be teams that know how to create, build and maintain a culture of inclusion through everyday empathy actions.

Sponsored by Accessibility Services, Academic Success Center, Master’s of Social Work Program and Master’s of Clinical Mental Health Program, Disability Rights Staff and Faculty Affinity Group

Join 4/8 Fostering Inclusion Zoom Meeting


4-5 p.m. - Promoting Cultural Competence and Global Awareness: A Roundtable with International Faculty and Staff

Speakers: Dr. Azam Noori, Dr. Luis Saenz de Viguera Erkiaga, Dr. Elaine Ward, Sonal Desai and Oscar Zepeda
Moderator: Dr. Simona Sharoni
Participants will discuss their experiences and highlight the contributions of international faculty and staff to diversity, equity, and inclusion at Merrimack College. They will explore strategies to promote cultural competence and global awareness with a focus on situating systemic inequalities in the US in a global context. Participants will also share some of the challenges you have faced, concluding with a discussion of what we need to do as a community to ensure that international students, staff, and faculty feel “at home” at Merrimack and everywhere.

Join 4/8 Promoting Cultural Competence Zoom Meeting


5-6:30 p.m. - Exploring Poetics: A Stress-Free Writing Workshop

Facilitator: Britta B.
Moderator: Rémy Boyd
In this session, we’ll cultivate sound and sensory banks to encourage new ways of engaging with our familiar landscapes of self. Come prepared with something to write with and write on (notebook and writing materials) as we’ll test out some writing constraints that exercise our connection to social justice and liberation through language and poetry.

Join 4/8 Exploring Poetics Zoom Meeting


6:30-8 p.m. - St. Germain Lecture - Culturally Responsive Leadership: How Meals on Wheels of RI is Evolving to Meet the Changing Needs of Seniors Across the Ocean State

Speaker: Meghan Grady
Participants: Brenda Comerford, Maeve Dubiel, Dr. Anne Flaherty and Mary McHugh
Meghan Grady will speak about her leadership at Meals on Wheels Rhode Island during the pandemic and how her organization has been able to adapt and continue to fulfill its mission. She will also discuss their strategies for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and how they plan to adapt to meet changing needs of the aging population in RI.

Sponsored by the Political Science Department and the Master’s of Public Affairs Program

Join 4/8 St. Germain Lecture Zoom Meeting

Schedule for Day One - Monday, Oct. 12, 2020 Indigenous Peoples Day

8-9:30 a.m. - Diversity University

Speakers: Dr. Julia Garcia, Monti Washington & Peter Rojas
A clear and insightful introduction to how race, gender culture, and sexual orientation, among other identity constructs shape our experiences and relationships. A focus on issues related to diversity and inclusion that emerge on a college campus and the ongoing protests against racial injustice. This presentation was recorded in late August 2020 and shared with the Merrimack community in mid-September.


9:30-10:45 a.m. - Understanding and Preventing Police Violence: A Public Health Perspective, Moderated by Dr. April Bowling

Speaker: Dr. Justin Feldman
This talk will focus on understanding police violence in the United States with an emphasis on inequality by race, place, and poverty. We will use a public health framework to explore alternatives to policing to address issues ranging from mental health crises to interpersonal violence.

Sponsored by the Social Justice Program and the Interdisciplinary Institute.


10-11:30 a.m. - Roundtable: American Sign Language

Speakers: Jodi Rachins, Director of Accessibility Services; Karen Ryan, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts; Deb Margolis, Interim Dean of the School of Education and Social Policy; Michaele Morrow, Associate Vice President for Career Advertising and Professional Development; Isabel Fernandes, Senior, Moderate Disabilities Education Major
Currently, Merrimack does not offer American Sign Language as a course nor it is incorporated into most of our major events, unless requested. Should we have ASL classes available to students? The community? Is ASL a world language or an elective? Should we offer ASL as a normative practice? What majors would best benefit from sign language? (Hint: Probably all). Would it be a beneficial skill to add to a LinkedIn badge?

Sponsored by Accessibility Services and Disability Rights Education Activism and Mentorship (DREAM).


11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Roundtable: COVID-19: Ethical and Social Justice Considerations

Speakers: Dr. April Bowling, Dr. Justin Feldman, Dr. Sandra Raponi & Dr. Simona Sharoni
This roundtable discussion is part of a new interdisciplinary team-taught course titled Global Pandemics: Opportunities and Challenges. Participants will discuss health and other disparities caused by systemic inequalities, both in the US and globally.

Sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Institute and the Social Justice Program.


12:30-1:30 p.m. - Roundtable: Mentoring First Generation College Students, Moderated by Preston Croteau, Assistant Dean of Students

Speakers: Brandi Baldock, Glynis Boyd Hughes, Jasmine Garver, James Howland, Lauren Rocha, Haley Taing, Oscar Zepeda & Melissa Zimdars
Faculty, staff, and students who are the first in their families to obtain a college education will reflect on their experiences. Discussion will also address how the first generation identity intersects with other dimensions of social identity and structural inequalities in higher education. Finally, roundtable participants will discuss creating resources, support, and mentoring opportunities for first generation students attending Merrimack College.

Sponsored by The First Gen faculty and Staff Affinity Group.


2-3:30 p.m. - Celebrating Queer Writing: A Conversation with Author Julian K. Jarboe on Voice, Truth and Resistance

Speakers: Julian K. Jarboe, Samatha (Sam) Frey, Dr. Robert Koch & Rowan Salhi
Julian K. Jarboe will read from their debut collection, Everyone on the Moon is Essential Personnel (Lethe Press, 2020), sixteen stories of mid-apocalyptic science fabulism and body horror fairy tales that “meld tenderness, humor, and righteous anger into insightful tales of characters navigating the margins of society” (Publishers’ Weekly). Jarboe will also discuss some of their experiences as a transgender and disabled writer, the creative and political value of pessimism, and their choice to unify the collection around marginalized experiences of labor and faith.

Sponsored by The Writers House, the LGBTQ+ Faculty and Staff Affinity Group and the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA).


3:30-4:45 p.m. - Creating Space for Change: Racial Dialogue - A Student-focused Workshop

Co-facilitated by Dr. Cherie Bridges Patrick and Dr. Lindsay Lyons
This student-focused workshop is structured within the timeframe of the Merrimack student schedule. The first of this four-series offering introduces the capacities needed to create space for change. Workshop facilitators will guide students through four dialogic capacities for generative racial dialogue: readiness and willingness, vulnerability, adaptability, and a positive, encouraging and liberating dialogic environment. Students will be introduced to the concepts linked to creating space for change and will co-construct a shared agreement centered in dignity. Students are encouraged to read up on the four capacities on Dr. Lyons website (dialogic environmentreadiness and willingnessvulnerability, and adaptability).

Sponsored by the Athletic Diversity Committee.


4-5 p.m. Roundtable on community engagement in Lawrence

Speakers: Dr. Traci Alberti, Dr. Cynthia Carlson, Dr. Ellen Fitzpatrick, Dr. Luis Sáenz De Viguera, Dr. Elaine Ward, Dr. Ana Silva, CJ Wong, Rosana Urbaez & Lisbeth Valdez
Participants will be discussing the nature of their work in the community, sharing ideas and practices. They will discuss how faculty/students can work as collaborators to meet community goals, explore how we prepare students personally, how we strengthen our curriculum to give students the skills and awareness to be useful and, how we as an outside organization, can be a respectful and useful partner in the community. The ‘how’ piece is important because it demonstrates ways to work in communities where we are responding to an articulated need, not to our view of a problem.

Sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Institute and the Social Justice Program.


5-6:30 p.m. - Transnational Indigenous Women’s Activism, Moderated by Dr. Yi-Chun Tricia Lin

Speakers: Apu’u Kaaviana, Dr. Myrian Sánchez, Ruth Garby Torres & Dr. Alex Wilson
This roundtable brings together a distinguished panel of four Indigenous women activists, scholars, and leaders from four Indigenous nations of the Four Directions on Indigenous Peoples’ Day | Día de la Raza 2020. The program is a cross-cultural, multilingual, and transnational encounter where we learn and honor Indigenous women’s activism and their communities’ resistance in the times of pandemic. Our speakers include Apu’u Kaaviana (Kanakanvu | Taiwan); Dr. Myrian Sánchez (Kichwa | Ecuador); Ruth Garby Torres (Schaghticoke | U.S.); and Alex Wilson (Opaskwayak Cree | Canada). The program is also a first-time cross-campus collaboration.

Sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Southern Connecticut State University, the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at Merrimack College, Merrimack’s Cultural Diversity Alliance (MCDA), World Languages and Cultural Studies Department and Theta Phi Alpha Sorority Inc.


7-8:30 p.m. - Roundtable: Queer Journeys and Coming Out Stories

Speakers: Catherine Chandler, Samantha (Sam) Frey, Dr. Jonathan Grossman, Dr. Robert Koch, Dr. Susan Marine, Dan Roussel & Rowan Salhi
On the occasion of National Coming Out Day, Merrimack students, faculty, and staff who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community will share coming out stories and discuss their personal, professional and political journeys.

Sponsored by the LGBTQ+ Faculty and Staff Affinity Group and the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA).


Schedule for Day Two - Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020

8-9:30 a.m. - Diversity University

Speakers: Dr. Julia Garcia, Monti Washington & Peter Rojas
A clear and insightful introduction to how race, gender culture, and sexual orientation, among other identity constructs shape our experiences and relationships. A focus on issues related to diversity and inclusion that emerge on a college campus and the ongoing protests against racial injustice. This presentation was recorded in late August 2020 and shared with the Merrimack community in mid-September.


10-11:15 a.m. - Open Classroom: An Introduction to Structural Racism with Dr. Dan Herda, Associate Professor of Sociology at Merrimack College

The session will help attendees understand how racism can become embedded in a culture and therefore become part of the structure of society and shape individuals’ behaviors and attitudes.


10-11 a.m. - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Merrimack: A Community Conversation

Speakers: Dr. Simona Sharoni & Peter Rojas


11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Emotional Agility: How to Be Your Best Self in Times of Crisis, featuring Dr. Susan David

Speakers: Dr. Susan David & Dr. Michael Mobley
A President’s Speaker Series event.

Sponsored by the Office of the President and Robert McCusker ’68 & Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority Inc. Kappa Omicron Chapter.


noon-1:15 p.m. - Open Classroom: An Introduction to Structural Racism with Dr. Dan Herda, Associate Professor of Sociology at Merrimack College

The session will help attendees understand how racism can become embedded in a culture and therefore become part of the structure of society and shape individuals’ behaviors and attitudes.


noon-1:30 p.m. - Gender, Race, and Social Justice Activism

Speaker: Melissa Denizard, Samantha (Sam) Frey & Haley Taing
In this talk, Melissa discusses her genesis in social justice, how she has connected theory to praxis, and how she has continuously and brilliantly utilized her identity as the beacon for her social justice work. Along with providing a grounding for her political ideology and praxis, Black Feminism serves as a guiding light for Melissa’s perpetual self-reflection. Ultimately, she urges listeners to consider the appropriation of the Combahee River Collective’s notion of identity politics and why we need to reclaim the phrase’s roots in the Black Radical Tradition.

Sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, the Social Justice Program and the Black Student Association (BSA).


1-2 p.m. - Mack Chat: Disability and Accessibility

Speakers: Rachel Conway - Junior, Athletic Training Major, Makenzie Sabourin - Junior, Communication and English with a concentration in Film double major and a Digital Media Minor & Isabel Fernandes - Senior, Moderate Disabilities Education Major
Merrimack’s 4th Annual All Abilities Awareness event falls Tuesdays in October at 1 PM. Join us to listen to Merrimack students share their stories about disability as a part of their diverse identity. They will talk about managing a disability in the college environment, how they have overcome stigma and adversity, and how they have grown. This event includes the talk from the students and an opportunity for audience Q&A. Discussion will continue on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. on October 20 and 27.

Sponsored by Accessibility Services and Disability Rights Education Activism and Mentorship (DREAM).


2-3:30 p.m. - Transforming Masculinities: Accounting for White Privilege and Male Privilege, Moderated by Peter Rojas

Speakers: Dr. Brian Klocke, Duane De Four & Michael Senoff
The session will focus on the social construction of masculinities with particular attention to the relationship between white privilege and male privilege. Participants will discuss their personal journeys and identify strategies and challenges for disrupting practices that reflect toxic masculinity. The session will include resources and advice for men and the community at large who are interested in joining anti-racist, pro-feminist and LGBTQ affirmative efforts.

Sponsored by One Love, Gender Equality at Merrimack (GEM), Kappa Sigma Fraternity Inc. and Tau Kappa Epsilon.


3-4 p.m. - Becoming Anti-Racist: A Workshop for Faculty and Staff

Speakers: Dr. Cherie Bridges Patrick and Dr. Lindsay Lyons
This workshop is structured for faculty and staff. The first of this four-series offering introduces the capacities needed to create space for change. Workshop facilitators will guide participants as they explore and develop four dialogic capacities for generative racial dialogue: readiness and willingness, vulnerability, adaptability, and a positive, encouraging and liberating dialogic environment. Faculty and staff will be introduced to the concepts related to creating space for change. Centered in dignity, participants will also explore and debrief scenarios, examine the need for accountability, and develop individual action plans. Participants are encouraged to read up on the four capacities on Dr. Lyons website (dialogic environmentreadiness and willingnessvulnerability, and adaptability).

Sponsored by Merrimack Professional of Color (MPOC).


4-5:30 p.m. Student Activism in Turbulent Times: Promise and Challenges, Moderated by Kat Everett, Samantha (Sam) Frey& Haley Taing

Speaker: Melissa Denizard
This workshop aims to have participants talk through and realize the key roles that power and privilege play in activism, as well as the actionable steps they can take to change their material realities.

Sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA) and Gender Equality at Merrimack (GEM).


6-7:30 p.m. - Beyonce Mass (Advance Registration Required)

Speaker: Rev. Yolanda M. Norton
Beyoncé Mass is a womanist worship service that uses the music and life of Beyoncé as a tool to cultivate an empowering conversation about Black women - their lives, their bodies and their voices. The mass creates a space of story, scripture and song that calls for the liberation of all people. Advance registration is required.

Sponsored by the Center for Campus Ministry.

Q & A session will follow immediately after the program.