Oct. 19: Unity in Diversity Days

Our two-day virtual event kicks off on Tuesday, Oct. 19, and is available for Merrimack faculty, staff, students and community members. Please review the schedule below.
Looking for the Oct. 20 schedule? 
See Speaker Bios

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

Certificate Program

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Distinguished Educator Certificate

The President’s Special Initiative on DEI and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) introduce a new certificate program for faculty and staff who have completed at least 25 hours of DEI education and training since January 2019. Relevant experience may include education and training on and off campus. Faculty and staff who complete the minimum hours required will be recognized publicly and receive a certificate and a LinkedIn badge. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. To apply for the certificate, applicants should complete the training recognition form, listing the date, hours and nature of the training they wish to get recognized for.

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Looking for additional diversity training?

Diversity, equity and inclusion are an institutional priority at Merrimack College.  The special assistant to President Hopey for diversity, equity and inclusion is leading the efforts to provide additional diversity training and initiatives. We welcome your feedback and participation. Please contact us to find out how you and your team may participate in additional diversity training. 

Contact Us

Students holding up "Say their name" t-shirts. 

Contact Us

Simona Sharoni, Ph.D.
Vice President for Inclusive Excellence, Institutional Access & Leadership
Professor, Women’s & Gender Studies Department

How to Tune In

Each session has a Zoom link listed. Please click on the Zoom link at the beginning of the event to join.


Need more information about the event or how to watch our sessions?


Schedule of Events

Tues., Oct. 19

Wed., Oct. 20