March 20 Unity in Diversity Days

March 20, 2024: Unity in Diversity Days

Our two-day event kicks off on Wednesday, March 20, and is available for Merrimack faculty, staff, students and community members. Please review the schedule below.

Looking for the March 21 Schedule?
Speaker Bios

Schedule for Day One - March 20

8-9:15 a.m. – Queering Civility: Acting up in LGBTQ+ Activism

Speaker: Catherine Chandler
Location: Arcidi A

Participants will learn about the connections between the Civil Rights Movement and the LGBTQ+ Rights Movement and how the latter diverged in its methods from before Stonewall through the AIDS crisis through a discussion in large and small groups of the impact and usefulness of disruptive activism, sharing their thoughts to generate ideas regarding effective protest.

9:30-10:45 a.m. – Wait! Your Bias is Showing

Speaker: Kadie LaFlamme
Location: Arcidi A

In this workshop, participants will embark on a transformative journey and uncover the intricacies of implicit and explicit bias. Participants will analyze the impact of bias and racism, and engage in insightful discussions on how biases can impede understanding. By the workshop’s end, participants will emerge armed with the tools to navigate and dismantle biases, making this an invaluable learning experience. Join Kadie for an enriching exploration that promises not only knowledge, but also a profound shift in perspective.

10-11:30 a.m. – SONIC Connections

Speaker: Andrew Kirschner and Beth Killian
Location: Crowe Executive Room

“Sonic Connections” is a year-long arts-based mental health program that equips students with life skills to thrive in the face of psychological challenges. Through music, we create space for people to navigate all of the thoughts and feelings that arise as they pursue the things that matter within a 90-minute session.

College often brings students a great deal of stress, anxiety, and self-doubt. Rather than trying to eliminate symptoms and issues, we use immersive, evidence-based activities to help students learn to integrate them, get unstuck, and progress towards a college life that is meaningful to them. The program is led by a team of expert facilitators and supports students through two key touchpoints.

Outcomes of “Sonic Connections” include an empowered student body with self-care skills, streamlined counseling and wellness resources, and a healthier, more-connected campus community.

10 a.m.-Noon – Tour of 60 Island Street in Lawrence, MA
Location: Off Campus – Meet at the Shuttle Stop Outside the Steven’s Service Learning Center

Are you a faculty/staff member interested in learning more about our local partnerships? Are you eager to visualize how our students might impact the local community through service-learning or internships? Sign up for the community tour – an exclusive opportunity to receive a guided tour of 60 Island Street in Lawrence, MA. This location is the site of a beautiful, historical mill building that now houses various businesses and nonprofit organizations partnered with Merrimack College – including Merrimack’s Hands to Help organization.

Participants on the tour will gain access to the Hands to Help facility, including a tour of the brand-new kitchen where many students cook meals for the local community! They will also be able to visit with some of our other community partners in the building. Participants will also hear from community members about how this facility has impacted and made a difference in their lives.

Registration is required for this event. RSVP online.  

12:30-1:30 p.m. – Unity in Diversity Keynote Speaker – On and Off the Field: Conversations about Racism and Social Justice with Matthew Slater

Speaker: Matthew Slater
Location: Rogers Center for the Arts

Matthew Slater was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, and recently announced his retirement after spending his entire career with the New England Patriots. While Slater is widely considered one of the greatest NFL special teams players over the last decade, he is also consistently recognized for the work he does off the field.

2-3:15 p.m. – Raising Children’s Critical Social Consciousness through Literature

Speaker: Laura Hsu and Divya Anand
Location: Arcidi A

Some teaching is well-intentioned, but, for some teachers, inclusive and equitable teaching methods are not seen as a necessity, but rather a benevolent consideration. This belief is centered around the different ways in which culture is centered, under different names, as the foundation for inclusive classrooms. This centering of culturally aware pedagogies, however well-intentioned, misses opportunities for understanding deep-rooted inequities and move towards transformation and justice. For example, anti-bias pedagogy typically avoids children’s books that are replete with stereotypes because the lack of exposure is believed to prevent its permeability. However, the inevitability of children being exposed to stereotypes will leave them vulnerable if they are not intentionally given the tools to manage such encounters. Books with varying degrees of exposure to stereotypes and various isms could be used for critical analysis and serve as a kind of inoculation for building critical thinking and social consciousness. Participants will engage in an analytical reading of a children’s book using guided reflective questions to consider how to increase children’s critical social consciousness.

3:30-4:45 p.m. – Community-Engaged Learning Interactive Workshop Series

Speaker: Kirstie Dobbs
Location: Crowe Executive Room

Engage students in a series of reflective exercises/activities that expose them to important themes central to effective community engagement. Themes include understanding your leadership style, positionality, and communicating across differences.

About the Event

Unity in Diversity Days, a two-day program, now in its seventh semester, was launched by the President’s Initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). The program features a diverse group of community scholars, leaders, artists and advocates, designed to broaden and deepen our understanding of systemic inequalities and intersecting identities. A diverse lineup of speakers will share knowledge and strategies, designed to enhance our awareness and understanding, inspiring us to nurture spaces of belonging and communities rooted in accountability and intersectional justice.

This campus-wide programming is sponsored by the President’s initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in collaboration with the President’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Intercultural Initiatives, and the Office of Counseling and Wellness Education. 

Who Should Attend

All events are in person and are free and open to the public, with the exception of a few that take place during closed Merrimack classes. 

Event Details
This campus-wide programming is sponsored by the President’s initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in collaboration with the Office of the Provost.