Below is the schedule of workshops and featured sessions for July 29. All times are Eastern Standard Time.
Please complete this survey to indicate which sessions you are interested in attending.
Zoom links and additional access information will be shared the week of the Forum. If you have not already, please complete the registration form.
- 9 a.m. - Welcome and Featured Session
America’s Persistent Pandemic—Racism: How to Foster Antiracist Practices and Create a Culture of Inclusion, Equity and Justice
Ibram X. Kendi, PhD, professor, Department of History, Boston University, and one of the nation's leading scholars on race and racism (featured keynote)
University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher; Keisha N. Blain, PhD, associate professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of History; Majestic Lane, chief equity officer and deputy chief of staff, Office of the Mayor, City of Pittsburgh; Morgan Ottley, president of the University of Pittsburgh Black Action Society; Valerie Kinloch, PhD, the Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Education (moderator); and Eric Macadangdang, president of the Student Government Board, University of Pittsburgh (moderator).
Kendi’s groundbreaking research challenges racism and inequality in America. In this session, panelists will discuss how racism has influenced policies which have created inequality for racial groups such as African Americans, Latin X and Indigenous people. This session will also challenge participants to confront racist ideas in order to create a culture of inclusion, equity and justice.
10:45 a.m. - Morning workshops
Due to overwhelming popularity of the Diversity Forum, the workshop committee has highlighted and will be livestreaming one workshop per session block. We anticipate that many workshops will reach technology capacity. If you cannot access a workshop due to the Zoom room being full, please join us at the highlighted livestream session, which does not have a capacity limit.
Oppressive Systems (Livestream)
Amber Thompson, principal consultant for Leaders of Change
The Oppressive Systems Workshop is designed to help participants understand how systems affect both society and the individual. The workshop will introduce participants to the ways in which oppression has been designed and institutionalized historically, and how these systems continue to be perpetuated today. Participants will then be guided through an exercise in Systems Mapping, which moves this understanding of systems from theory into practice by identifying how these systems actually operate in the everyday lives of participants—in their homes, their workplaces, and their communities. Through this process, participants will be trained to identify the root causes of issues behind their everyday encounters and will be called and given support to develop specific action steps to address those root causes. Participants will leave empowered to take tangible actions after the workshop to begin to dismantle these Oppressive Systems.
Anti-Racism in the Ivory Tower: Creating Welcoming Campus Environments Through Conversation
Abigail Adams, PhD, associate professor of anthropology at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Candice Bolger, master’s student in higher education management, University of Pittsburgh
This workshop will engage the intersection of social justice theory and the Critically Compassionate Intellectualism (CCI) model of transformative education to decolonize classrooms and campus climates in higher education. The facilitators will accomplish this by presenting a brief history on racism in higher education, creating an understanding of the Critically Compassionate Intellectualism (CCI) model, and discussing how faculty and administrators can support students along their social justice journey. Finally, the presenters will offer tools participants can employ on campus and intheir classroom settings. The social justice tools will answer questions such as, “How do I build conversations with trust?,” “How do I act in anti-racist ways in a racist culture?,” and “What can we do to demystify implicit bias?” This workshop is based on the combined research of over 30 years of social change action and critical social theory.
Educating Anti-Racist Health Professionals
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Eloho Ufomata, assistant professor of medicine, advisory dean and the vice dean liaison for diversity to graduate medical education; Eliana Bonifacino, assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine; Thuy Bui, director of the Social Medicine Fellows Program and the Global Health/Underserved Populations track; Utibe Essien, assistant professor of medicine and health equity researcher; and Naudia Jonassaint, assistant professor of medicine and surgery
Medical education perpetuates the falsehood of race as a surrogate for genetics in disease and health outcomes. Race is a social construct rather than a biological one. As such, health professionals are taught that the etiology of disparate outcomes is race, rather than the systemic racism and structures which influence a multitude of downstream effects including poverty, chronic minority stress and interpersonal bias leading to health disparities. Our workshop will illustrate how to include the history of racism in medicine, and reframe the use of race, rather than the power-based racism as the driver of health inequities and discuss strategies to include these learning objectives in a longitudinal medical education curriculum.
Equity and Justice in Government Algorithms
Erin Dalton, deputy director, Office of Analytics, Technology and Planning, Allegheny County Department of Health and Human Services; Chris Deluzio, policy director of Pitt Cyber; Michelle McMurray, director of grantmaking for children, youth and families at The Pittsburgh Foundation; LaTrenda Sherrill, community innovator in the Greater Pittsburgh Region and founder of Common Cause Consulting; and Richard Purcell, associate professor of English, director of literary and cultural studies program, Carnegie Mellon University
Algorithms are increasingly determinative in our lives, from who gets a loan to who gets a job interview. Yet, these mathematical models are nearly always proprietary and opaque—and frequently biased. A veneer of technical neutrality can obscure that algorithms can reinforce existing discrimination patterns. Algorithms are becoming an increasingly important tool of municipal governments, including in Allegheny County. They can provide significant benefits to the County and its residents. However, without efforts in place to guide the deployment of these tools, we risk entering the next era of Jim Crow, one driven by massive amounts of available data, with little opportunity for remedy. This workshop will explore the use of public algorithms in our region, including reasons to be concerned—and reasons to be optimistic. It will also explore how universities can play a role, from education to policy efforts including the Pittsburgh Task Force on Public Algorithms.
Anthropology, Race, Racism and Everyday Life
Gabby M.H. Yearwood, PhD, socio-cultural anthropologist, lecturer and director of undergraduate studies, University of Pittsburgh Department of Anthropology
This workshop will give attendees an in-depth look at the development of the categories of race and racism and its embeddedness in everyday life. Anthropology as a discipline has been responsible for the development of race as a scientific category that has become a naturalized way of organizing and living in the world as "raced" individuals. Most are unaware of Anthropology's connections to the American and British Eugenics movements of the early 20th Century that created a strong link between science and racism. Over the last 150 years race and racism have become seemingly indissoluble categories from everyday life but also most importantly their impact on policy making, research and social action has been far reaching. We will explore the ways in which race and racism have become deeply entrenched in our most personal categories of life and experience but also in our professional lives.
Using Social Psychological Insights to Foster Equity in College Classrooms
University of Pittsburgh’s Kevin R. Binning, assistant professor, Department of Psychology; Research Scientist, Learning Research and Development Center; Omid Fotuhi, research associate, Learning Research and Development Center; Chandralekha Singh, professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy; director, Discipline-Based Science Education Research Center
Students and instructors are usually aware of stereotypes that certain demographic groups tend not to perform as well as others. Our research in Pitt classrooms has shown that, when left unaddressed, such stereotypes “in the air” can limit all students’ potential and have a particularly harmful effect on the targets of the negative stereotypes. In this workshop, we will present practical insights, rooted in social psychological theory, about ways to make stereotypes irrelevant in the classroom. This work proceeds from the premise that all people, students included, have a core need to belong. That is, students wish to be seen and accepted as equal and not to be reduced, judged, or viewed through the lens of stereotypes. Through classroom interventions, evidence-based teaching practices, and wise messaging, it is possible to negate the effects of stereotypes and help all students thrive. Our workshop will teach participants how to accomplish this.
A New Effort to Build Capacity for Equity Research: Back to Basics
Leslie R.M. Hausmann, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and an Investigator at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion; Chantele E. Mitchell-Miland, PhDc, MPH, doctoral candidate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in the Department of Epidemiology, a graduate student investigator at University of Pittsburgh, and research health scientist at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion and Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center; and Janke B. Mains-Mason, gay, gender-fluid white settler with research interests in racial, queer, and transgender equity and justice, and mobilizing health institutions to meaningfully dismantle systems of oppression
Established in 2001, the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) is a competitively-funded research center within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Although advancing equity in health and healthcare among Veterans has always been CHERP’s primary mission, a decrease inequity-focused research over time led CHERP to create the Equity Capacity Building Core (CBC) in 2018 to begin re-establishing equity as a central theme. In this workshop, members of the CHERP Equity CBC will discuss the challenges, strategies, and lessons learned thus far in their efforts to integrate equity throughout CHERP’s research, training, and service. The facilitators will first discuss the importance of establishing trust within the Equity CBC and how they learned to celebrate differences in their approaches to equity work. They will then share strategies for engage the CHERP community in center-wide efforts to cultivate a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive VA research environment.
Words Matter: Examining the Language in Your Message
Mae Reale, systems advocate with the Blackburn Center, a comprehensive crime victims’ center in Westmoreland County, and Cassie Ellson, community education coordinator with the Blackburn Center
Language powerfully dictates the inclusive and sensitive nature of communication. Conscious word choice plays a crucial role in cultivating diverse conversations, promoting social transformation, and challenging privilege. In both the community and the classroom, even well-intended speakers can inadvertently exclude their listeners based on their language choices. As educators in the movement to end gender-based violence, we have witnessed the ability of language to unify people around a cause. We intend to share this evolving process with those who strive to create inclusive environments in their classrooms and communities. This session will give participants an opportunity to examine their linguistic choices and craft their communications to create a safe, inclusive space for their audiences as they focus on strategic implementation of transformative messaging.
On the Path of Humanizing Institutional Processes
Marcela Anita Souza, administrative assistant for The Pittsburgh Study, a community-based research where she extends her advocacy for diversification and inclusiveness at the workplace and Felicia Savage Friedman, codirector of the Pittsburgh Study and registered yoga instructor
Our work is to power-up community members. One of the greatest challenges for promoting equity and social justice is to question the established flowcharts within administrative functions that present a real barrier to community members feeling valued by institutions and systems. Humanizing institutional processes requires questioning everything that is categorized as “standard procedure” which shelters institutional discrimination. This workshop will discuss forms of systemic discrimination that dehumanize community members attempting to work with institutions through standard procedures. Participants will be encouraged to think about their own environments and identify forms of oppression, power dynamics, and how workers systematically reproduce them. Administrative assistant and co-director of The Pittsburgh Study, a community-partnered research and advocacy initiative, will co-present the strategies that the Pittsburgh Study adopted to address inherited institutional discrimination and ensure equitable community participation from collective development of shared-values all the way through recognizing community members' time as a valued asset.
Making it Up As We Go: Improv Skills for Creating a Better World
Olivia Hartle, theatre director, performer, and scholar-practitioner of applied theatre and applied improvisation
Improvisation is becoming increasingly appreciated as a tool for social transformation. As people all over the world adopt creative approaches to tackling enduring problems, improv training has become a popular complement to innovative practices. Improvisers train in listening, supporting, and being present. These core principles are applicable across countless disciplines and are critical skills for successful social justice work. Through games and exercises drawn from the disciplines of theatrical improvisation and Theatre of the Oppressed, participants will experience how an improvisational practice can support productive dialogue, create space for exploring and interrogating power and oppression, and facilitate healthy group dynamics. Time and space will be provided for participants to play with, explore, and rehearse bringing these concepts into their own work and lives outside of the workshop.
Social Identity, Bias, and Racism: A Social Psychological Lens to Help Understand a Social Justice Movement
Omid Fotuhi, PhD, experimental social psychologist and research associate with the University of Pittsburgh Learning Research and Development Center
A succinct and balanced summary of research on social identity, bias, and racism outlines the interplay between beliefs, behavior, and systemic patterns of inequity. We also explore the role that social identities (e.g., racist) play in either promoting and averting support for social justice.
Inclusion in Academic Science
Sarah Hainer, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania Department of Biological Sciences; Freyja Ólafsdóttir, and Renuka Kudva
This workshop will explore diversity and inclusion by providing a baseline understanding and discussion of the current diversity landscape within academic research and make suggestions for practices to improve inclusion within academia.
From the Cycle of Oppression to the Cycle of Liberation
Stepf Diaz, student affairs professional with a background in social work and focus on macro practice and supporting college age students in their own identity development and social justice practice
This workshop will cover moving from the cycle of oppression to the cycle of liberation. Participants will be able to examine their own behaviors and where they fall on the oppression action continuum. Using the information in this workshop participants will be able to set their own individual goals surrounding advocacy and action as we work toward an inclusive, anti-racist society. The skills presented in this workshop can be utilized to understand and advance advocacy work with any marginalized group.
The Impact of PITT STRIVE on URM PhD Access, Community and Success
University of Pittsburgh’s Steve Abramowitch, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering; David Gau, PhD, postdoctoral associate in the Department of Bioengineering; Melissa Bilec, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Mary Besterfield-Sacre, PhD, associate dean for academic affairs; Deanna Sinex, PhD candidate Department of Bioengineering; and Sylvanus Wosu, PhD, associate dean for diversity affairs and associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the University of Pittsburgh
Research universities are appreciating the importance of diversifying its STEM faculty and making efforts to increase the numbers of underrepresented minorities (URMs) obtaining PhDs. Achieving this goal requires understanding and addressing systemic challenges that are specific to URM students and adopting a supportive institutional culture and climate. To address these challenges, the PITT STRIVE Program (STRIVE), funded by the NSFAGEP-KAT, adapted evidence-based strategies at the Swanson School of Engineering. A key question being answered is: How successful will the adoption/adaption be at an institution with a different academic culture and climate? STRIVE has contributed to increases in URM enrollment (5 to 7.5%) into Pitt engineering doctoral programs, URM PhD production (from 4 to 13 PhDs) over four years, and the strength of student-faculty community. In this workshop, we will discuss the impact of the adapted activities and principles that are aimed at increasing student access, retention, and success.
Rethinking our #DudeWalls: Using Art to Create a Dialogue that Fosters Diversity and Inclusion in Public Academic Spaces
Sylvia Rhor Samaniego, PhD, director and curator of the University Art Gallery, University of Pittsburgh
When you walk into a building on campus, do you see yourself represented on the walls? For many women and people of color on campus, the answer to this question is an emphatic “no.” Many of the public academic spaces at Pitt do not reflect the diversity of our community. Instead, some are filled with “dude walls,” installations that pay homage to the “pale, male and frail” of the university and exclude other histories and narratives. How can we use these public spaces to create dialogue about inclusion and diversity on our campus? In this workshop, we will critically evaluate the “low-curated” spaces on campus and their effect on our community. I will introduce you to projects at other universities that address these same issues. Together, we will discuss how we might creatively curate these public spaces to be more inclusive and more representative.
Unlocking the Power of Engaged Bystanders: Developing Constructive Responses to Microaggressions
Audrey Murrell, PhD, acting dean of the University Honors College and professor of business administration and Ray Jones, PhD, clinical professor of business administration, University of Pittsburgh
This workshop focuses on developing the awareness and capabilities of bystanders to constructively intervene in situations involving microaggressions. This call to action is to raise awareness that microaggressions, microinsults and microassaults have dramatic impact on the psychological safety of targeted individuals and our campus community. Research shows that equipping bystanders to effectively intervene reduces the escalation of microaggressions and its negative consequences. However, without effective tools, it is psychologically challenging for bystanders to determine an appropriate response. Yet, we know that when targets of microaggressions have at least one supporter, the escalation of microaggressions is reduced and the negative impact on the targets are diminished. In this workshop, we will focus on providing strategies that can enable individuals to move from being disengaged onlookers to becoming engaged supporters. Our goal is to facilitate a constructive dialogue and provide a set of research-based tools for responding constructively to microaggressions
12:00 p.m. - Featured Session
Turn the World Inside Out: Art as Activism
Brittney Chantele, hip-hop artist and activist; Rangoli Pittsburgh, a group dedicated to uplifting the voices of South Asian LGBTQ+ community of Pittsburgh, Sarah Huny Young, a creative director, photographer, interdisciplinary artist; and Joseph Hall, executive director of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater (moderator)
“My wish: use art to turn the world inside out.” Photographer and street artist JR’s wish concisely positions art as a form of activism. In this session, Pittsburgh artists present their work and discuss their ideas and art-making practices in relation to social and political activism.
1:45 p.m. - Afternoon workshops
Due to overwhelming popularity of the Diversity Forum, the workshop committee has highlighted and will be livestreaming one workshop per session block. We anticipate that many workshops will reach technology capacity. If you cannot access a workshop due to the Zoom room being full, please join us at the highlighted livestream session, which does not have a capacity limit.
A Conversation Too Long Ignored: How COVID-19, Xenophobia and Systemic Racism Disenfranchise the Marginalized Communities of Pittsburgh (Livestream)
Marian M. Lien, president, OCA-Asian American Pacific advocates (Pittsburgh chapter); commissioner, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania governor’s advisory commission on Asian American Pacific Island affairs, James A. Cook, associate director, Asian Studies Center, and Josiah Gilliam, My Brother’s Keeper Initiative (MPK) coordinator for the Mayor’s Office of Equity, City of Pittsburgh
As the pandemic escalated with cases, it also intensified daily impacts of systemic racism on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Facilitators at this workshop will discuss local perspectives of how racist and xenophobic incidents including physical and verbal assaults have dramatically increased against the Asian and Asian American populations, and how the pandemic has negatively affected the BIPOC communities who were already experiencing limited access to health care, paid sick leave, economic insecurity, and higher rates of underlying conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and respiratory illnesses that make COVID-19 infections deadly. They will share organizational and community action plans, as well as creating alliances, partnerships, and coalitions to reach a racial equity vision.
What Is Essential Is Invisible to the Eyes: What’s in Your Culture Box?
Abdesalam Soudi, PhD, lecturer and linguistic internship and consulting advisor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh; Shelome Gooden, PhD, associate professor of linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh; Judy Chang, MD, associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, and Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh; and Clark Chilson, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies, University of Pittsburgh
Culture has long been compared to an iceberg (Hall 1976, Weaver 1986): What is essential is hidden. We see dress, food, we hear language, but deep inside lie identity, core values, social norms, gender roles and more. Culture reflects many characteristics including religion, language, race, ethnicity, nationality, family, age, and gender; it is revealed in behavior, assumptions, and values. This proposal aims to create formal structure and space for a community-wide conversation devoted to discovering deeper connections, building bridges, and learning about each other’s lives to create a closer, more just, caring community. Using Culture Box technique—collection of items representing a person’s cultural heritage—we discuss with our audience how to use this approach to create an enduring forum for our community members to engage across the lines that divide us, decrease violence, promote diversity, and build a stronger community where everyone feels safe and valued.
Crossroads: Allyship and Intersectionality
Adam F. Kauffman, assistant director in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, University of Pittsburgh
Race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, socioeconomic status and other identities are not mutually exclusive. This session will help us understand intersectionality, how it impacts us, and how to use this understanding and our own privileges to be responsible allies
Check Your Blind Spots
Ahmed Ghuman, PsyD, MBA, LPC, clinical psychologist and interim training director at the University Counseling Center, University of Pittsburgh; and Emiola Jay Oriola, founding program manager for the Office of Interfaith Dialogue and Engagement, University of Pittsburgh
This workshop will focus on the role of unconscious bias on our interactions and relationships with others. Unconscious biases are social stereotypes and attitudes about groups of people that are formed outside our conscious awareness. These biases affect how we understand or engage with a person or group by eliciting feelings based on their characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, etc. This experiential workshop will guide participants through various activities designed to help them explore their blind spots about different social groups.
Inclusivity in the Asian Community: Above and Beyond an Acronym
University of Pittsburgh students Alyssa Khieu, Uma Balaji, Eric Duong, Gabriel Gilbert, Zach Lim, Lyka Mamaril, Tommy Nguyen, Sam Rae, Mary Vi, Vikki Wang, Paris Yamamoto, and Katherine Yang
With so many different acronyms that describe the Asian and Pacific Islander community, it’s difficult to navigate which is the right term to use in the right context, while still ensuring that our language is inclusive. In this workshop, Pitt’s Asian Student Alliance, Chinese American Student Association, Filipino Students Association, Japanese Student Association, Korean Student Association, Vietnamese Student Association, and South Asian Student Alliance will explore the different acronyms for the Asian and Pacific Island diaspora, why each was created, and more broadly, the large disparities between groups within this community. The Asian and Pacific Islander American community has the largest socioeconomic gap of all racial minority groups in the United States. This workshop will discuss why this gap exists and how the Model Minority Myth drives this gap, in addition to impacting relations with other marginalized communities—ultimately, explaining why the acronyms and language we use are important.
Understanding White Racial Identity Development and the Pillars of White Privilege
Brittany Works, LMSW, CCTP, founder of Mattes of Our Mind, LLC
This workshop uses Helm’s White Racial Identify Model to explore the stages of white racial identity development. This webinar examines the role white privilege plays in the development of white racial identity, by identifying common American ideologies that maintain white privilege. This interactive session will discuss effective ways to address ideologies that propagate systemic racism and oppression while reflecting on personal experiences with race and privilege. Participants will understand white identity development by exploring racial identity models Identify the myths that maintain the culture of white privilege and promote systemic racism and explore societal, educational, and political influence on one’s own understanding of white privilege, race, and identity development in America.
The Importance of Representation: Evidence and Suggestions for Effective Advocacy from a Political Perspective
Daniel Jones, applied microeconomist Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh; Tessa Provins, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh; and Emily A. West, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh
Racial inclusion is important, particularly for historically marginalized groups. Evidence shows that Black representation improves outcomes. Black students do better in classrooms led by Black instructors. Black voters trust the government more when they are represented by Black officeholders, perhaps in part because Black elected officials are significantly more responsive to Black constituents. In health care, Black patients have better communication, satisfaction, and outcomes when seen by a Black physician. This workshop has three goals. First, we will use evidence to demonstrate the importance of Black representation in a host of contexts. Second, we will emphasize the importance of advocating for different political avenues aimed at increasing instances of such representation, with a particular focus on academia. Third, we will provide a list of suggested resources and action steps for the implementation of such policies, with a sensitive eye towards avoiding the often undue burden that such work might place on people of color.
Unsilencing Black Women Workplace Experiences
Channing L. Moreland, EdD, NCC, inaugural director of the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences’ Wellness Pavilion at the Homewood Community Engagement Center
This workshop will address the psychological impact of disempowering workplace experiences Black women professional leaders endure while working within predominantly White organizations. Research findings of a recent qualitative phenomenological study will be reported. Intersectionality, critical race theory, black feminist thought, and phenomenology will be introduced to conceptualize the research participant's experiences. The socio-historical and cultural context of their experiences will be discussed, and culturally responsive interventions and practices will be shared.
LGBTQIA+ Inclusion and Representation in the Classroom
Julie Beaulieu, PhD, lecturer in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program, University of Pittsburgh; and Dr. Matthew Lovett, PhD, visiting lecturer of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, University of Pittsburgh
This workshop discusses lgbtqia+ inclusion in university curricula. We welcome all participants who would like tools geared towards respect for human sexual variation in an educational space. As educators in Pitt’s GSWS program, our primary focus will be lgbtqia+ inclusion, but we aspire to create a forum and body of resources that speak to a wide range of issues regarding sexual diversity. How do we respectfully teach the lives of others without tokenizing? How do our identities in the classroom create specific obstacles for social justice oriented pedagogy? What challenges exist for activist scholars? How might disciplinary expectations, career goals, and/or institutional demands help or hinder this call to action? The facilitators will introduce these questions through the lens of lgbtqia+ topics, but we will workshop strategies that acknowledge the impact of categories of oppression that intersect with sexual minorities, and we will co-create practices that speak across social justice issues.
Connecting History with the Injustices of Today: Insights from the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh
Lauren Apter Bairnsfather, PhD, executive director, Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh and Marcel L. Walker, award-winning graphic-prose creator and expert in social applications for comic book art
The Jewish and African American communities have both experienced profound violence that has had a rippling effect on generations afterward. The legacy of this prejudice is evidenced close to home by the synagogue shooting at Tree of Life congregation and recent reports and protests against the systemic violence against Black people. This talk addresses persecution, generational trauma and ways in which these groups have had similar experiences--and the pitfalls of drawing too many false equivalencies. It will explore which versions of history our society chooses to elevate and celebrate, and the impact that the version of history that is taught has on today. We will also discuss the conversations and learning that must take place within an organization before the organization can make it happen externally. We will discuss the arts and their potential as a tool for having these conversations, citing CHUTZ-POW!, our original comic book series.
Creative Practices to Reclaim Your Humanity
I Medina Jackson, poet, spoken word and hip-hop artist, writer and director of engagement, University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development's P.R.I.D.E. Program; and Hannah du Plessis, artist, writer, educator, facilitator and principal at Fit Associates
An oppressive, racialized society cuts us off from our own humanity, and the humanity of others. I Medina Jackson and Hannah du Plessis are learning to reclaim their own humanity, build life-affirming cross-race collaborations and host spaces for cross-race groups to do the same. Join them for an interactive session where you will experience creative practices to explore the heartbreak of living in a racialized body and world, and the process of reclaiming your wholeness. The facilitators will share stories and practices from their personal journeys and professional collaboration. Please bring a journal and a pen (or a box of crayons!)
Deconstructing White Fragility
Kristin Kanthak, PhD, associate professor of political science, University of Pittsburgh
Frank conversations that center race rarely occur, largely because white people find them uncomfortable, and as the majority racial group, white people tend to be able to select the terms of debate. The purpose of this workshop is to seek ways to subject this unwillingness to discuss race to deconstruction, in both senses of the word deconstruction. We will first deconstruct white fragility as a concept in an effort to better understand it. Second, we will deconstruct white fragility by pinpointing concrete actions aimed at demolishing the negative effects of white fragility. The workshop will draw on research from psychology, sociology, and political science to elucidate some of the components of white fragility, including system justification, self-perception, and white identity politics. The workshop will also include the opportunity for participants to brainstorm specific actions one can take to deconstruct white fragility in their own lives.
Navigating Religious Diversity in the (Future) Workplace
Leslie Funk, senior workplace program associate at the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding
In an age of "bring your whole self to work" and themes of belonging popping up at across industries, the old adage of not talking about religion and politics in the workplace is becoming less and less true. And with good reason. According to a recent PRRI study, 70% of Americans interacting with folks of different religions than themselves do so in the workplace. With this, there is an opportunity to increase awareness around religious diversity, consider the business benefits to doing so, and develop more inclusive workplaces for people of all religions and none. This session will provide people at all different parts of their career with the techniques and tools to address religious diversity in the workplace.
How to Be a White Ally
Melissa A. Walker, PhD, director of the TRIO Training Academy within Educational Equity at Penn State University and associate director for Penn State's talent search and EOC Programs
This workshop will discuss systemic oppression as it relates to those allies that would work to dismantle systems that impede BIPOC. Participants willlearn how to create opportunities to support BIPOC voices, sponsor BIPOC into white spaces, and how to use white privilege to dismantle systems of power and privilege.
Empowering Student Leaders of Color in Predominantly White Organizations and Leadership Teams
Simeon Saunders, EdD, assistant director of undergraduate recruitment in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and Destiny Harrison-Griffin, rising senior University of Pittsburgh
We know the importance and value for student leaders of color to be represented and included in predominantly white organizations and leadershipteams. However, efforts to include student leaders of color into predominantly white organizational spaces can often create feelings of tokenism andisolation. Inclusion without the necessary support and empowerment can undermine the inherent value, agency, and voices of student leaders of color inpredominantly white spaces. Participants in this session will be provided the opportunity to discuss the often unintended consequences of diversifying and including student leaders of color into predominately white spaces without the proper and strategic efforts to empower and support these students, especially in times of national activism and discussions around issues of race and racial injustices. Participants will also have the opportunity to think about and share ideas and strategies to further empower student leaders of color in predominantly white organizations and leadership teams.
Where Are You Stuck in Your Work for Racial Justice? A Body-Based Practice to See Where We Are Stuck and Vision a Way Forward.
Stephanie M. Romero, EdD, founder and executive director of Awaken Pittsburgh; Gemma Jiang, PhD, founding director of the Organizational Innovation Lab at Swanson School of Engineering and the founding host of Pitt u.lab hub; and Tricia Chirumbole, MBA, facilitator & trainer of transformational group Engagement, dialogue, and embodied wisdom practices
This workshop presents mindfulness-based embodied practice called Social Presencing Theater, part of Theory U work for systems change. SPT helps us tap into the body's wisdom. Together, we will embody our current reality and the vision for a saner, freer, healthier, more creative emerging future.
- 3:30 p.m. - Featured Session
The Contagion of Xenophobia
Phuc Tran, author, educator, classicist; Alyssa Khieu, advocacy chair of the Asian Student Alliance; Waverly Duck, PhD, urban sociologist and associate professor of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Sociology; and Sheila Velez-Martinez, the Jack & Lovell Olender Professor of Refugee, Asylum, and Immigration Law and director of clinical programs, University of Pittsburgh; and Paula Davis, assistant vice chancellor for Health Sciences Diversity at the University of Pittsburgh (moderator).
This session will explore the targeted physical and psychological violence and hate crimes perpetrated against Asian Americans and other ethnic groups across the United States. Participants will explore the complexities of assimilation and how the US has been wary of almost every group of immigrants that has arrived.