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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week of Learning and Engagement
January 20-24, 2020

Advocacy and Activism: Advancing Social Justice Together

Beginning on Monday, January 20, Champlain College will host a series of events to honor and celebrate the legacy and contributions of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year's College celebration is sponsored by the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs and Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. 

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Throughout the day, students, faculty, and staff will have the opportunity to attend sessions in the Morgan Room in Aiken Hall on various topics to learn more about advocacy and activism both here on campus and in a broader setting.

9 AM-9:30 AM: Director of International Student Services Jessa Karki will hold a discussion titled, "What you need to know to be an advocate for international/exchange students at Champlain."

9:45-10:15 AM: Come watch the TED talk, "The Danger of a Single Story" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. After, Ashley Michelle Fowler, Associate Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, will lead a discussion about the danger of single stories and how we can all expand the narratives through which we view our world and the people in it.

10:30-11:15 AM: Join Howie LeBlanco, Nick Faulk, Rowshan Nemazee, and Warren Sides for "Disrupting Racism: A Reflective Panel Discussion."

11:30 AM-12:15 PM: Join us in the Champlain Room as students and faculty read a powerful rendition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, led by Professor Jim Ellefson.

11:45 AM-12:45 PM: Join Professor Eric Ronis for a discussion titled, "Practicing the Difficult Conversation." Explore how to have difficult conversations in the classroom and on campus, in a guided and effective way. Learn actual communication techniques that work for you.

1-1:45 PM: Julian Portilla, Professor and Director of our Center for Mediation & Dialogue, will host"Reflections on White Fragility: A Readers' Panel," where members of the White Fragility book group courageously share their experiences learning about themselves and their relationship with racism and white fragility.  

2-3:15 PM: Join Jayy Covert, '22 // Psychology and Secondary Education, and Professor Rowshan Nemazee for their talk, "Disrupt, Dissent-How Anti-Racism Work is Tied to the Anti-War Movement."

Link to this FAQ

3:30-5 PM: Keynote Speaker, Kiah Morris, Champlain Room

Kiah MorrisJoin us for a deeply courageous conversation with our Keynote speaker Kiah Morris (pronounced "Ky-yah") as she engages attendees in her discussion, "False Advocacy in Academia: Unpacking Performative Anti-Racism and Lethargic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education." The keynote presentation will be livestreamed beginning at 3:30 PM. Please check back here on Monday, January 20, to access the streaming link.

Kiah is most recognized for her political career and as a past member of the Vermont Legislature, where she served in the general assembly as a State Representative from 2014-2016 and 2016-2018. She is the first African-American and person of color elected from Bennington County and the second African-American woman to be elected to the legislature in Vermont history. Her story of success, and then premature resignation from her post, as the only Black female lawmaker in Vermont last year, made national headlines when over four dozen media outlets including CNN, The Huffington Post, New York Times, and Washington Post chronicled her story of years of racial harassment. In addition to her distinctive political career, Kiah has an accomplished artistic career as an actress of stage, film and television, spoken word performance, and as a singer, dancer and arts manager. Her work as a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant focuses on the amplification of the voice of the oppressed, issues of human rights and social justice. She is the co-owner of TESA Collective Cooperative, Director of the Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools, and Sisters on the Planet Ambassador for Oxfam America. As part of the scheduled events, Kiah will spend additional time connecting with various community members and will advance our event theme, Advocacy and Activism: Advancing Social Justice Together, through her presentation.

Link to this FAQ

Immerse yourself in a week of engagement and education. Students, staff, and faculty will have the opportunity to engage in various activities.

Tuesday, January 21 and Thursday, January 23 from 10:30 AM-2:30 PM: Stop by the IDX atrium to visit our Dream Station and grab stickers, buttons, posters, candy, and more to commemorate MLK Week. Sign up for Friday's Day of Service, provide feedback on the Diversity Council's new "Affirmation of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion," and register to vote!

Tuesday, January 21 at 7:00 PM: Join us in the Fireside Lounge for a screening of Selma. This movie showcases Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s campaign for equal voting rights during a historical march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. There will be popcorn, candy, and refreshments and an opportunity for discussion following the movie.

Wednesday, January 22 from 11:30 AM-1:30 PM: This year, the Diversity Council was charged with updating Champlain College's Diversity Statement, which was written and adopted in 2009. The council researched statements from various organizations, reviewed data from the Champlain 2025 strategic planning process, and crafted a new statement to reflect the needs, values, and aspirations of Champlain's community today. Stop by the Fireside Lounge and share your feedback on the newly drafted "Affirmation of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion." Can't make it to the Fireside Lounge? Share your thoughts electronically HERE or in various locations throughout the week.

Thursday, January 23 from 2-3:30 PM: Join the Office of Diversity and Inclusion's Diversity Ambassadors in Wick 102 for "Mobilize Your Mind," an educational presentation on different types of activism and how you can be active.

Thursday, January 23 at 7 PM: Join us for a special advanced screening of Harriet in the Champlain Room before the movie is released on DVD. Learn the journey of abolitionist Harriet Tubman, her escape from slavery, and her liberation of hundreds of slaves through the Undergound Railroad. There will be popcorn, candy, refreshments, and an opportunity for discussion following the movie. 

Be sure to check out the residence hall bulletin boards for a display series of various MLK quotes. There are more "Let Us Engage" events to come, so stay tuned!

Thursday, January 23 and Friday, January 24: Stop by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion to check out and add to an interactive art piece that will evolve over these two days and highlight the unique perspectives of Champlain College. The piece, "My Champlain," is presented by Champlain's Diversity Ambassadors.

Link to this FAQ

11:30 AM-1:30 PM: Meet our Social Impact Scholars in Fireside Lounge for a drop-in discussion on how to talk about social political issues using non-violent communication techniques. Led by Professor Eric Ronis, each table will introduce a topic and invite people to discuss.

Link to this FAQ

Be an advocate and join us for a day of service supporting local organizations like Clemmons Family Farm, Fletcher Free Library, Lund, Migrant Justice, ReSource, US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Vermont, or help make lasagna for a handful of other community agencies. Click here to sign up before space fills up.   

Link to this FAQ