Martin Luther King Jr.

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.

Morning Sessions: 10:30 a.m. - 12p.m.

All details are subject to change

1.  Story Time for Social Justice (all ages welcome). 

Location: Mackey Hall

Christa Craven

Synopsis: Books, stories & activities for children of all ages, focused on Social Justice.

2. Diversity in STEM Careers: A Panel Discussion.

Location: Lean Lecture Hall

Laura Sirot and Jennifer Ison


  • Keshia Butler (Math 2012), Line Mechanic Engineer, American Electric Power
  • Rich Bowers (Chem 1982, Trustee), Ophthalmologist, The Sewickley Eye Group
  • Sheldon Masters (Math 2009), PhD in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, Senior Environmental Engineer at Corona Environmental Consulting, LLC
  • Erin Davison (Math 2013), MBA in Sports Business Management

Synopsis: This justice dialogue will be a panel discussion with people who have pursued careers in STEM and are members of groups traditionally underrepresented in their fields. Each participant will talk about their career, their career path, and their experience in STEM. The participants will then facilitate a discussion with the audience on topics related to Diversity in STEM, which may include discussing personal experiences and challenges as well as institutional challenges and opportunities.

3. Our Community and Social Justice: Hope, Healing, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Location: Lowry Main Lounge


  • Sarah Bolton (College of Wooster; President)
  • Monet Davis (College of Wooster ’19; Black Student Association)
  • Matt Fisher (Wooster Police; Chief of Police)
  • Scott Gregory (Wooster NAACP)
  • Maansi Kumar (College of Wooster ’17; International Student Association)
  • Sarah Mirza (College of Wooster; Professor of Religious Studies, Middle Eastern & North African Studies, and WGSS)
  • Shadra Smith (College of Wooster; Assistant Dean of Students, Director of Multicultural Student Affairs)
  • Elaine Strawn (Unitarian Universalist; Minister)

Synopsis: A group of key members of the College of Wooster and the Wooster community will share multiple perspectives on social justice in our community and to provide a deeper understanding for what is at stake for all our members. We will provide ideas for what we can do as a community to ensure that Wooster is more welcoming and inclusive for all.

4. Reducing Inequality in the Labor Market: King’s Vision of Economic Justice and Contemporary Challenges to Pre-Employment Bias and Racialized Capitalism.

Location: Kauke 038

Lisa Fisher and Tom Tierney

Synopsis: This session will present participants with foundational information about inequality in the U.S. labor market, ask them to proactively consider means of responding to inequality and supporting equity in organizations and the labor market, and encourage them to share their ideas in this regard.

5. The New National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington D.C. and Alison Saar’s “Breach”.

Location: The College of Wooster Art Museum, Sussel Gallery (located in Ebert Art Center)

Kara Morrow, Assistant Professor of Art History and Kitty McManus Zurko, Director/Curator, The College of Wooster Art Museum (CWAM)

Synopsis: Dedicated on Saturday, September 24, 2016, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington D.C. is the most recent museum to open on the National Mall. First proposed by African American veterans of the civil war, the museum has been long in coming. This session will begin with Kara Morrow exploring the meaning of such a museum on the National Mall of the nation's capital, as well as the efforts that curators undertook to collect the art and artifacts that chronicle "a people's journey, a nation's story." Kitty McManus Zurko will then present a gallery tour of the CWAM’s current exhibition “Breach,” by the renowned Los Angeles-based artist Alison Saar. Saar’s paintings, prints, and sculpture consider the socio-political ramifications of the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and Hurricane Katrina, and how the aftermath of these catastrophes influenced music, art, and racial policies in the United States.

6. ‘Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere:’ Using Service to Address Inequality.

Location: Kauke 237

Gianmarco Martignetti, First-Year Seminar Community Connections Program


  • FYS CCP professors: Dr. Shaya & Dr. Kammer
  • FYS CCP students: Tristan Donohoe & Arsenia Georgopoulos
  • APEX Fellow: Robert Dinkins

Synopsis: A panel of professors and students involved with service through Wooster will answer questions explaining about their experiences recognizing and addressing inequality and injustice in the communities they worked in. The panelists will then help to facilitate a breakout group discussion in order to reflect on how Wooster uses service to promote justice and how we can better work towards MLK's vision of equality

7.  Veganism and Social Activism. 

Location: Babcock Formal Lounge

Rodney Coleman, Foster Cheng, and Onyx Marosi

Synopsis: A discussion about how the principles and values of veganism intersect with the goals social justice as well as a chance to look at veganism as its own from of social justice beyond the action it takes for animals.

8. Environmental Injustices: How to Recognize Them and What to Do About Them.

Location: Kauke 136

Evan Riley and Matt Mariola

Synopsis: The dialogue will begin with a brief presentation of some apparent multi-dimensional environmental injustices. We expect this to lead into a lively conversation about the often hidden role of the environment in racial and class injustice, what makes for such injustices, and how they should be addressed.

Afternoon Sessions: 1:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

All details are subject to change.

1. Purposeful Play: Fostering Inclusive Classroom Culture Through Active Experience.

Location: Mackey Hall

Matt Broda, Education and Kristin Broda, Wooster City Schools

Synopsis: This “dialogue in motion” focuses on the development of inclusive classroom cultures through the use of active engagement. We will look at the scaffolded development of classroom communities and the use of common experience to build empathic pathways for connection and understanding. Come ready to move and play!

2. Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution.

Location: Lowry Center Main Lounge

Chuck Kammer

Synopsis: This workshop will focus on finding the tools, personal and social for long term commitment to social change.  The title reflects back on a work by MLK

3. Identity, Intersectionality, and Allyship: How to be an ally for those you want to stand for! Part 2.

Location: Babcock Formal Lounge

Emerald Rutledge and Foster Cheng (BWO and QPOC)

Synopsis: This dialogue will be geared towards helping folks understand how to become an ally and what exactly allyship means. This workshop will continue the discussion from last year's dialogue to help explain how folks with predominantly oppressed identities would like to be supported through allyship, particularly in the current era of more open and normalized hate. Our explanation and understanding of allyship will be campus-centered. Please wear any shirts you have with activist slogans so we can take a group picture!

4. Envisioning a Just World: Theatre and Performance as Tools for Social Change.

Location: Shoolroy Theatre

College of Wooster's original theatre group, DeVise; Coordinated by Alena Carl and Vincent Meredith

Synopsis: This justice dialogue will look at how drama and performance can be used as tools to promote social change. The participants will learn about theories and various techniques of theatre practitioners who have utilized the theatre as a space to respond to social and political issues. They will then take part in exercises that allow them to apply these techniques in an effort to understand how performance can be used as an agent for change.

5.  Blacktivism: A History of Black Fraternities' Activism.

Location: Lean Lecture Hall


  • Charles Blankson-Hemans
  • Derrius Jones
  • Jonathan Ledesma Chavez
  • Tyler Munn
  • Muhammad N’Diaye
  • Isaac Parker
  • Chadwick Smith
  • Maurryce Starks
  • Kevante Weakley
  • Jahqwahn Watson
  • Yichu Franky Xu

Synopsis: The Men of Harambee will host a M.L.K dialogue about African-American fraternities’ participation in activism. Our presentation will start with the first ever black fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, of which Dr. King was member. The presentation will continue to cover every fraternity included in the National Panhellenic Conference and how they were connected to movements from the Civil Rights Era to Black Lives Matter. We will also include a history of activism that has taken place on Wooster’s campus and how the Men of Harambee have been instrumental in causes concerning the Fighting Scots.

6.Beyond “I Have a Dream”:  The MLK You Don’t Know.

Location: Kauke 038

Denise Bostdorff, Boubacar N’Diaye, and Rohini Singh

Synopsis: Most people know the refrain of 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.  In closing, we will encourage participants to use their deeper familiarity with King’s words and positions to legitimize social justice work.

7. Bridges Out of Poverty: What Role Does Class Play in Civil Rights?

Location: Kauke 305

Kyle Putinski, United Way

Synopsis: Historically, marginalized populations have been excluded from political, financial, and social constructs. However, modern day equivalents still reside within our systems today. We will discuss issues like segregation, slavery, incarceration, red lining (denying services based on race or ethnicity), and the role that economics play in each of these.

8. Voter ID Laws and Equal Protection under the Law.

Location: Kauke 237

Desiree Weber and Moot Court Captains Marie Sheehan & Jack Johanning

Synopsis: In the past few years, many states have passed restrictive voting rights laws that often put a significant burden on underserved populations. Conversations about these policies have been happening in the media, but also in legislatures and courts across the country. Members of the Moot Court team have been researching and debating such provisions and will facilitate a dialogue about their impact on voters' 14th Amendment right to equal protection under the law.

9. Beyond a Few Bad Apples: Structural Challenges Facing #BlackLivesMatter.

Location: Kauke 244

Jason Ferrell, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)

Synopsis: This dialogue will focus on the social role of police force in the United States of America, particularly in its relation to people of color and current social movements. Attendees will first hear a presentation that provides information on the history of modern US police departments as a sociological phenomenon; the sequence of police reform programs embraced over the past century; and the steady implementation of a militarized police force, indiscriminate surveillance, and massive incarceration. Following the presentation, we will discuss how the people of Wooster, a rural and majority white community, can engage these issues in support of #BlackLivesMatter and other social movements.