April 7: Unity in Diversity Days

Our two-day virtual event kicks off on April 7 and is available for Merrimack faculty, staff, students and community members. Please review the schedule below.
Looking for the April 8 schedule? 
See Speaker Bios

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

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.
Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
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

Wed., April 7

Thurs., April 8