March 20–April 21
Reception: March 21, 4–7 p.m.
March 23, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Loughman Living Room (Scanlon)
An event of creative writers, social activists and others to support teaching of cross cultural literatures, and generally to support efforts of diversity and inclusion campus-wide.
Dr. Maureen T. Reddy, Rhode Island College, English. Dr, Reddy will deliver the opening keynote, "Discarding the Master's Tools in the Ivory Tower: Race & Social Justice on and off Campus." Dr. Reddy is also affiliated with the Gender and Women's Studies Program, which she directed from 1988-1999. Like many people trained as Victorianists, she has wide-ranging academic interests, with teaching interests in and publications on a variety of topics, including Victorian fiction, crime novels, race theory, and Irish fiction. He books include: Traces, Codes, and Clues: Reading Race in Crime Fiction. Rutgers University Press, 2002. Everyday Acts Against Racism. Seal Press, 1996. Crossing the Color Line: Race, Parenting, and Culture. Rutgers University Press, 1994.
Rabbi Justin David has led Congregation B’nai Israel in Northampton for 16 years. Rabbi David has been an advocate for a range of social justice issues. He strives to foster a community that is spiritually vibrant, intellectually alive, morally engaged, and devoted to raising the next generation of compassionate Jews. He is especially especially dedicated to supporting those who are most vulnerable, and is dedicated to the poetry of traditional prayer and commitment to ongoing study. Rabbi David has led the CBI congregation in becoming a sanctuary synagogue.
Mehlaqa Samdani is the executive director of Critical Connections, which she founded in 2013. She also serves as a peacebuilding associate at the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, where she is implementing a project to address sectarian violence in Pakistan. Previously, Samdani worked as an adjunct fellow with the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and a research analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York where she focused on women’s empowerment in the Muslim world. She has researched and worked in various conflict and transitional settings such as Pakistan, the Sudan, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Israel/Palestine. She has also been involved with civil society-based peace initiatives between India and Pakistan. Samdani’s writings have been published in the New York Times, Foreign Policy (AfPak Channel), Christian Science Monitor, Daily Times (Pakistan).
Dr. Elise Young, Westfield State University, History, Moderator.
Dr. Ginetta Candelario, Smith College, Sociology. In addition to being a professor of sociology, Ginetta Candelario is a faculty affiliate of the Latin American and Latina/o Studies Program, the Study of Women and Gender Program, the Community Engagement and Social Change Concentration, and she also serves on the advisory group for the Gloria Steinem & Wilma Mankiller School for Organizers at Smith College. Candelario's research interests include Dominican history and society, with a focus on national identity formation and women’s history; Blackness in the Americas; Latin American, Caribbean and Latina feminisms; Latina/o communities (particularly Cuban, Dominican and Puerto Rican); U.S. beauty culture; and museum studies. She has been a Fulbright Scholar in the Dominican Republic twice, in 2003 and 2016. Her first book, Black behind the ears: Dominican Racial Identity from Museums to Beauty Shops, was published by Duke University Press in 2007 and received the 2009 Best Book Award from the Latino Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association and the 2008 Best Book Award from the New England Council of Latin American Studies.
Dr. Laura Baker, Westfield State University, Education, pronouns she/her, began her journey in education in 1972. She has taught and led schools, worked in both general education and special education and most often in inclusive schools. Currently, she is an Associate Professor of Education at Westfield State University and serves as Department Chair. Laura is active in North Dakota Study Group and is on the Board of Lives in the Balance. He last publication was "A Letter to White Women Teachers: an urgent plea for change" in International Journal of Progressive Education (IJPE), Vol. 13, #2, June 2017.
Jason Whitford is a senior at Westfield State University with a major in Ethnic Gender and Sexuality Studies and a minor in English.
Dr. Pat Griffin, Professor Emerita of Education, UMass, Amherst, is a national LGBTQ athletics educator and activist.
Oliver de la Paz was born in the Philippines and raised in Ontario, Oregon. He earned a BA in English and a BS in biology from Loyola Marymount University and an MFA from Arizona State University. He is the author of four collections of poetry, Names Above Houses (2001), Furious Lullaby (2007), and Requiem for the Orchard (2010), winner of the Akron Prize for poetry, and Post Subject: A Fable (2014). He co-chairs the advisory board of Kundiman, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Asian American Poetry, and his work has appeared in many journals as well as anthologies such as Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation (2004). He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at Pacific Lutheran University. More information at www.oliverdelapaz.com
Diana Abu-Jaber will deliver the keynote address titled "Losing Your Coordinates: the Creative Freedom of Writing Off-Course.” She was born in Syracuse, New York to an American mother and a Jordanian father. Her family moved to Jordan a few times throughout her childhood, and elements of both her American and Jordanian experiences, as well as cross-cultural issues, especially culinary reflections, appear in her work. Her most recent novel, Birds Of Paradise, won the 2012 Arab-American National Book Award. She is also the author of several award-winning novels: Origin (2008), Crescent (2004), Arabian Jazz (2003), and two award-winning memoirs, Life Without A Recipe (2016), and The Language of Baklava (2005). Ms. Abu-Jaber teaches writing and literature at Portland State University and divides her time between South Florida and Portland, Oregon. More information at www.dianaabujaber.com/about
Michael Wood, Jr., ended his service as an assaultman in the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team of the U.S. Marine Corps in 2001 and joined the Baltimore Police Department, where he served in patrol, major case narcotics, sergeant and unit commander, until he retired medically in 2014. Mr. Wood became well-known throughout the country for speaking out against police brutality in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death, and the subsequent protests that ensued in Baltimore. Mr. Wood currently advocates for change in policing and police culture. He is a published police management author, literally writing the book on modern police excellence and more. In 2016, Michael led a veterans groups to Standing Rock to defend against state sponsored violence. More information at www.michaelawoodjr.net and www.civilianledpolicing.org
Marion Davis is the Director of Communications at Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). MIRA is the largest coalition in New England promoting the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees. With offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, MIRA advances this mission through education and training, leadership development, institutional organizing, strategic communications, policy analysis and advocacy.
March 28, 7 p.m.
Scanlon Banquet Hall
Read from their inspirational creative writing
March 29, 5:30 p.m.
Scanlon Banquet Hall, Room C
A conversation on awareness and activism.
These programs are co-sponsored by Diversity/Inclusion & Student Activities.