2016: Carving a New Path

Monday, January 25, 2016
Room Information
Swasey Chapel

The program and workshops will enlighten and enrich our understanding of many of the social justice issues that Dr. King dedicated his life to. We hope that you will take away a deeper understanding of his legacy of service, his intellectual engagement and his activist contributions and that you will come away with a strengthened commitment to work towards social justice for all.

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM DCA'S Events Committee will be sponsoring service projects.

You can sign up as an individual or as a group.

1:00 PM Swasey Chapel: All Campus Convocation

The Denison Gospel Choir and Tehillah will open the program with music and excerpts of speeches by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The keynote will be “Blacknotes” a performance and discussion by award winning writer and actress, Dr. Mary E. Weems.

3:15 PM Workshop Titles (Descriptions below)

  • Voting then and now: The Power of Community Organizing from Fanny Lou Hamer to the Present
  • Trans Basics
  • Thumb Thugs: How Social Media Impacts Campus Climate
  • The Nature of Racism: Philosophy Coffee
  • Story Listening, the Other Side of Storytelling
  • Power, Privilege and Oppression
  • Intro to Intersectional Feminism
  • Exploring Islam in Detroit in Light of Dr. King's Dream: A Film and Discussion
  • Embracing Mental Fitness: Crossing Cultural Barriers to Wellness
  • Denison First-Generation College Students - Expanding Diversity and Economic Opportunities through Higher Education
  • Cultural Pressure at Denison University
  • 3½ MINUTES, TEN BULLETS: Film and Discussion

Workshop Descriptions

Voting then and now: The Power of Community Organizing from Fanny Lou Hamer to the Present

Richard Cook and Veronica Hadnot,

The Roost- 3rd floor Slayter

This presentation will provide a brief history of the Civil Rights movement along with a re-enactment of the community organizing efforts of Fannie Lou Hamer to gain voting rights for sharecroppers. In addition, the importance of grassroots organizing in countering current efforts to disenfranchise voters will be discussed.

Trans Basics

Dio Aldridge and Anna Phung, Professional Staff, Multicultural Resource Center of Oberlin College

Burton Morgan 219

This workshop is designed with two primary goals in mind. The first part of the training is more theoretical, discussing how gender identity and expression intersects with and informs current conversations about identity formation. The hope is to break down simplistic binaries of there being just two sexes or two genders or two sexual orientations. The second half of the training takes the theory knowledge and applies it to the practical work of each staff member, office or student. 

Power, Privilege and Oppression

Kristen Surla and Julio Reyes, Professional Staff, Multicultural Resource Center of Oberlin College

Ebaugh 113

This workshop will focus on acquiring the basic concepts surrounding privilege, power, oppression and allyship. Workshop participants interrogate their own identities in relationship to privilege, power, and oppression. Participants engage in case studies that help to build skills and practices of being in allyship with underrepresented communities.

3½ MINUTES, TEN BULLETS: Film and Discussion

Jack Shuler, Associate Professor of English & Torin Jacobs, head of Columbus Citizens for Police Review

Slayter Viewing Room, 4th floor Slayter

In November 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida, four unarmed African-American teenagers stop at a gas station to buy gum and cigarettes. When a middle-aged white man parks beside them, an altercation begins over the volume of rap music playing in the teens’ car. In a matter of moments, Michael Dunn fires 10 bullets into their car, killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis instantly. 3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets is a seamlessly constructed, riveting documentary that explores the danger and subjectivity of Florida's Stand Your Ground self-defense laws. The film weaves Dunn's trial with Jordan Davis's parents' wrenching experiences in and out of the courtroom. The result is a powerful story about the devastating effects of racial bias and the search for justice within the US legal system. As the deaths of Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner galvanize the public and begin to shape national dialogue and policy, the intimate and moving 3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets brings the conversation back home—to the impact felt by families across the country for whom reform can’t come fast enough. Special Jury Award for Social Impact, US Documentary, Sundance Film Festival 2015.

Storylistening, the Other Side of Storytelling

Melissa Madera, Laura C. Harris Fellow, Women’s & Gender Studies

Talbot 212

In the past few years there has increasingly been an emphasis on public storytelling as a way to create culture change and break stigmas around reproductive experiences, especially abortion. However, there has been little to no conversation about the storylistening necessary to support us as storytellers. The art of story-sharing/storytelling and storylistening are intimately connected. All our stories matter, but our stories also need good listeners. Just as story-sharing requires vulnerability and courage so does storylistening. Just as story-sharing is powerful, empowering and healing so is the act of storylistening. We will learn how to support and hold space for our community members, students, family members, friends, colleagues and clients when they choose to share their truths concerning their lived experiences. Come learn how to listen so that we can understand what those experiences mean to them and how it is a part of the larger story of their lives, and create a culture that encourages courageous conversations and difficult dialogues on campus and in our classrooms.

Denison First-Generation College Students - Expanding Diversity and Economic Opportunities through Higher Education

Jennifer Grube Vestal, Michele Doran, Julie Tucker

Huffman Presidential Dining Hall

This year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is framed with an MLK quote that states “the inseparable twin of racial injustice was economic injustice.” This presentation will use this quote as a launching point for a review of data from Denison University’s First Generation college student population. First Generation college students (First Gen = a student with neither parent having completed college) broaden the diversity of Denison’s campus and many report their pursuit of a college education is tied to expanding economic opportunity. Demographic data, academic performance, engagement & wellness and post-Denison outcomes will be shared in order to provide a snapshot of the First Gen DU experience.

Exploring Islam in Detroit in Light of Dr. King's Dream: A Film and Discussion Sustained Dialogue

Sustained Dialogue

Higley Auditorium Higley 105

“The Education of Mohammad Hussein” is a documentary exploring the discrimination faced by Muslims children and teens living in Dearborn, Michigan a suburb of Detroit. It covers the community’s anticipation of and response to a visit by Pastor Terry Jones who famously led a Qur’an burning ceremony. In keeping with Dr. King’s message, the goal of this session is not to create frustration and incite solely negative emotions but to become better educated, raise awareness, and demonstrate the power of seeking to understand and be understood. Following the 35 minute film screening attendees are invited and encouraged to attend breakout dialogues to explore the themes of the documentary and its intersectionality with Dr. King's lifework.

Embracing Mental Fitness: Crossing Cultural Barriers to Wellness

Whisler Health Center, Sanda Gibson, Marilyn Andrew, Neica Raker, Emily Henson

Shepardson Room

Accessing support for mental health wellness may be fraught with many barriers for all students. For students from countries and cultures that originate outside of the U.S., the hurdles can be insurmountable. Students may be confused about how to access help, dubious about trusting an outside professional, or feel embarrassed because they are struggling. Many students come from cultures where mental health issues are kept private within the family due to the stigma that often is attached to accessing support. Seeking help for mental and emotional issues may be taboo. Often times, mental health issues occur during the college years without any prior symptoms or history. This session will address these barriers by showing a short video, followed by discussion. Presenters will discuss awareness and warning signs, ways to seek treatment, and the myths about mental health treatment that prevent students from various cultures from seeking help. Students will learn about the service s they can access at The Whisler Center for Student Wellness as students of Denison University. They will also learn about the integrated model of wellness and how Whisler professionals coordinate care to best serve students.

Intro to Intersectional Feminism

Sigma Lambda Gamma and Denison Feminists

University Room- Slayter 4th floor

A collaborative discussion on intersectional feminism. We will provide an open and safe space where participants will be encouraged to analyze and discuss how other identities such as race, class, and religion affect one's experience with gender inequality. Furthermore, the goal of this discussion is to teach participants how any type of social justice advocacy should be made with an intersectional approach.

Thumb Thugs: How Social Media Impacts Campus Climate

Justin Cancel, Trixie Cortes, Na'il Scoggins, Linh Nguyen 

Burton Morgan Lecture Hall 115

We will discuss how social media has evolved into a popular method for communication that can both positively and negatively impact campus climate. Social media, including but not limited to Facebook, Yik-Yak, Twitter etc., was created as a tool for virtual communication, exchanging of information, and networking (Kaplan, A., Haenlein, M., 2010). Over the years, with advancements in technology, social media has grown into the most common way to engage with society. Unfortunately, these progressions have also provided a medium for bias-related incidents. Denison University defines bias-related incidents as harmful acts that are motivated by an individual’s actual or perceived identities. In this presentation, we will analyze incidents of bias from social medial platforms such as Yik Yak and Facebook at Denison University. Lastly, we will increase awareness of the power of social media on college campuses, as well as share best practices for developing empathy and respect.

Cultural Pressure at Denison University

Gena Banta-Long, Wallace Branche, Vanessa Cerda, Vincent Do

Talbot 210

Cultural Pressure occurs when a dominant group exerts its ideals on an individual and causes them to conform to the group's norms. This phenomenon can be both challenging and transformative for contemporary college students. During our presentation, we will share results from an informal qualitative study we conducted: which questioned whether cultural expectation, peer acceptance and interactions with faculty/staff helped or hindered the academic cultural and social experiences of ethnic minorities at Denison University. We created this presentation to further understand the struggles Denison students face relating mostly to academic, social, and cultural pressures.

The Nature of Racism: Philosophy Coffee

Philosophy Department Faculty

Knobel Hall, 327 Burton Morgan

What is the nature of racism? Is it best understood as an ideology that people explicitly accept and hold, unjust structural facts about society, or social practices and norms we unthinkingly engage in everyday? Or is it something else? Perhaps racism is no one thing, changing as people come to understand it. To what extent can people be racist without intending to be? Can works of art, tv shows, movies, costumes, or disciplines be racist? How might white privilege, implicit biases, and life in a “post”-racial America help us understand what racism is?


Aoki: A Documentary Film

The Asian American Association and Chi Sigma Tau

5:30 pm Herrick Hall

This documentary film chronicles the life of Richard Aoki (1938-2009), a third-generation Japanese American who became one of the key founding members of the Black Panther Party.  Although he is Asian-American, he helped establish the movement since struggle for freedom, justice, and equality transcends racial and ethnic backgrounds. 

Racism, Militarism, Poverty: MLK's 'Triple Evils' and the Struggle Today

7.30 pm, Slayter - University Room

Dr. Pranav Jani, The Ohio State University

Dr. Martin Luther King spoke out publicly against the Vietnam War -- and immediately became reviled in mainstream circles.  Today, MLK is cited widely in the mainstream, but the heart of his speech, against the "triple evils" of racism, militarism, and economic exploitation, are ignored.  Dr. Jani will explore MLK's radical turn at the end of his life, and how we can build on this vision of global solidarity. This event a Global Studies Seminar.

Posted Date 
Monday, January 4, 2016

Contact Us

Richard Brown

Associate Dean of Student Life
Director of the Center for Belonging and Inclusion

Nicole M. Ausmer

Associate Vice President/Dean of Student Life


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