April 8: 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 April 7 schedule?
See Speaker Bios


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

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