April 5, 2022: Unity in Diversity Days

Our two-day virtual event kicks off on Tuesday, April 5, and is available for Merrimack faculty, staff, students and community members. Please review the schedule below.
Looking for the April 6 schedule? 
See Speaker Bios

Schedule for Day One - Tuesday, April 5, 2022

8-9:15 a.m. - How to Navigate and Grow as a Leader on Campus and in the Workplace: Self-Care Strategies and Other Tips

Speaker: Tiana Lawrence ’20 M’21
Moderator: Kathryn Nielsen
This session will provide attendees with the knowledge and skills required to navigate the opportunities and challenges available to emerging leaders. Drawing on her own experiences as a student of color leader in a predominantly white space and as the Program Associate with the Mel King Institute, a capacity and community building program that serves professional practitioners, and volunteer leaders in the community development field, Tiana will offer reflections, strategies, and tips. She will also share her successes and challenges navigating and growing in a student leadership position and in her professional role working on statewide racial equity and leadership development efforts. This is an opportunity to learn more about the importance of networking, building a solid team, verbal and nonverbal communication, and the necessity of utilizing self-care strategies in an academic and professional setting.

Join 4/5 Self-Care Strategies Zoom Session

10-11:15 a.m. - Art as Sanctuary in Times of War: Reflections of a Young Palestinian Artist

Speaker: Malak Mattar
Moderator: Nancy Wynn
Twenty-two-year-old Palestinian artist will share snippets from her personal journey as a young Palestinian woman, an artist and a cultural ambassador. Growing up in the Gaza Strip and living through several intensive Israeli military assaults, Malak channeled her anger, anxiety, and despair into her paintings. Through skillful use of social media platforms, she shared her art with the world, offering insightful accounts of her life and struggle in Palestine while launching her career as an international student and an accomplished artist.

Join 4/5 Art as Sanctuary Zoom Session

Noon-1:15 p.m. - Transgender and Non-binary Athletes: The Future of Gender Inclusivity

Speaker: Edward Carson
Moderator: Jackson Fortune-O’Brien
The prevailing attitude toward transgender and gender non-binary people has been exacerbated due to on-going cultural debates regarding identity. This session will explore the historical framework that has positioned sports and gender into the mainstream consciousness while delving into what institutions and states are doing in terms of being inclusive and exclusive. We will look at case studies while also discussing the needed changes for absolute inclusivity. Other topics of discussion will include the intersectionality of class and race in relationship to transgender athletes.

Join 4/5 Gender Inclusivity Zoom Session

2-3:15 p.m. - Transforming Community: The Power of Art

Speaker: Marquis Victor
Moderators: Dan Vlahos & Elaine Ward
In this workshop, participants will learn about how Elevated Thought, a Lawrence based non-profit organization, utilizes creativity as a form of liberation on individual and communal levels.

Join 4/5 The Power of Art Zoom Session 

4-5:15 p.m. - The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive

Speaker: Lucy Adlington
Moderator: Emma Polyakov
Author of the bestselling book The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive will share some of the stories of the women who used their sewing skills to survive the Holocaust, stitching beautiful clothes in an extraordinary fashion workshop within the Auschwitz concentration camp. At the height of the Holocaust twenty-five young inmates of the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp – mainly Jewish women and girls – were selected to design, cut, and sew beautiful fashions for elite Nazi women in a dedicated salon. It was work that they hoped would spare them from the gas chambers. Weaving the dressmakers’ remarkable experiences within the context of Nazi policies for plunder and exploitation, Lucy Adlington exposes the greed, cruelty, and hypocrisy of the Third Reich and offers a fresh look at a little-known chapter of the Second World War and the Holocaust.

Join 4/5 The Dressmakers of Auschwitz Zoom Session

6-8 p.m. - Restorative Justice: Harm and Healing

Speakers: Janet Conners “Mama J”, Clarissa Turner & Dennis Everett Jr.
Moderator: Brittnie Aiello
This session will begin with a screening of Circle up, a restorative justice documentary film about a group of Boston mothers who seek true justice for their murdered sons. Following the film, which has received national attention and recognition, attendees will have an opportunity to learn more about how restorative justice is being used for survivors to navigate their own healing process.

Join 4/5 Restorative Justice Zoom Session

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, Inclusionary 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., April 5

Wed., April 6