Students participating in justice dialogues event

Justice Dialogues

Justice Dialogues are:

  • An annual opportunity for our campus community to engage in a meaningful exploration and dialogue about issues that connect with Dr. King’s work and vision on matters relating to civil rights and social justice, activism, responsibility, and engagement.
  • Hosted by individuals, groups, or departments within the Wooster community.
  • Are a jumping off point to many more productive conversations – and even more importantly actions – throughout the rest of the year.
  • Typically an hour and a half long.

Information about ALL the College of Wooster's MLK events can be found on Guidebook.

Dialogue Time/Location Facilitator(s) Panelist(s)
Mental Health Advocacy: Destigmatizing Mental Health
The current generation has a higher rate of anxiety, major depression, and suicide than any in history. Yet, the stigma against people suffering from these chronic conditions is through the roof. My own personal experiences as a patient in a residential treatment center, and later a direct care staff at another, opened my eyes to how important this issue is and how to go about combating it. Now it is my duty to pass on this knowledge to the greater community so that one day, having or knowing someone who has a mental illness doesn't make them feel helpless and hopeless.
10:30 AM
Kauke 305
Stephanie Pokrsa  
The "Unwelcoming" Face of US Immigration
An overview of ever changing immigration regulations and what they mean to the Wooster community and beyond. I want to make people aware that even though there are "laws" that protect certain visa statuses, the government is finding loop holes to make the process, timely, burdensome and frustrating. To talk about ways the College and students can navigate the unfriendly waters of immigration. Our non-immigrant internationals contribute in unique ways, bolster the economy and add a perspective and voice that needs to be heard. To encourage others that if we work together, we can overcome the obstacles being thrown in our way and fight to save our international diversity.
10:30 AM
Gault/Andrews Library – Longbrake Commons
Jill Munro  
Social Justice: Past, Present, and Future
Panelists will reflect on social justice practices of the past; explore current issues and events surrounding social justice in the U.S. and abroad; and offer suggestions for improving social justice in the future.
NOTE: No questions or comments will be taken from the audience.
10:30 AM
Gault/Andrews Library – CORE
Pam Frese Sarah Bolton;
Matthew Fisher (Chief, Wooster PD);
Juanita Greene (NAACP);
Scott Gregory (NAACP);
Shannon King;
Scott Rotolo (Captain, Wooster PD);
Yvonne Williams;
Josephine Wright
Beyond “Have a Dream”: The MLK You Don’t Know
Most people know the refrain of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, but are unfamiliar with MLK's other rhetoric and political positions, such as his concerns over economic injustice and war and his transcendent view of civil rights that encompassed people in other countries. We plan to expose participants to these words and views. We will then have the participants meet in smaller groups and give them quotations from King with which they may be less familiar and have them discuss how those quotations are relevant today with regard to issues such as immigration, war, economic inequality, etc. We will close by explaining why collective memories of King in the United States tend to be so limited and how his decontextualized words have been used to undermine policies that King advocated and to advocate policies that he opposed. In closing, we will encourage participants to use their deeper familiarity with King's words and positions to legitimize social justice work.
10:30 AM
Wishart Hall - Lean Lecture
Denise Bostdorff;
Boubacar Diaye;
Rohini Singh
BLM: Why does it Matter to Asian Americans?
When discussions about race seem to work on a black-white binary, how do Asian Americans engage with movements like Black Lives Matter? Why does anti-blackness matter to Asian Americans? In this discussion, we will explore the intersecting histories of racial formation and racial justice in the United States, focusing on how and why Asian Americans stand with BLM.
10:30 AM
Kauke 39
Jean Lee  
Does Positive Masculinity Exist?
Continue the debriefing of the Sunday film, "The Mask You Live In". Following that, we'll facilitate the group in a definition of masculinity. This will assist us in achieving the goal of creating a positive definition of masculinity. We'll do this by individual reflection, pairs/small groups, and then large group. We will also give time for reflection and assist audience members in reflecting upon how this topic relates to the larger Dr. King celebratory theme of "Drawn to Action".
10:30 AM
Kauke 135
Shadra Smith;
Jordan Trejo;
Men Working for Change
Start with listening: A discussion on the experiences of Wooster community members
Come discuss the relationship between the local Wooster community and the College of Wooster community. The goals are to break down stereotypes of “townies” and “self-centered college kids” and continue to strengthen the relationship between college members and community members.
10:30 AM
Kauke 38
Emily Colwell;
Vrinda Trivedi
Creating Equity for All: A Living Wage and a Culture of Staff Respect
The Living Wage Campaign (LWC) would like to present a two-part justice dialogue on Martin Luther King Day. The first part will be about the economics of a living wage. This includes an explanation of a living wage vs. a minimum wage. We will also do a budget activity that asks participants to make a sustainable budget on an $11/hour salary. The second half will concern the quality of staff lives at the College of Wooster. We will hear stories from current staff members, show a video about respect, and talk about how to instill a culture of respect towards our staff here on campus.
10:30 AM
Kauke 136
Kevin Wokosin  
#MeToo: History Behind the Hashtag and Conversations That Should Have Taken Place 10 Years Ago
Survivors have been using the #MeToo to come out about their experiences, to empower one another, and most importantly, to raise awareness regarding issues of sexual violence. While for many, the hashtag has been powerful, controversies and criticisms have started around this social media phenomenon. This social justice dialogue offers a look at how the hashtag was started, and different takes on its impact and connotation. These conversations will explore, discuss, and contextualize the hashtag within rape culture by considering both the campaign’s current impact and future ways people can engage in working towards an equal, sexually respectful society.
10:30 AM
Kauke 237
Vy Vu;
Asha Beasley;
Meonyez Goodwin
Hidden Science Superstars: Representation and Recognition in STEM
This panel discussion will use the science library's Hidden Science Superstars initiative as a springboard to explore the representation and recognition of historically underrepresented groups within STEM disciplines. We will discuss how social, cultural, and institutional factors within STEM affect who we remember and who we overlook, as well as strategies for constructing a historical understanding of science that more accurately reflects the contributions made by diverse groups.
10:30 AM
Wishart 202
Zach Sharrow;
Catie Newton
The Human Library
Every person has more than one identity, and these identities intersect each other. Human Library Project that involves multiple speakers in an intimate group set up, where " human books" (speakers invited from around campus) tell stories of overcoming issues of identity, discrimination, or any other kind of hardship to encourage others to better understand/relate to their situations. By allowing participants to choose which book they want to hear from, we hope that experience from Human Library Project to guide participants of the dialogue to understand and accept their identities and themselves.
10:30 AM
Morgan 101
Sharah Hutson;
Armel Lee;
Haemin Kwak;
Dan Hazmitt
 Sharah Houston;
Alberto Peralta Mendoza;
Efua Aferiba Hayford;
Nashmia Khan
This dialogue seeks to address the "Miss Representation" of young women in the media and society as a whole. A rich discussion will occur that will seek to define femininity and reflect upon life experiences of females during various life stages. Excerpts from the "Miss Representation" documentary (a precursor to the documentary "The Mask You Live In" about men and masculinity) will be shown to help shape the discussion. The focus will be on girls, women, and the intersectionality of race, class, and gender that impacts women uniquely.
10:30 AM
Morgan 116
Laurie Neff;
Ashley Benson
The Lost Legacy of MLK, Jr.
While public demonstrations protesting injustice remain a fixture of our society, the impact of these protests on generating progressive social change seems negligible. In fact, in light of the Trump presidency and conservative Republican majorities controlling Congress, we might conclude that we are regressing. What can we learn from the successes and failures of the movement King symbolized and energized? Can we devise new strategies for regaining momentum for progressive social change?
1:45 PM
Gault/Andrew Library - Longbrake Commons
Chuck Kramer  
Reproductive Rights are Human Rights
Iris Harvey, President and CEO of the Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, is coming to campus to discuss reproductive rights. She will be joined for a panel discussion by Helis Sikk of the Women's, Gender, and Sexualities Studies Department and Nicosia Shakes of the Africana Studies Department. This breakout session will focus on what are reproductive rights and why they are not solely a "women's issue." Given the current political climate, the panelists will also give advice on how to promote reproductive rights activism.
1:45 PM
Morgan 116
Wooster Vox, the Planned Parenthood student group affiliate  
The Role of Asians and Asian-Americans in Both Experiencing and Perpetuating Cultural Appropriation
Bringing in current news stories and controversial topics, we hope to explore how Asians and Asian-Americans are both victims of cultural appropriation (ex: chai tea, elephant patterns, "Japanese-themed" birthday parties, etc) and perpetuators of it (ex: Jeremy Lin's dreadlocks, claiming hip-hop culture, etc We will also talk about: the difference between native Asians and Asians of the diaspora in their views on cultural appropriation, cultural appropriation vs appreciation, and POC appropriating other POC cultures.
1:45 PM 
Babcock Formal Lounge
Sara Onitsuka;
Vrinda Trivedi;
I normalize rape culture: The role men play in the persistent normalization of rape culture
Rape Culture is a term used to describe an environment in which sexual assault/violence, and by proxy sexual harassment, is normalized through media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated by the hyper-sexualization and objectification of women's bodies, glamorizing sexual violence, victim blaming, and sexist language. The Men of Harambee would like to facilitate a discussion around rape culture and what role men play in this normalization of rape culture.
1:45 PM
Wishart Hall - Lean Lecture
*When the truth sets you free
Recently, the US has entered into conversations about sexual assault. The increased attention has empowered men and women alike to share their experiences thus, reclaiming their power. This session will focus on empowerment and growth. Youth attending this session are asked to discuss the media's focus on sexual assault while also considering how it is portrayed in music, movies, television, etc. Does our youth understand issues of hyper-masculinity? Is society empowering our youth to advocate for themselves and others in the face of sexual assault? Drawn to Action, this year's MLK theme, encourages meaningful and thoughtful conversation that can affect society beyond the boundaries of Wooster, OH, which is exactly the intention for this dialogue.
1:45 PM
Kauke 39
Ashley Benson  
Living Upstream or Downstream: Economics of Access to a Clean Environment
Look at how exposure to environmental degradation depends greatly on socioeconomic status.
1:45 PM
Morgan 101
Paul Edmiston  
Students Closing the Gap: Minorities In STEM
United We Learn Discussion about the needs of minority students in the STEM majors at Wooster. Come talk about ways to increase retention and success of minorities students. Answer questions like: What should the college be doing? What should the students be doing?, and What can you do?
1:45 PM
Wishart 101
Jennifer Sanchez; Mahlet Zemedkun; Minority Students Interested in STEM  
Sports, Hip-Hop, and Civil Disobedience for Social Justice
The dialogue will focus on the recent protests surrounding the NFL and NBA in regard to police brutality and racism and discuss the correlations between professional sports and hip-hop culture as sites of resistance. Additionally, the conversation will draw on the similarities and differences between the cultures as a means to strategize how civil disobedience can be a productive tool to work for equality and change.
1:45 PM
Kauke 38
Scarlett Hester  
Self-Masturbatory Politics: The Danger of Performative Allyship
Many students continue to perpetuate -isms and detrimental practices despite their classroom condemnation of such behaviors. The purpose of this workshop is to discuss the dangers of performative allyship while describing it as “self-masturbatory politics”, because people only engage in this form of activism in order to please themselves.
1:45 PM
Wishart 102
Sharah Hutson  
The Intersection of Class and Race on the Experiences of College Student
In a capitalist system, money is highly impactful to the experience that shapes us all. In addition, the US wealth and income disparities lead to wildly varied perceptions of our individual worlds. Given that class and race are interconnected, minority kids often grow up experiencing a very different world than their soon to be college peers. Come discuss the ways that class and race have impacted your views and experiences, and how those thought patterns impact you today.
1:45 PM
Morgan 307
Francisco Martinez  
"Activism, but Make It Intersectional": The Importance of Making Inclusive Spaces
Members of Queer People of Color and other multicultural groups have an open dialogue/panel about making any and all spaces inclusive in regards to varying identities such as race, sexuality, gender identity, religion etc... and its importance.
1:45 PM
Kauke 237
Channler Twyman  
Unjust Deportation: Then and Now
In 2005, California apologized for its assistance in the federal government’s forced removal of approximately 2 million people of Mexican ancestry during the Great Depression (California Government Code 8721 and 8722). This session will look at the factors that led to the mass deportations of the 1930s, the parallels that exist between then and now, and will pose the following question: In seventy years, will our grandchildren need to apologize for our generation’s unjust and inhumane treatment of immigrants from Mexico, Central America, and other parts of the world? There will be opportunity during the second half of the session for students to share their perspectives and engage in constructive and meaningful dialogue while others brainstorm ways to support the millions of law-abiding immigrants currently—and increasingly—at risk of deportation. A list of online resources will be made available to those wishing to better inform themselves about specific topics related to immigration from Latin America to the United States.
1:45 PM
Kauke 36
Brian Cope