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Student Diversity Conference Expands, Calls Students to Action

Posted on 29 March 2013 | 8:51 am

The College of Charleston’s Second Annual Student Diversity Conference will take place on April 5 and 6, 2013. The event includes a film screening, workshops, and a call to action with information on how attendees can turn awareness into action through community organizing. View the full schedule.

“The inaugural conference was so successful that we’ve expanded this year to include both a second day and an invitation to other college students in the region,” says Kristi Brian, director of diversity education and training. “The ultimate purpose of the Conference is to offer College of Charleston students the opportunity to build networks and alliances with their peers and to further realize the values of nurturing inclusion and multiculturalism in all aspects of their lives.”

The event will begin Friday, April 5 with a screening of The Shadow Behind the Rainbow followed by a lecture and discussion with one of the film’s co-producers, Moriah Hope Thomas. The 2011 documentary– completed when Thomas and her co-producers were students at Spellman College in Atlanta, GA–addresses human rights from the perspective of black queer women and their allies. The documentary received The Cheryl Dunye First Womyn Award at the Black Queer Cinema Film Festival. Moriah Hope Thomas, also an accomplished percussionist and composer, is currently working on her Master of Arts Degree at The New School in New York City. The film screening will be followed by a dance party, spoken word performances, and socializing in the Stern Center Ballroom.

On Saturday, April 6, the majority of events will be held in the Robert Scott Small Building (175 Calhoun St.). The full day of interactive dialogues and social justice workshops will address a range of critical topics such as class inequality, homophobia in the workplace, and the need for womanist and feminist perspectives on racism and disabilities. Poet, painter and educator, Omari Fox (Orangeburg, S.C.), will explore with students the use of artistic improvisation and creative expression in social movement building in his workshop, “ProActivism 101. 

The afternoon keynote performance, “A Laugh Riot: How to Change the World One Funny Action at a Time” features award-winning author Tania Katan. Katan, who has been described as “the funny gal who vamps on being a Jewish lesbian cancer survivor,” is an author, playwright, and writing instructor from the West Coast.  Her memoir My One Night Stand with Cancer, has received the Stonewall Book Award, Publishing Triangle Award, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. In her memoir and one-woman play Saving Tania’s Privates, Katan offers hard-hitting humor and wit to tell her story of battling breast cancer twice before the age of 32.

The Conference concludes with a call-to-action session: “Southern Freedom Movements: Turning Awareness into Action.” This workshop will be facilitated by Rasha Abdulhadi and the regional organization Project South. The closing session is intended to inspire students to learn from the legacies of Southern Civil Rights Movements as they craft their own projects for social change. Students will have the opportunity to showcase any projects inspired by the conference at the College of Charleston Social Justice Action Forum scheduled for October 2013.

The event is organized by The Office of Institutional Diversity with co-sponsorship from Student Government Association, Multicultural Student Programs and Services, and the Safe Zone Committee.

For more information, contact Kristi Brian at briankj@cofc.edu.

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