Oct. 20: Unity in Diversity Days

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

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

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