Diversity Lecture Series

The Diversity Lecture Series serves the Appalachian campus and surrounding communities by providing free opportunities to learn about a wide array of social issues and cultural topics through an interdisciplinary lens.

All programs are free of charge and open to the public! Parking is available free of charge in the new parking deck next to the library after 5:30 p.m. For more information about parking, contact ASU Parking and Traffic at (828)262-2878 or www.parking.appstate.edu. Please visit www.maps.appstate.edu to see a campus map highlighting available parking and areas where our events take place.

Depending on travel schedules, many of the speakers are eager to meet with classes, student, staff or faculty groups in addition to the scheduled evening presentation. DVD and web-based recordings of some lectures are available for free on-demand viewing.

Please email Gus Peña at penaae@appstate.edu to request a class visit or to check-out a DVD from the Multicultural Resource Library.

The 2014-2015 Forum Series is sponsored by Appalachian State University, University Forum Committee and University College with additional support from the Joan Askew Vail Endowment and the Office of Multicultural Student Development.

2014-2015 Forum Series focuses on "Justice For All"

Click the photographs for more information.

2014-2015 Diversity Lecture Series

Morris Dees: "With Justice For All"

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 @ 7pm
Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, won a series of groundbreaking civil rights cases that helped integrate government and public institutions and cripple some of America' most notorious white supremacist hate groups. Dees, named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America by the National Law Journal in 2006, has authored three books: A Season For Justice, his autobiography; Hate on Trial: The Case Against America's Most Dangerous Neo-Nazi; and Gathering Storm: America's Militia Threat.

Timothy DeChristopher: "A Movement with Soul"

Monday, October 20, 2014 @ 7pm
Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

Passionate climate activist and co-founder of the environmental group Peaceful Uprising, Timothy DeChristopher, is most well known for his protest of a Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction, when he won 22,500 acres parcels of land with no intention to pay the $1.8 million he had bid for them. DeChristopher served 21 months in prison and successfully gained national attention for his civil disobedience. The U.S. Department of the Interior, stating they had been rushed into auction with insufficient environmental and scientific review, canceled many other leases and a subsequent court injunction.

Dr. Mary Frances Berry

Monday, March 23, 2015 @ 7pm
Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

For over four decades, Berry has been one of the most recognized and respected voices in the nation's civil rights, gender equality and social justice movements. Serving as chairperson of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Berry led the charge for equal rights and liberties for all Americans over the course of four Presidential administrations. A prolific author, Berry's books cover a range of subjects, from the history of constitutional racism in America to the politics of parenthood. Her most recent book, Power in Words: The Stories behind Barack Obama's Speeches, from the State House to the White House, offers insight and historical context of President Obama's most memorable speeches.

2013-2014 Diversity Lecture Series

An Evening with Soledad O'Brien

Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 7pm
Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

A critically-acclaimed journalist, Soledad O'Brien has reported on breaking news from around the globe. In 2011, she won an Emmy for Crisis in Haiti in the category of Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story Long Form. O'Brien was part of the coverage teams that earned CNN a George Foster Peabody award for its BP oil spill and Katrina coverage and an Alfred I. duPont Award for its coverage of the Southeast Asia tsunami. The National Association of Black Journalists named O'Brien the Journalist of the Year and Edward R. Murrow Awards lauded her with the RTDNA/UNITY award for Latino in America in 2010. O'Brien has been integral in hosting and developing the award winning Black in America franchise, one of the CNN's most successful international franchises. In 2010, she wrote a critically acclaimed memoir The Next Big Story: My Journey through the Land of Possibilities, which chronicles her biggest reporting moments and how her upbringing and background have influenced these experiences.

In addition to Starfish Media Group, Soledad and her husband Brad run the Soledad O'Brien & Brad Raymond Foundation, which sends young women to and through college. She will also be joining the Harvard Graduate School of Education as a visiting fellow for the 2013-14 school year. A graduate of Harvard University, O/Brien lives with her husband and four children in Manhattan.

Co-sponsored by the University Forum Series, Academic Affairs and the Chancellor's Commission on Diversity



My Masculinity Helps

Thursday, February 20, 2014, 7:00pm
Blue Ridge Ballroom, Student Union

Screening and Discussion Panel with filmmaker Dr. Marc Grimmett.

My Masculinity Helps explores the role of African American men and boys in the prevention of sexual violence. It shows African American male allies (psychologist, professor, peer educator, attorney, pastor, athlete, middle and high school students, activist) demonstrating understanding and support for survivors of sexual violence. Strategies for assistance and prevention are provided. Survivors also share their stories and what has helped them.

The film serves as a counter-narrative to often inaccurate and misleading portrayals of African American masculinity. Our goal is to engage boys and men in the deconstruction of gender roles, masculinity, and power in the prevention of sexual violence.

Audience members will be exposed to a unique inside-out view of race and racism in America. This presentation deconstructs and explores social power, conflict, and race in America as critical issues that affect and require engagement from everyone.

Dr. Marc Grimmett is an Associate Professor of Counselor Education. The conceptual framework for his approach to research and scholarship is titled R.A.D.I.C.A.L. scholarship which means Research Activism to Deconstruct Institutionalized Cultures and Advocate for Liberation. This framework currently includes four areas of concentration and corresponding goals, which are: transforming contextual and systemic factors to promote the healthy development of African American boys; facilitating access to mental health counseling using a counselor education program-based community mental health clinic; creating social justice counselor education teaching methods; and preventing power-based violence through education, activism, and community partnerships.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology and the Coalition Against Sexual Assault




Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 7:00pm
Blue Ridge Ballroom, Student Union

Screening and Discussion Panel with filmmaker Lisa Biagiotti.

deepsouth explores the rural American South and the people who inhabit its most distant corners. Beneath layers of history, poverty, and now soaring HIV infections, four Americans redefine traditional Southern values to create their own solutions to survive. Josh, a college student, seeks the support of an underground gay family located miles from his suffocating Mississippi Delta hometown. With no funds and few resources, Monica and Tammy tirelessly try to unite reluctant participants at their annual HIV retreat in rural Louisiana. Kathie, an Alabama activist, spends 120 days every year on the road fighting a bureaucracy that continues to ignore the South. Each of these stories shares a particular perspective on life with HIV in a region of the United States often ignored by politicians and the public – a point of view that turns out to be both educational and inspirational.

Lisa Biagiotti is an independent journalist and filmmaker. She has written and/or produced for the Los Angeles Times, PBS, Current TV and Human Rights Watch. Her work focuses on complex, under-reported social issues, from the sanitation crisis in South East Asia to homophobia in the Caribbean. The stories she produced on the humanitarian crisis in eastern Congo won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in 2009. In 2001, Lisa received a Fulbright grant to research Italian colonialism in Africa and current trends in Muslim immigration to Italy. She holds a master's degree from Columbia University's School of Journalism.

Part of the Queer Film Series

Co-sponsored by the Belk Library and Information Commons




Thursday, March 27, 2014, 7:00pm
114 Belk Library
Film screening and discussion

A Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in her search for sexual expression. Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity – sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but always moving forward.

A world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, the contemporary drama Pariah is the feature-length expansion of writer/director Dee Rees' award-winning 2007 short film Pariah. Spike Lee is among the feature's executive producers. At Sundance, cinematographer Bradford Young was honored with the Excellence in Cinematography Award. (2011) 86 minutes

Part of the Queer Film Series



The New Black

Tuesday, April 2, 2014, 7:00pm
Blue Ridge Ballroom, Student Union

Film screening and discussion

The New Black is a documentary that tells the story of how the African-American community is grappling with the gay rights issue in light of the recent gay marriage movement and the fight over civil rights. The New Black takes viewers into the pews and onto the streets and provides a seat at the kitchen table as it tells the story of the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland and charts the evolution of this divisive issue within the black community.

Film Director, Producer and Writer Yoruba Richen is a documentary filmmaker who has directed and produced films in the U.S. and abroad including Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. Her latest film The New Black premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2013 and went on to win Audience Awards at AFI Docs and Philly Q Fest and Frameline LGBT Film Festival as well as a special jury mention at Frameline. The film continues to play festivals all over the world and will open at New York's Film Forum this February and air on PBS's Independent Lens in June.

Part of the Queer Film Series



Cultural Racism: Muslim Veiling, Embodiment, and the Nature of Culture

Monday, April 14, 2014, 7:00pm
Blue Ridge Ballroom, Student Union

This presentation will explore Dr. Al-Saji's phenomenology of what has been called "cultural racism". She will offer a feminist analysis of representations of Muslim women in contemporary Western contexts by questioning the ways in which race and gender are at play in attitudes toward the Muslim headscarf or "veil".

Dr. Al-Saji is an associate professor of Philosophy at McGill University. Her research has been supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Le fonds de recherche du Québec en société et culture. In 2009, she was awarded a fellowship at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, and since 2009, she has been a fellow at the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas (IPLAI) at McGill University. She is currently a co-editor of the Symposia on Gender, Race and Philosophy and the Feminist Philosophy section editor of Philosophy Compass.

Co-sponsored by the Humanities Council, Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance, Department of Anthropology, and the Department of Philosophy and Religion

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