Topics in Diversity [S-19-57]

Presenter: Jay Pecora, Lonel Woods, Matt LaVine, Cailey Underhill, Michael Popovic
Location: SUNY: Maxcy 104
Classes: 4 Sessions 1.5 hours
Dates: Tue 4:00 PM 04/23, Thu 04/25, Tue 04/30, Thu 05/02
Status: Course Update: The last two sessions of "Topics in Diversity" have been switched: Tuesday, April 30, the topic will be an introduction to the developing conceptions around gender and sexuality as spectrums, and the meaning of the letters LGBTQ+. And on May 2, they will talk about the history of the LGBTQ+

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Session 1: Microaggressions: A Road Paved with Good Intentions - Lonel Woods. In this segment, the presenter will explain to us how the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, can communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages and can contribute to systematic injustice and social inequality.

Lonel Woods, Associate Professor of Music, was introduced academically to aspects of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice, while working at Georgetown Day School in Washington DC. This elite private school began its work on topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in 1999, and part of that work included requiring the entire faculty to attend many workshops and training as part of their professional development. Lonel left that school in 2005, to complete his doctor- ate, but he continues his professional development and personal growth around topics of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. He is very pleased to continue this important work with the Potsdam Community.

Session 2: My Journey in Understanding Islam - Matt Lavine. Despite its being the second largest and fastest religion, and a constant topic of political conversation in the world, Westerners seem to have very little knowledge of Islam. Recognizing that I was just as guilty of this as any other, I have spent the last decade-plus trying to learn as much as I can about Islam and the wonderful cultural and intellectual achievements it has helped bring to the world. This talk will focus on the five most important events from my own journey in understanding Islam in order to combat Islamophobia.

Matt LaVine is primarily trained as a philosopher of language and logician – meaning that clarity in thought processes and the expression of our thoughts is often his focus. For a number of personal and theoretical reasons, he also believes that matters of justice are the biggest issues our world is facing. For that reason, much of his time is spent on how clarity of thought and the expression of it can help in understanding social justice.

Sessions 3 and 4: LGBTQ+ 101 - Cailey Underhill & Michael Popovic. In Session 3, the presenters will talk about the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, covering a broad range of key developments and events from the 19th century to today. In Session 4, the presenters will introduce you to the developing conceptions around gender and sexuality as spectrums, and to the meaning of the various letters behind the LGBTQ+ acronym. They will also discuss ways to move beyond tolerance and acceptance to affirmative support through allyship. This mini course is geared towards those with only basic, or no knowledge about LGBTQ+ individuals. It also is designed for those who may be interested in ways to assist members of this marginalized community in our area.

Cailey Underhill is a fulltime English teacher at Canton Central High School, and one of two Gender and Sexuality Coordinators at SUNY Potsdam. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and a Gender and Sexuality Coordinator, Cailey’s duty is to provide support, resources, and information to LGBTQ+ individuals and all staff, faculty, and students at SUNY Potsdam. She hopes that a broader understanding of this issue will translate into other people stepping up to help the marginalized LGBTQ+ community.

Michael Popovic is Coordinator for International Studies, and Coordinator for Days of Reflection. He is the other Gender and Sexuality Coordinator on the SUNY campus. His work promoting social justice, post-conflict reconciliation, and cross-cultural dialog, was triggered by his experiences in the context of the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1990s. He has broadened the focus of his work to include education and advocacy to reduce discrimination targeting people of color and the people of the LGBTQ+ community. In 2018, Michael received the Soliya Community Advocacy award for his work in educating global citizens and promoting cross-cultural dialog and understanding.

Cap: 50

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