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Diversity Week features film, workshop, music to highlight issues

March 30, 2012

The music of New Orleans, a poverty simulation and various inspirational films focus on the issues during  “Diversity Week: Reflections on Diversity Through a Lens of Intersectionalities and Resilience” April 2-6, sponsored by McDaniel’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.

The ideas came about after Mahlia Joyce, director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, attended a multicultural institute conference and brainstormed about “what is often overlooked but also what touched my heart,” she said.

During the conference, sponsored by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Joyce attended workshops with renowned and controversial filmmaker Lee Mun Wah. One of Wah’s films, “If These Halls Could Talk,” college students’ perspectives on race on their campuses, will be shown 7 p.m. April 3 in Hill Hall 108.

At the same conference, Joyce was introduced to Viraj Patel from Georgetown University, who was co-facilitating a workshop on Agosto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. Patel will hold the same workshop, which uses theatrical techniques to explore topics of diversity, 4-6 p.m. April 2 in the Leidy Room.

“Clearly, this institute had a huge impact on me and provided a great deal of inspiration for conversations that are uncomfortable, but very much relevant particularly given the racial and diversity healing that our country still needs to do,” said Joyce.

For the past two years, Joyce has attended and participated in Carroll Community College’s Poverty Simulation event and observed the deep impact it had on students. During the Poverty Simulation in Decker Center Forum 4-7 p.m. April 5, students will be organized into families of various make-ups to simulate real lived experiences of working poor families. Each family is provided a profile and tasks they need to complete.

“Students will learn about the challenges of budgeting with little income, will hopefully leave with a greater appreciation for some of the struggles that families in poverty face in a day, and will hopefully be more sensitized and willing to act in way that challenges structures of poverty and social injustices,” said Joyce.

Other films shown during the week were recommendations from students at the college. According to Joyce, senior Hilary Frink has been working for years around issues of Roma rights in the United States and Europe and hopes to raise awareness by showing “American Gypsy: A Stranger in Everybody’s Land,” at 7 p.m. April 4 in Hill Hall 108.

Sophomore Monay Threats-McNeill was inspired by the Library’s exhibit from the Civil War occupation of New Orleans to suggest “Trouble the Water,” a story of a family that survives Hurricane Katrina, which will be shown at 6:30 p.m. April 2 in Hill Hall 108.

Also inspired by the exhibit, McDaniel’s own “Musicologists” Christopher James and Jon Seligman partner with Dean Henry Reiff and other local musicians 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. April 2 in the Hoover Library Sky Box to present a variety of American zydeco, jazz and R&B music from New Orleans.

“Black Survivors of the Holocaust,” a film uncovering the torture and murder of black Germans during the Third Reich, will be shown at 5:30 p.m. April 6 in Hill Hall 108.

Joyce hopes that, throughout the week, “we deepen our understanding that many of our identities intersect in complex and nuanced ways,” and “learn to appreciate the presence of resilience in the struggle for human dignity and justice.”

 
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