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Brockport / Diversity Conference Archive / 2008 / Program

Bridging the Gap

Eighth Annual Cultural Diversity Conference
Building Community Through Diversity

September 25, 2008

10:30 - 11:30 am Panel Discussion

Connecting to Indigenous Communities

Seymour College Union Ballroom

Native American Experts:

  • Mr. Allan Jamieson, Neto Hatinawke Ongwehowe (Here-Lives-the-People in the Cayuga Language)
  • Ms. Jeanette Miller, Ganondagan State Historic Site, Victor, NY
  • Ms. Agnes Williams, A founding member of Indigenous Women’s Initiative, a national organization with a chapter in Buffalo, NY

This session includes presentations by the directors and/or co-directors of three Native American cultural organizations in Western New York. The session will introduce the diverse number of cultural programs sponsored by indigenous peoples in Western New York and take up a number of issues involved in community-to-community relations.

11:45 am - 12:45 pm Educational Sessions

Migrant Farm Workers:
An Invisible Population Feeding the Nation

11:45 am - 12:45 pm, Seymour College Union Room 119

Presenter:  Ms. Sally Fox, Coordinator of the National PASS Center, BOCES Geneseo Migrant Center

Presentation Abstract: Although there have been many changes over the years in both the agricultural industry and the work force that meets its needs, there are also many factors that remain the same as in the days of Edward R. Murrow’s 1960 Harvest of Shame documentary or César Chavez’s United Farm Workers strikes of the ’60s.Workers from other states and countries bring with them a rich cultural heritage, strong work ethic, commitment to family and desire to succeed that enriches the communities where they live. Still, they face many obstacles as they seek to improve their lot in life — cultural differences, language barriers, lack of education, legal restrictions, health issues, and so on. The myths and realities about the people who help to put food on our tables are addressed, along with what is being done to meet their needs.

Moderator: Jill Wilienski

Disability: The Inclusion Dilemma

11:45 am - 12:45 pm, Seymour College Union Room 220

Presenter: Bruce Darling, co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Disability Rights (CDR), a disability rights organization and Independent Living Center based in Rochester, New York.

Presentation Abstract: With Baby Boomers ready to retire and the US becoming more diverse, it will be up to the next generation, minorities and people with disabilities to take over the helms of government, corporate America and society in general. The inclusion process has resulted in many people with disabilities standing on the employment and social sideline. If organizations are truly interested in inclusion, more must be done to include people with disabilities into the employment and social arenas.

Moderator: Candice Ramirez

On the Outside End:
Systems of Oppression and Academic Success

11:45 am - 12:45 pm, Seymour College Union Room 114

Presenter: Dr. Barbara LeSavoy, Interim Director, Women and Gender Studies Program, the College at Brockport

Presentation Abstract: Women outnumber men in the undergraduate classroom, but where are black women situated in the American higher education equation? How do the academically marginal experience their college passage? Can educational success be realized from a space of traditional failure? This presentation examines these questions as it frames the life of a black female moving through a four-year public college, and also examines the “intersectionality” of race, class and gender with a focus on educational equity as mediated between the private spaces of home and the public arena of academic life. 

Moderator: Gavin Bortz

Audio-Described Theater:
Verbalizing Visual Details for People
who are Visually Impaired or Blind

11:45 am - 12:45 pm, Seymour College Union Room B116

Presenter: Ms. Lisa Helen Hoffman, Audio-Description Consultant and Coordinator of the Audio-Described Theatre for the Blind Program, Geva Theatre Center, and Guest Instructor at The College at Brockport through the Geva Theatre Center Alliance

Presentation Abstract: An introduction to Audio-Described Theatre with an opportunity to practice some of the techniques used by audio-describers. Through audio-description, access to visual details of theatrical performances is created for people who are blind or visually impaired through the verbal descriptions of a live narrator. Participants will view a DVD of a theatrical performance and practice describing the set and costumes. Audio-description is recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a “Reasonable Accommodation.” Program participants will discuss all of these tools for creating the access that bridges the gap for theater patrons who are blind or visually impaired.

Moderator: Jenna Liebowitz

Straight Talk:
Understanding the Power of the Straight Ally

11:45 am - 12:45 pm, Seymour College Union Room 223

Presenter: Ms. Jeanne Gainsburg, Outreach Coordinator, Gay Alliance Speakers Bureau; and Ms. Lisa Brown, Gay Alliance Speakers Bureau

Presentation Abstract: Although the majority of straight people in this country believe in equality for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, most of them remain uninvolved in the civil rights fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. Fears and anxieties associated with getting involved, as well as the belief that a straight ally has little to offer, prevent many people from becoming involved. This workshop will discuss overcoming these concerns and study the "coming out" process for the straight ally. Participants will learn the power that they have to bridge the gap between the straight and the LGBT community, and what allies can do to work toward decreasing heterosexism, homophobia and transphobia. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Moderator: Brian Smith

Diversity Continuum:
An Institutional Diagnostic Tool for Inclusion

11:45 am - 12:45 pm, Seymour College Union Room 228

Presenter: Dr. B. Cecilia Zapata, Director, Office of Equity and Inclusion, and Professor in the Department of Human Ecology at SUNY Oneonta

Presentation Abstract: Diversity and inclusion have become part of the private and public sector’s lexicon. However, within and across institutions, especially those of higher education, we do not share conceptually the same understanding about the diversity and inclusion concepts. “Bridging the Gap” requires both accessibility to services, admissions, hiring and retention, and assessment of the institution’s “toxic and/or non-toxic climate” and appreciation of the importance of diversity and the insufficiency of its outcomes if inclusion is not the core value furthering the institutional culture.

Moderator: Nick Mattison

2:15 - 3:15 pm Educational Sessions

Connecting to Indigenous Communities:
Native American Oral History

2:15 - 3:15 pm, Seymour College Union Room 114

Presenter/Organizer:  Dr. Christine Zinni, Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at The College at Brockport, State University of New York, consultant for the New York Folk-Arts Program and videographer for Native American organizations in the region

Mr. Brian Bodner: Interviews from the Akwasasne Reservation
Ms. Tiffany Collaz: Interviews from The Akwasasne Reservation
Ms. Angela General: Cattaraugus Reservation and Healing of the Waters
Ms. Amanda Christ: Interview with Anges Williams
Ms. Karin Pena: Mayan People
Ms. Katherine Marinari: Salamanca Lease Agreement

Presentation Abstract:
From 2007-2008, students in Professor Christine Zinni’s Native American courses at the College at Brockport have had the opportunity to hear guest lecturers from a number of  local indigenous cultural organizations. They also have participated in field trips and events sponsored by these organizations. This session focuses on students' perceptions and what they learned from connecting to indigenous communities.

Moderator: Nick Gagner

Shadow of the Lynching Tree

2:15 - 3:15 pm, Seymour College Union Room 220

Presenter: Dr. Carvin Eison, Associate Professor of Communication, The College at Brockport, State University of New York; General Manager of Rochester Community Television and Creative Director of ImageWordSound LLC, Media Production Company

Presentation Abstract: “Blacks and whites and other Americans who want to understand the meaning of the American experience need to remember lynching” ~ Dr. James Cone

August 31, 2006, in Jena, LA, three black students asked the principal of the high school if they could sit under the tree commonly known as the “white tree.” The principal said yes and the students sat under the tree. When they returned to school the next day, they found three nooses swinging from the tree. To comprehend the significance of this event it is important to understand that thousands of black men, women and children found humiliation, punishment and death at the end of a rope in the United States of America. Shadows of the Lynching Tree, a new documentary by Carvin Eison, explores how the noose and the lynching tree are reinvented and how they echo throughout American culture right up to this moment.

Moderator: Becky Kopf

Crossing the Bridge: Creating Inclusive Environments

2:15 - 3:15 pm, Seymour College Union Room 223

Presenter: Ms. Tonya Griffin, Quality Assurance Director, PRALID, Inc. (“serving people with traumatic brain injuries and developmental disabilities’); Lecturer, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, The College at Brockport, State University of New York, specializing in Therapeutic Recreation

Presentation Abstract: Research shows that people with disabilities face numerous (and oftentimes serious) obstacles that hinder their full participation in society. Segregation of people with disabilities (whether architectural or attitudinal) "creates harmful myths and stereotypes," but inclusion can be achieved through collaborative community efforts. Session focuses on expanding people's knowledge of disability issues, raising awareness of the challenges they face, and discusses ways to make our community more inclusive for all people.

Moderator: Rachel Hausauer

Student Perceptions of Feminism: A College at Brockport View

2:15 - 3:15 pm, Seymour College Union Room 228

Presenters: Dr. Barbara LeSavoy, Interim Director, Women and Gender Studies Program, the College at SUNY Brockport, State University of New York, and Dr. Barbara Mitrano, Director, TRIO Student Support Services Program, and Lecturer in the Women and Gender Studies Program, The College at Brockport, State University of New York  

Presentation Abstract: Presentation introduces participants to a spring 2008 student/faculty research project designed to measure and analyze The College at Brockport students’ perception about feminism. The ideologies and perceptions centered about feminism hold meaning that can impact the lives of women and men in many overt and tacit ways. In exploring the dynamics of gender based systems of domination, feminist theory suggests that female oppression is systemized and structured along economic, political and ideological dimensions with the ideological being the most forceful in its stigmatizing impact. Uncovering students’ perceptions and ideologies concerning feminism is the first step in understanding and educating others about feminism and its connections to achieving gender equality. Session provides a snapshot of current students’ views concerning feminism and feminist concerns. The knowledge presented can be used to help inform classroom pedagogy and programming/curricula efforts that address women and gender based concerns.

Moderator: Naman Vanderstelt II

The Luck of the Draw

2:15 - 3:15 pm, Seymour College Union Room B116 

Presenter: Ms. Carol Kissam, Director, CSTEP and McNair, St. Lawrence University, and serves the Native American community of Northern New York State

Presentation Abstract: What do we know about cultural and ethnic diversity? This experiential workshop is designed to help participants understand unique aspects of diverse populations and the stereotypes that prevail. The round table sessions after the “card party” activity generally produce rich conversations and better understandings. Many walk away transformed in some way.    

Moderator: Kevin Hennessy                     

Bridging the Gap Through an Exploration of Our Strengths

2:15 - 3:15 pm, Seymour College Union Room 119

Presenters: Ms. Lana S. Barron, Associate Dean of Enrollment Management, The College at Brockport, State University of New York, Rochester Educational Opportunity Center (REOC), and Dr. Melva Brown, Dean/Executive Director, The College at Brockport, State University of New York, Rochester Educational Opportunity Center (REOC).

Presentation Description: All human beings have talents, "naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling and behavior that can be productively applied." When talents are refined over time through knowledge and skills development, individual strength themes emerge. People can discover and develop their strengths to achieve important learning and career goals. In this interactive workshop, participants will learn about strengths concepts, the research supporting a strengths approach and how to apply strengths concepts to build a community with peers, colleagues and students.

Moderator: Alison Zimmermann

3:30 - 4:30 pm Performance Presentation

Stand By Your Man and excerpts from He's So Queer He Probably Has to Sit Down to Pee

Presenters: Dr. Bill Evans, Modern Dance Choreographer, performer and Visiting Professor in the Department of Dance, The College at Brockport, State University of New York and Dr.  Don Halquist, Visiting Assistant Professor of Education and Human Development, The College at Brockport, State University of New York  

Presentation Abstract:
Bill Evans and Don Halquist perform the modern dance work, Stand By Your Man, which they co-choreographed eight years ago. Halquist also will perform excerpts from a performance piece titled He's So Queer He Probably Has to Sit Down to Pee. The artists will then discuss the creative process that resulted in these autobiographical, lighthearted and thought–provoking works.