Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion

Our diversity is our strength!

We are committed to promoting an understanding of and appreciation for the increasingly diverse backgrounds and beliefs of those who comprise the college community, as well as the larger community of which Rhode Island College is a part.

Funding from the Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion (DDI) Committee

Our committee offers co-sponsorship funding toward diversity and inclusion-centric programs or events for:

  • student organizations
  • faculty
  • staff
  • departments 

Committee Members


  • Ronya Traynham (Transfer Advisor, Student Support Services)


  • TBA


  • Precious Kafo (Project Director II, TRIO, Student Support Services)

Apply for Co-Sponsorship

About the Dialogue on Diversity Committee

During the summer of 1995, five Rhode Island College faculty members worked together to design a comprehensive program that would bring together advocates, scholars, teachers, politicians, students and the public to reflect on the challenges and opportunities inherent in educating people for life in a democratic and increasingly pluralistic society. David Thomas took the lead, and with Ellen Bigler, Xae Alicia Reyes, Gale Goodwin Gomez and David Cappella, set the stage for a college-wide, yearlong examination of “The Challenges and Opportunities of Pluralism.” President John Nazarian accepted their proposal and announced in August the formation of the Challenges of Diversity Program. All those interested were requested to contact his office. Thirty-eight faculty and staff members stepped forward.

Thus, “in keeping with the spirit of Katherine Murray, and the Katherine Murray Endowment established upon her death to support programs for the improvement of public education, and to inform the general public by examining issues of critical significance in education, in teaching, and in learning,” the Rhode Island College Dialogue on Diversity Project was launched. Xae Reyes and David Thomas were appointed co-chairs. President Nazarian, they asserted, “has provided us with a strong vote of confidence with his initial and generous funding for a preparatory kick-off...This event will inaugurate the full program for the academic year 1996-97. We thus have two immediate tasks: to decide the form and structure of a spring event, and to organize the planning for the full program.”

The newly formed and very enthusiastic committee met on Oct. 18. By December it had taken to heart the president’s advice to form subcommittees in charge of speakers, workshops, interfacing with academic departments, film series, logistics, public relations (which later merged with community outreach) and fundraising, while observing that other subcommittees might yet be necessary. The proposed calendar of events reflected many perspectives. During the spring semester there would be:

  • A series of workshops for teachers.
  • A convocation address on effective education in a culturally diverse society.
  • A series of related panels, films, major speakers and additional workshops.
  • A graduation address on democracy and education in a pluralistic society.

In the fall a similar series of events would take place, highlighted by a week-long symposium in which pluralism and education would be explored and commented on by community and business leaders, faculty, students and national figures. All this would confirm the college’s commitment to pluralism and initiate an ongoing dialogue between the college and the community. It was ambitious, exciting, extensive and expensive. Too expensive.

The initial program, “Affirming Diversity: Workshops in Multicultural Education,” targeted teachers. Invitations also went out to both community leaders and the general public. There were morning and afternoon workshops and a keynote address by Dr. Sonia Nieto, who proceeded to set the tone for RIC’s Dialogue on Diversity. In a letter to John Nazarian, Joyce Stevos, an administrator within Providence Public Schools, wrote:

“When I listened to and heard your inaugural speech in which you talked about diversity and the college, I felt compelled to become actively involved as an alumna, friend and an educator devoted to ensuring [that] the children in the City of Providence receive a quality education...I brought to the conference 32 persons from the family centers in Providence. The majority of these people were parents who are working to make home-school connections. The organizers and facilitators welcomed them and looked upon them as resources.”

The following spring, the committee organized a lecture by Morris Dees, founder and chief consul of the Southern Poverty Law Center, followed by a series of related workshops.

At year’s end, President Nazarian wrote the following to the committee: “The programs the committee organized or sponsored over the last year and one half have, as we know, been very successful. I would like to see this tradition continued, and I know there is strong sentiment, not just among the members of the committee, but on the campus generally, that the diversity initiative should continue.”

Each invited speaker had the knowledge and background to focus on a different aspect of diversity. Christopher Edley Jr. made a presentation on “Race and American Values.” John H. Bracey spelled out “The Cost of Racism to White America.” Marcia Gillespie discussed “Confronting Racism and Sexism [and Moving] toward a More Humane Society. And Kevin Gover examined “The Role of Native Americans in a Diverse America.”

Sometimes the best laid plans have unanticipated results. After some anti-gay incidents on campus, for example, the committee brought in a prominent gay speaker, Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. Appointed a presidential advisor only one week before the September 2001 terrorist attacks, Romero focused on its aftereffects, including the Patriot’s Act. “In times of national crisis,” he declared, “we must not unify to the point of intolerance.”

John Artis related “A Personal Narrative” of his journey from conviction for a crime he did not commit to counseling and guiding at-risk youth. Attorney Urvashi Vaid raised the issue of “JUSTICE or JUST-US: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Politics.” John Kemp guided us in an exploration of “Disability,” based on his personal and professional experience. Angela Oh, best known as the spokesperson for the Korean American community after the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, described the path of her own spiritual evolution.

Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America, shared her perspective on “Islam and Muslims in the USA.” Native American activist Suzan Shown Harjo, asked, “Who’s Still Struggling with Human Rights in 2008…?” Dr. David Ames of the Global AIDS Project and former RIC campus minister addressed the topic of AIDS prevention in Africa and described his own work in Malawi. Director of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Edmund Barry Gaither, examined the expression of diversity in the arts. Tony Johnson, a visual and performing artist as well as an arts administrator, talked about “The Power, Problem and Potential of the Arts.” Longtime Dialogue on Diversity member, Amritjit Singh, returned to RIC to tell “African American and Asian American Stories” of migration and citizenship.

John Jackson reported on “Race, Class, and Indifference [as] Predictors of Educational Access and Outcomes,” and Shirley J. Wilcher took a long look at “Affirmative Action in the Age of Inclusion.” Anna Cano-Morales, chair of the Central Falls School District Board of Trustees, spoke on “Education Communities [and the] Strength in Partnerships.” Barbara Jensen focused on working-class students traveling “Across the Divide” into academia.

Although the spring series was intended mainly for RIC students, these speakers shared their perspectives with audiences that included teachers, activists and others from the community. Early planning had determined that the committee would also produce a major event during the fall semester. The first Promising Practices event took place in September 1998 and set the pattern for the future. It was a daylong event, a multicultural media fair, with workshops and a keynote address. “We invite you to join us,” the flyer read, “in learning about the latest thinking on important issues that all educators confront daily, especially around diversity.”

Ewa Irena Pytowska, the Central Falls assistant superintendent of schools, urged educators to look beyond labels. RIC’s Patricia Madeiros-Landerand and Dennis Littky of the Metropolitan School encouraged them to foster cultural and linguistic diversity. And Providence Superintendent Diana Lam challenged them to reform schools so that all students would benefit. RIC alumna Lelia De Andrade led the entire audience in a workshop on preventing hate crimes in schools.

Ronald Thorpe of the Rhode Island Foundation investigated the impact of computer technology. Laura Wood of Dorcas International Institute addressed globalization and immigration. And Tricia Rose, professor of Africana Studies at Brown University, explored “Inspired Teaching and Difficult Subjects.” Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott spoke of “The Power of Community Partnership.”

Speakers from beyond the Rhode Island area also shared their knowledge: Paul Kei Matsuda (on communication), Paula Rothenberg (on re-segregation), Kathleen Cushman (on education and school reform), Peggy McIntosh (on privilege and power and teaching for change) and Dennis Shirley (on “Mindful Teaching and Learning”).

All along, the committee made efforts to involve and engage students. Youth Hour, a panel of young persons engaged in conversations around teaching and learning, achieved great success and became a feature of future Promising Practices events, and Youth Pride was invited to hold workshops.

Teen Empowerment, a Boston youth leadership organization, took the stage in 2011, followed by Dana Fusco’s “Child and Youth Development Approaches.”

In 2013 a plenary panel and keynote speaker Howard Rosing explored contemporary efforts to engage students and members of the community in social, political, economic and environmental challenges. Christopher Emdin focused on STEM education in urban environments.

For every Promising Practice event, the big picture issues remained the same: Who is this event for? How do we want to involve teachers? How best to recognizes outstanding educators? Can we partner or co-sponsor? Do we refocus our recruiting?

There were other initiatives: an experts list of faculty and staff with expertise on specific diversity issues; a Web page; and the establishment, with the Unity Center, of Diversity Week at RIC. A dedicated core of the committee created a diversity-related film collection – securing funding, making selections, creating forums and leading discussions – and brought the Global Lens Film Series to the college. In times of controversy on campus, Dialogue on Diversity has invited students to speak at its meetings and has voiced its support for the positive efforts of others. In 2003 it lobbied for filling the position of director of the Unity Center, and during a later vacancy, voluntarily staffed the center for two months.

Dialogue on Diversity, observed one co-chair, is “a committee with major responsibilities without support staff, our priority is always to get things done as informally and as expeditiously as possible...While the whole team is putting finishing touches to the last minute details for the November...program, we are already working on our concrete plans for the annual spring event.” It was not unusual for members to physically set up meeting rooms and display areas for Promising Practices. “Please come for this part, if you can,” said one call for volunteers. “If you arrive and [see] no one...look for us moving chairs and tables, setting up podia and screens, or moving boxes of educational materials. Just join in and help.”

Initially, President Nazarian had taken care to appoint at least one member from every academic department, declaring that “the committee should be inclusive rather than exclusive.” Over time some members stepped away or took a break, and each year the president requested and received recommendations for appointments. Periodically the composition of the committee became a topic of debate, usually with no resolution. In the end, older members shared their experience, newer members brought fresh ideas and the committee benefitted.

Year after year, the Committee on College Lectures, as well as staff, administrators, faculty, departments, divisions and offices throughout the campus have generously partnered with Dialogue on Diversity to provide advice, support and financial assistance. Nevertheless, the Dialogue on Diversity Committee is a presidential committee, and without the support of the president it is unlikely that the committee would be able to function effectively, let alone help advance diversity at Rhode Island College.

In his 1998 appointment letter President Nazarian said, “I expect that this exploration and celebration of issues related to diversity will have a significant and lasting positive effect on Rhode Island College as well as the community at large. Perhaps the words of one student provide an answer, “This diversity stuff always makes you more aware of our society and about what goes on in the world, and what needs [to be done].” Today, looking back on 20 years, I echo the words of another committee member, “I take pride in associating myself with programs executed successfully each year by a large and seemingly unwieldy, but at the same time a most friendly, open-minded, genuinely democratic and almost carnival-like committee called the Dialogue on Diversity.”

Presented at 20-Year Anniversary Dinner
April 4, 2016, by Marlene Lopes

Each spring the Dialogue on Diversity Committee sponsors a lecture that embraces our commitment to issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. Here is a list of our former speakers:

2020           Janaya Kizzie

2019           Jordan Axt

2018           ACLU Town Hall: Free Speech on Campus, Multiple Perspectives

2017           Bert Crenca

2016           Barbara Jensen

2015           Shirley Wilcher

2014           Anna Cano-Morales

2013          John Jackson

2012           Amritjit Singh

2011           Tony Johnson

2010           Edmund Barry Gaither

2009           David Ames

2008           Suzan Shown Harjo

2007           Ingrid Mattson

2006           Angela Oh

2005           John Kemp

2004           Urvashi Viad

2003           John Artis

2002           Anthony Romero

2001           Kevin Gover

2000           Marcia Ann Gillespie

1999           John Bracey Jr.

1998           Christopher Edley Jr.

1997           Morris Dees

1996           Sonia Nieto


May 15, 2020
Webinar – Bias and Micro-Aggressions Addressing Current Issues During COVID-19:
Raise Awareness, Address Incidents and Lessen Exclusion within Your Community

Racism and xenophobia, along with many other types of micro-aggressions and bias, have increased as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Asians and Asian Americans have faced harassment, discrimination, and violence, while a shift to remote or virtual online learning has left many without equitable tools to learn.  The use of masks by many people of color further illuminates the cultural bias society has as some are perceived as criminals although the use of protective facial coverings is advised for many across the world. 

How can your campus address these key equity and inclusion concepts in light of the current health crisis?

How can faculty, staff and administrators educate and respond both virtually and in-on campus environments?

Join your peers on May 13, 2020, where our expert presenter will offer crucial, actionable takeaways to help you delve into these many issues of bias and micro-aggressions so you can effectively combat incidents within your community and beyond. 

You’ll walk away with a foundational understanding of important equity and inclusion concepts; the ability to assess your own biases; and strategies to address micro-aggressions, bias, discrimination and hate towards a variety of communities whether virtually or in person.

May 5, 2020
Webinar – Racism and COVID-19 in Rhode Island: The Physician Experience

SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) first emerged as a highly contagious disease in Wuhan, China. It now infects about 2.5 million people worldwide, with the US accounting for about a third of the cases. Nearly 200,000 people have died throughout the world thus far. While Covid-19 is a global phenomenon, the local context varies greatly in the numbers of cases, hospitalizations, deaths, patient and provider experiences of the virus, and ability to respond effectively to the spread of the virus.

The Race, Medicine, and Social Justice Working Group of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice will present a panel that draws on the knowledge and experience of physicians from different specialties practicing in Rhode Island. Panelists will explore the local Rhode Island experience, particularly with respect to how Covid-19 and the response to the virus affects African Americans, Latinx, and Native Americans in our state. We have invited six physicians from different medical specialties to share their experiences with Covid-19.

Panelists include: Carla C. Moreira, MD, RPVI, Taneisha Wilson, MD, ScM, Joseph Diaz, MD, MPH, FACP, Bethany Gentilesco, MD, Cyril O. Burke III, MD and Catherine Trimbur, MD, MPH. The conversation will be moderated by Professor Lundy Braun, Departments of Africana Studies and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Science and Technology Program. 

March 30, 2020
Webinar – Supporting Your Marginalized and Vulnerable Students During COVID-19 

Frontline staff who work with students of color; LGBTQIA+ students; students with disabilities; first generation students; lower income students; and those with housing & food insecurity are working hard to help meet unique needs during this unprecedented crisis. Many are scrambling to develop policies and programs. Others are vetting requests of who can and who can’t remain on campus. The rapid pace is causing tremendous stress for those working tirelessly to make these changes as seamless as possible. 

Join your colleagues from across the country for an interactive webinar on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Our experienced presenters are currently on the front lines of their respective campuses shaping processes and decisions for marginalized and vulnerable students.

They will share their firsthand experience working through this crisis and how to move forward to ensure that students are supported through an intersectional lens, that there is equity and ethics incorporated into institutional decision making, and how this crisis is changing the higher education landscape

March 25, 2020
Webinar – The Science of Social Distancing: Part 1

The first COVID-19 Conversations webinar will review how COVID-19 is transmitted, historical lessons from past pandemics, the state of the science on social distancing, and the targeted and layered nature of how social distancing practices are enacted. 

The webinar will feature a panel of expert speakers, including:

  • Nancy Messonnier, MD - Director, Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Howard Markel, MD, PhD - George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine and Director of the Center for the History of Medicine, University of Michigan
  • Marc Lipsitch, DPhil - Director, Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health 
  • Mitch Stripling - National Director, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Planned Parenthood and former assistant commissioner of Agency Preparedness and Response for New York City

March 6, 2020
Reflecting and Celebrating Women International Women’s Day 2020   
Each for Equal: Fighting Bias for an Inclusive Community

Our speakers include Cheryl Burrell, Associate Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Opportunity of Rhode Island Department of Administration; Kelly Nevins, Executive Director at Women's Fund of Rhode Island; and Liana Cassar RI House of Representative -District 66.

Hope and Change for Haiti (HnC) is hosting its third annual “Reflecting and Celebrating Women” International Women’s Day event to celebrate women.  “Reflecting and Celebrating Women” offers a platform to celebrate the work of women discuss issues that impacted them, and promote strategies to bring positive change. In fact, this year is particularly special as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Women’s suffrage. However, we cannot forget that black women faced severe obstacles to voting because of their skin color. Black women were not granted the same freedom to vote in many parts of this country until the 1960s. Unfortunately, in 2020, women of color continue to experience acts of micro-aggression, individual and institutional racism. At this event, our speakers will emphasize the urgency to acknowledge inequities, bias, and racism against people of color, particularly its impact on Black women. 

March 3, 2020 
Janaya Kizzie: Implicit Bias on Wikipedia

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
12 – 1:30 p.m., Gaige 200

Wikipedia is the 10th-most visited website in the world. It is the first—and sometimes the last—place people go when they need information. But as an information source composed and regulated by the public, Wikipedia suffers from the same issues of implicit bias as the rest of the world. The following program is a combined lecture and workshop series focused on understanding and ending implicit bias on Wikipedia. It is designed to encourage participation from all members of the RIC community. Participants are welcome to attend the lecture, workshop, or both. 

12 – 1:30, Lecture (lunch included), Gaige 200
Janaya Kizzie (Rhode Island Arts and Culture Research Fellow at the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities) will provide an introduction to Wikipedia. She’ll discuss current concerns in the Wikipedia and world community about the website’s failings on issues of gender and racial equality. During her talk, Kizzie will show examples where Wikipedia’s vision and values have succeeded and where they have failed, and discuss ways in which the Rhode Island College community can account for, address, and mitigate implicit bias. Kizzie will demonstrate how her own work as a Wikipedia editor does more than fill gaps in coverage, she is intent on publishing articles about people and organizations who aren’t being written about. 

2–3 p.m., Workshop Program, Library Instruction Facility – 30-person Limit
After her talk, Kizzie will facilitate a hands-on Wikipedia editing workshop in the Adams Library. Participants will learn about types of implicit bias on Wikipedia and how to correct them using robust research and credible sources. They will receive an in-depth introduction to editing on Wikipedia, Wikipedian culture/editors, and the technical aspects of editing Wikipedia. Over the course of the workshop, participants will create a Wikipedia account and make 10 edits, giving them editor status on Wikipedia. Kizzie will speak with faculty who are interested in developing open-enabled pedagogy assignments that investigate, analyze, or work to end implicit bias on Wikipedia.

About Janaya Kizzie
Janaya Kizzie is an archivist, librarian, and historian. She is the first Rhode Island Arts and Culture Research Fellow at the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, where her work included the composition of Wikipedia articles about Rhode Island Arts and Culture. Kizzie also processed the archives of local arts collective AS220, and serves on the public projects board of feminist arts collective, The Dirt Palace. For more information about Kizzie and her Wikipedia activities, visit: https://rihumanities.org/humanities-council-introduces-ri-arts-and-culture-research-fellow-janaya-kizzie/

Feb. 4, 2020
FCTL Book Club Launch
Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education

The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL)  Spring 2020 Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education (authors: T. Tobin & K. Behling).  Book description: Advocates for the rights of people with disabilities have worked hard to make universal design in the built environment “just part of what we do.” We no longer see curb cuts, for instance, as accommodations for people with disabilities, but perceive their usefulness every time we ride our bikes or push our strollers through crosswalks.

Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone is aimed at faculty members, faculty-service staff, disability support providers, student-service staff, campus leaders, and graduate students who want to strengthen the engagement, interaction, and performance of all college students. It includes resources for readers who want to become UDL experts and advocates: real-world case studies, active-learning techniques, UDL coaching skills, micro- and macro-level UDL-adoption guidance, and use-them-now resources.

Dec. 3, 2019
Radical Healing: Youth Development in These Times

Panel discussion of leading youth development professionals: Court King, Dulari Tahbildar and Harrison Grigsby

Two anchors of the Youth Development Program are Social Justice and Critical Care. The event, Radical Healing: Youth Development in These Times is an opportunity for members of the Rhode Island College and members of the surrounding community to engage in a panel discussion about radical healing in youth development followed by an explanation of the Youth Development Master’s Program at Rhode Island College. . The panelists discussed the connections among radical healing and youth development in our local community. Through this event, we intend to promote diversity, equity and inclusion within our RIC community and among the broader community by highlighting ways in which educators of color are working to create change around issues of identity based discrimination and the ways in which systematic oppression connects to the field of youth development. 

Nov. 13, 2019 
DDI Talks: Exploring Micro-Aggression and Implicit Bias in our Lives and Communities

12:30-2 p.m., Lunch and Learn, Alger Hall 110
This important conversation will feature Warren Miller, Asst. Prof., Social Work; Kymberlee O’Brien, Asst. Prof., Psychology; Pegah Rahmanian, Director, Unity Center; and student moderator Ronya Traynham. We encourage you to bring your students for what promises to be a spirited discussion of professional and lived experiences, with an opportunity for attendees to ask questions of the panelists and moderators. 

Oct. 30, 2019
The Blind Poet: Dave Steele

Dave Steele is bringing his first U.S. book tour to Rhode Island College.  This is your opportunity to meet the inspirational, prolific, blind author of more than 700 poems and songs dealing with the fears and struggles associated with vision loss. Listen as Dave describes the frustration of losing his sight and livelihood to the ravages of the genetic eye disease Retinitis Pigmentosa. Hear the poetry that became his therapy, won worldwide acclaim, and became the number one best-selling poetry series on three continents. You will walk away sharing his mission to help those isolated by vision loss, to let them know they are not alone.

2018-2019 Spring Lecture
Jordan Axt of Project Implicit: “Mindbugs: The Ordinary Origins of Bias”

A lecture to increase awareness, foster opportunities for effective relationships, and cultivate cultural humility and curiosity. Free and open to the public. Light refreshments.

March 20, 2019
12:30-2 p.m., Gaige Hall 100

Awareness of implicit bias and microaggressions are essential to:

  • Increase awareness of how our socialization process unconsciously perpetuates implicit biases and microaggressions.
  • Help foster opportunities for active and effective connections and relationships among a diverse group of people.
  • Cultivate cultural humility and curiosity to hold safe spaces for healthy discourse on tackling uncomfortable conversations and understanding why something someone might see as innocuous might have real impacts.

Jordan Axt received his doctoral degree in social psychology from the University of Virginia in May 2017. Currently he is a post-doctoral researcher at Duke University and director of data and methodology at Project Implicit, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting research on implicit bias. Starting January 2020, he will be an assistant professor of psychology at McGill University. His research focuses on the origins and consequences of implicit bias in domains such as race, religion, age and sexual orientation. His work has been covered by media outlets such as National Public Radio, The Los Angeles Times, and CBS News, and he has given presentations on implicit bias to faculty, legal, corporate and medical audiences. Sponsored by Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion​.

Webinar: Addressing Implicit Bias & Micro-Aggressions to Create An Inclusive Classroom & Campus Community by Innovative Educators – Open webinar held in March 2019. The objectives were to recognize implicit bias, understand how micro-aggressions negatively impact marginalized groups, increase awareness of ethnocentrism and privilege, and foster increased classroom and campus inclusiveness, empowerment and engagement.

Co-Sponsored Events & Programs

Identity, Power, and Privilege in Human-Service Fields, Featuring Guest Speakers Marco McWilliams and Lynn Hernandez: This presentation was organized by the Counseling, Educational Leadership and School Psychology Department and attended by students and faculty from the Mental Health Counseling, School Psychology, Social Work, Psychology and Nursing Departments.

Unconscious Bias, Critical Awareness, and Counseling Workshop Facilitated by Dr. MiNa Chung from Roger Williams University: This workshop was organized by students and faculty from the Counseling, Educational Leadership and School Psychology Department and consisted of didactic and experiential exercises as well as in depth discussions on unconscious bias and its effects on individuals and practitioners. Topics highlighted included: Critical Social Justice, Critical Race Theory, Intersectional Feminist Theory, Queer Theory, Gender and Sexuality, Exploring Whiteness, and Creating Inclusive Classrooms.

Masculinity and You: Preventing Gender Based Violence Featuring Kira Manser from the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health: Seeds funds to plan event organized by the Unity Center and supported by RIC Coexist, The Pride Alliance, Feminists United, and the Rhode Island Student Collaborative (RISC). The program attempts to examine the concept of masculinity, explain how to identify toxic messages, and offer new ways of thinking about masculinity and restorative justice

Diversity Summit: March 19, 2018

"Whose Streets"​ documentary on Ferguson Mississippi March 22, 2018

Diversity Week 2017
Hispanic Heritage Month: S​ept. 15Oct. 15​

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.  

Reasonable accommodations for disabilities available upon request.        

​For more information on Diversity Week events, stop by the Unity Center (DDC lower level) or visit our webpage www.ric.edu/unitycenter for updated information on events.   

Oct. 2, 2019
10–11 a.m.
Perspectives: Looking Inward to See Outward
Student Union 434

This program is experiential and based on the work of feminist and anti-racism activist, Peggy McIntosh, author of the acclaimed (1989) article “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” All people experience degrees of privilege, yet privilege is more abundant for some and oppression more prevalent for others. The goal of this program is to help people understand how societal advantage and disadvantage influence people’s lives. Participants engage in structured exercises followed by collaborative discussion.

Presented by Julia Kamenetsky, Psy.D. ​Sponsored by the Counseling Center   ​

1–2 p.m.
Meet the Siblings of Theta Delta Sigma
Student Union 434

Do you want to meet the siblings of RIC’s newest multicultural co-ed Greek organization? Founded in 2001, Theta Delta Sigma Society Inc., is a national organization built upon the values of leadership, diversity, unity and respect. Since its inception, the society has been a recognized contributor to raising multicultural awareness. Come meet the siblings and learn more. 

Sponsored by Theta Delta Sigma Inc. and Student Activities​

2–4 p.m.
Brazilian Music Lecture and Performance:
“Choro das 3”
Alger 110

This lecture and live musical performance explores the origin and aspects of the “choro” genre of music arising in the Portuguese-speaking country of Brazil during the 19th Century. The family-based group “Choro das 3” from São Paulo, Brazil, is composed of sisters Corina (flutes), Lia (seven-string acoustic guitar) and Elisa (mandolin, clarinet, banjo and piano) and their father Eduardo (pandeiro). The group has performed concerts and workshops throughout Brazil, the United States, Mexico and France. 

Sponsored by the Institute for Portuguese and Lusopohone World Studies

4–6 p.m.
“I Am Not Your Negro”
Gaige 200

In 1979 James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next book project, “Remember This House.” It was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends – Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only 30 completed pages of his manuscript. In this incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. (rottentomatoes.com).

Sponsored by Open Books – Open Minds 

Tuesday, Oct. 3
4–​5 p.m.
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in Special Education 
President’s Dining Room

Culturally and linguistically diverse students are overrepresented in learning disability, speech impairment, and emotional/behavioral disturbance programs. Unfortunately, this is not a new problem. This problem affects African Americans, Latinos(as), Native Americans and low-income students or children who are English language learners. Participants will learn about the social and educational factors that cause this overrepresentation and gain knowledge of past and current policies and practices for improving services for culturally and linguistically diverse students and families. 

Sponsored by the Department of Special Education.

7–9 p.m.
“Love Shouldn’t Hurt”
​Gaige Hall 200

Domestic violence is a pervasive problem in virtually all countries, cultures, ethnic and racial groups and social classes.  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” will consist of a diverse panel who discuss the violence that occurs in some relationships. 

Sponsored by Omega Phi Beta Sorority Inc. 

10 a.m.–noon
Elementary Education 437
Cross Cultural Connections in a College Travel Course – Open Class
Henry Barnard School 205

This class session examines the opportunities and challenges of international service learning.  What is an international curriculum? How do students benefit from globalized learning?  These questions and more will be explored.

Presented by Professor Maria Lawrence, Department of Elementary Education

Wednesday, Oct. 4 
10 a.m.–noon

Elementary Education 437Cross Cultural Connections in a College Travel Course – Open Class
Henry Barnard School 205

This class session examines the opportunities and challenges of international service learning. What is an international curriculum? How do students benefit from globalized learning? These questions and more will be explored.

Presented by Professor Maria Lawrence, Department of Elementary Education

11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Veteran Expo
Campus Quad

This event compliments the Student Veterans in Classrooms presentation which is immediately following. The expo will feature resource tables from various VA providers and community organizations that support Veterans in RI.  The vendors will include the VA Medical Center, VA Regional Office, Vet Center, Million Records Project, RI Division of Veteran Affairs, Operation Stand Down RI, RI Department of Labor and Training, Team RWB, and Vets Inc.

Sponsored by the Veterans Resource Center and Vet Success on Campus

11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Study Abroad Informational Fair
President’s Dining Room  

This program will provide students with an opportunity to speak with representatives from the RIC Shinn Study Abroad Program and RIC affiliated off-campus study abroad programs so that they can become informed about opportunities to experience living and learning in a variety of locations and situations. What better w​ay to learn about cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity?  

Sponsored by the Rhode Island College Study Abroad Office    

Noon–2 p.m.
Student Veterans in Classrooms 
Alger 242 

Veterans make up only one percent of the U.S. population. Further, sixty percent of those in the military come from military families, making opportunities to get to know military connected people and culture a challenge for most civilians. This interactive discussion will provide a better understanding of the transition from military service to academic life and explore ways to reduce any disconnect between the civilian population and student veterans on campus. The number of student veterans at RIC is increasing each year. All students, faculty and staff are invited to engage and better understand student veterans on a more personal level. 

Sponsored by the Veterans Resource Center and Vet Success on Campus

12:30–2 p.m.
Privilege Walk
Campus Quad

Join Theta Delta Sigma Inc. for this interactive exercise that examines power and privilege in American society.

12:30–2 p.m.
Access Challenge: Eye-Opening Experience
Campus Quad 
(Student Union Lobby – rain location)

Come try an eye-opening experience! The Fall 2017 Access Challenge will feature visual impairment (VI) simulation activities so that students, faculty and staff can experience what it is like to have low or no vision. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about service dogs, Braille, white-cane awareness, how to be a sighted guide, careers in the field of VI and more.

Sponsored by the Disability Services Center, Advocacy and Beyond Club and the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities 

12:30–2 p.m. – CANCELLED
It’s Lit
L4L Adams Library, Lower Level 
Conference Room

This introductory workshop uses hiphop as a catalyst to dissect social phenomena. Various themes will be explored as it relates to the diaspora of AfricanAmerican culture. Participants will have an opportunity to learn concepts of race, class, gender and personal identity. The workshop will provide a platform for students to engage in discussion about the history of hip-hop, its impact on global society and gain perspective on marginalized and underrepresented groups through hiphop music, art and culture. 

Presented by Jon Hope. Sponsored by Learning for Life

2–4 p.m.
Forum on Race and Society   
Alger 110   

The 2017-18 Open Books – Open Minds reading selection, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me,” raises issues of race, multiculturalism, oppression, diversity and inclusion. This forum seeks to connect Coates’ book to our own community and to foster dialogue, understanding and action regarding social justice. A panel of speakers comment from their own perspectives. A Q&A is to follow. 

Sponsored by Open Books – Open Minds 

3–4 p.m. – CANCELLED
Bilingual Yoga Class for Beginners
Recreation Center Multipurpose Room

Nurture your mind and body while simultaneously practicing your Spanish or English skills. Check out this wonderful bilingual yoga class for beginners. All you need is a mat, comfortable yoga clothes, and a bottle of water to stay hydrated. Don’t have a mat? Don’t worry we’ll provide one. Need a bottle of water? We’ve got that, too. Join us in creating a bond between yoga, mindfulness, and multiculturalism.

Sponsored by the International Student Office and the Department of Modern Languages

4–6 p.m. 
Growing up Hearing/Growing up Deaf
Student Union Ballroom  

The definition of deafness, in terms of decibel hearing loss, fails to recognize that Deafness is part of an overall identity, rich in language and culture. The many experiences and perspectives of Deaf and culturally Deaf people are explored through the concept of intersectionality, which suggests that varied parts of who we are intersect and impact how we perceive and are perceived (Crenshaw, 1989). RIC Professor of Special Education Marie Lynch, who grew up culturally Deaf, and Rhode Island School for the Deaf teacher Robin Henderson, who is Deaf, share their intersectional experiences. This program broadens knowledge and awareness of the cultural/linguistic strengths of Deaf people, seeks to reduce stereotypes and promotes inclusion. 

Sponsored by the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development, Department of Special Education; and the Rhode Island School for the Deaf

4–7 p.m.
Music and Anthropology 167 - Open Class
Music in Non-Western Worlds
Nazarian Center 188

One of the most persuasive tools of cultural diplomacy today is music. As a commodity shared by all cultures, music breaks the barriers of politics, nations, ethnicity and creed – allowing all to share equally in an endeavor that binds all peoples through a common medium. We invite all to participate in this stimulating engagement with cultures near and far. Come in at any time with an open mind and open ears, no preparation necessary.

Sponsored by Departments of Anthropology and Music, Theatre and Dance.

6–8 p.m.
Queer History: Amazing Stories   
President’s Dining Room  

In this interactive, lecture-style workshop Sarah Prager reads from her book, “Queer There and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World.” This workshop focuses on queer history, its importance, builds on what the audience already knows and is followed by Q&A. Sharing the history of queer folks, whose stories or queerness has been traditionally erased, is a form of placemaking and validation. These stories exist and are valued on our campus and in society.

Sponsored by the RIC Pride Alliance

7–8 p.m.
Drag Queen Story Hour
Adams Library Reinhardt Room

“Featuring Drag Queen Jacqueline DiMera, Miss Gay Rhode Island USofA Newcomer 2016,” and based on the popular Drag Queen Story Hour events in New York libraries, this program showcases the Adams Library’s collections, LGT-Friendly Picture Books for Children and LGBTQ Materials for Children and Young Adults​. These collections were donated by Elizabeth Rowell, retired Professor of Elementary Education at RIC.

Q&A to follow.

Sponsored by the Adams Library and RIC Pride Alliance

7–9 p.m.
Paint Night
Student Union 307

This paint night is all about diversity! We provide the materials; you are the artist.  All attendees are asked to create a painting that depicts aspects of diversity and inclusion. 

Sponsored by Theta Delta Sigma, Inc. and Student Activities

Oct. 5, 2019
10:30 a.m.–Noon

Coffee Hour Intro   
Unity Center  

Have coffee and morning snacks with Chris Susi the new coordinator for LGBTQ+ affairs at RIC. Bring your ideas about increasing visibility and support for LGBTQ+ issues and ensuring our campus is safe and affirming. All are welcome.

Sponsored by the Unity Center LGBTQ+ Office

Noon–1 p.m.
“What’s Love Got to Do With It?”
Unity Center  

The movie “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” has inspired people to overcome their obstacles, and achieve their dreams. The movie opens with the phrase “Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.” The philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism is based in the recognition of the value and dignity of life, and promotes equality and peace in society through the practice of chanting. In the movie’s title song, Tina Turner writes “I've read it someplace/ I've got cause to be/ There's a name for it/ There's a phrase that fits”. This event will include an informal presentation about the philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism as well as time for questions and dialogue. Presenter, associate professor of Biology

Breea Govenar, has practiced Nichiren Buddhism since she was a child.

Noon–2 p.m.
Elementary Education 437
Cross Cultural Connections in a College Travel Course – Open Class
Henry Barnard School 212

This class session examines the opportunities and challenges of international service learning.  What is an international curriculum? How do students benefit from globalized learning?  These questions and more will be explored.

Presented by Professor Maria Lawrence, department of Elementary Education

12:30–2 p.m. 
Rights and Responsibilities: LGBTQ Inclusive Classrooms 
President’s Dining Room   

This program examines how teachers can create welcoming classrooms for LGTBQ youth and families through the integration of an inclusive literacy program. Discussion will address “heteronormativity,” “gender roles” and “binary gender identifications” as pervasive hindrances to the rights of students and the responsibilities of educators. Based on reflections and ideas from “Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth” by Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August and Megan Kennedy 

Presented by Henry Barnard School teacher associate CJ Meehan

4–6 p.m.
“No-No Boy”: A Multimedia Concert on Japanese Internment  
Gaige 200  

“No-No Boy” is a collection of songs written by singer-songwriter Julian Saporiti. Inspired by his doctoral research at Brown University and growing up as a Vietnamese-American in Tennessee, his songs, archival photographs and films, as well as stories he has collected, highlight diverse Asian-American experiences. Through an immersive experience, this performance explores complicated histories – Jazz bands in WWII Japanese incarceration camps, refugee sagas, kids in Middle America making sense of a hyphenated identity.  

Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, Anthropos 

Oct. 6, 2019
Noon–2:30 p.m.

Movie Matinee: Get Out
Faculty Center Main Dining Room

A young AfricanAmerican man meets his white girlfriend’s family for a weekend in their secluded estate in the woods, but before long, the friendly and polite ambience gives way to a nightmare. (IMDb) Light lunch is included.

Sponsored by the Unity Center 

Beyond Diversity Week

Wednesday, Oct. 11
National Coming Out Day   

National Coming Out Day (NCOD) was founded by Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary in 1988 to commemorate the March on Washington for   

Lesbian and Gay Rights a year earlier on October 11. The purpose of the day is to promote awareness and celebrate the LGBTQ community.  This year marks the 29th anniversary of NCOD.  

Oct. 12, 2019
7 p.m.
Noite de Cinema Português: “A Gaiola Dourada/The Gilded Cage” 
Gaige 100  

This Portuguese and French comedy follows the story of a Portuguese immigrant family living in France and addresses the challenges of living in a foreign country.  The themes of assimilation, cultural difference and estrangement from the homeland are part of the underlying framework. Open to the local Portuguese-American community as well as to RIC students, the film gives the opportunity to understand the universality of these challenges outside the United States.

Sponsored by the Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies in collaboration with the RI Day of Portugal

Oct. 20, 2019
7:30 p.m.

Festival of South African Dance
Roberts Hall Auditorium 

Direct from South Africa, this ensemble of 20 dancers and musicians present a unique South African story. The Gumboots’ musical is a tale of rural African men who find a way to survive in the goldmines of Johannesburg. The Pantsula dancers showcase South Africa’s vibrant contemporary culture through their revolutionary street dance. This is a ticketed event. No charge for RIC students; for more information contact the box office at 401-456-8144.

Presented by the Performing Arts Series at Rhode Island College​​​

Promising Practices Conferences​​

Page last updated: June 10, 2020

Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion Bylaws – Adopted May 2018

The name of this committee shall be the Rhode Island College Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion Committee (hereinafter, "the Committee” or DDI). This document shall be the Rhode Island College Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion Committee Bylaws (hereinafter, "Committee Bylaws”).

The mission of the Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion Committee is to support Rhode Island College's strategic initiatives on inclusive excellence by acting as a resource to the administration, by advising and identifying actionable outcomes for strengthening diversity, inclusion and equity. 

The purpose of the Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion Committee is to provide leadership, coordination, and recommendations for appropriate actions in furtherance of its commitment in this area. 

Committee Established
There is hereby established a permanent Presidential Committee to be known as the Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion Committee (hereinafter, "the Committee"). 

Committee History
In 1995, Rhode Island College (hereinafter, "the College") designed a comprehensive program that would "bring together advocates, scholars, teachers, and professors, politicians, the public, and students to reflect upon the challenges and opportunities inherent in educating people for life in a democratic and increasingly pluralistic society." This program recognized that society as a whole is characterized by its rich diversity, that this diversity is a basic strength, and that such diversity is expected to increase, both within society and within the College community. As an institution of higher education, the College committed to promoting an understanding of and appreciation for the increasingly diverse backgrounds and beliefs of those who comprise the College community, as well as the larger community of which Rhode Island College is a part. Accordingly, the College found the need for and established an ongoing program to be known as the Rhode Island College Dialogue on Diversity. 

All membership of the Committee shall consist of current Rhode Island College students, faculty and staff. The committee shall reflect the diversity and composition of the Rhode Island College community. 

The Executive Committee of the Committee shall be its two Co-Chairs at least one of whom is a full-time faculty member, a Treasurer, and a Secretary to be formally appointed from among the membership of the Committee in March/April of the spring semester. The Director of the Unity Center shall also serve on the Executive Committee. 
Recommendations for appointments of executive officers shall be made to the President through the Associate Vice President for Community, Equity and Diversity. A member of the Executive Committee shall be an ex-officio member of all sub-committees. 

Positions & Duties
The Co-Chairs shall call and preside over all meetings of the Committee and set agendas.  The Co-chairs shall oversee compliance with the Committee Bylaws. Co-Chairs terms shall be staggered, designating one senior co-chair and one junior co-chair.

The Treasurer shall review the activity of all the Committee’s financial accounts as authorized by the Committee. The Treasurer shall report to the Committee regarding the financial status of the Committee. The Treasurer and the committee Co-Chairs will be signatories and are authorized to sign on behalf of the committee for financial matters. The Treasurer shall perform duties assigned by the Co-Chairs as needed. 

The Secretary with support from a graduate assistant, shall send meeting notices via calendar reminders, keep a record of the proceedings at all meetings and distribute records to the membership. The Secretary shall perform duties assigned by the Co-Chairs as needed. 

The Director of the Unity Center
The current Director of the Unity Center shall be present at Committee meetings and shall assume duties of other executive members in their absence.  The Director shall serve as the liaison to the Community, Equity and Diversity Division. 

All current and former Committee members shall be eligible for nomination as a member of the Executive Committee upon the completion of a minimum of one year as a member of the Committee unless an exception is voted on with a quorum of the committee membership.

Terms/Term Limits
The term for Executive Committee members shall be for two years. Executive Committee members shall serve for no more than three terms or six years.

Membership Selection/Nominations
Membership of the Committee shall consist of all individuals appointed by the President to serve in that capacity. The Executive Committee shall appoint a nominating committee to solicit nominations from the membership and provide recommendations to the office of the President through the Associate Vice President for Community, Equity and Diversity.

Terms/Term Limits
All term years shall coincide with the end of the academic year. Installation of officers and new members shall be made at the annual retreat to be held in May. Members shall serve a two-year term unless an exception is voted on with a quorum of the committee membership. 

Member Duties
All members of the Committee are expected to

  • Promote the mission of the Committee
  • Fulfill the attendance requirement by attending no less than 2 monthly meetings per semester
  • Attend local Committee sponsored events and workshops
  • Serve on sub-committees when necessary
  • Read and abide by the Committee Bylaws

Ex-officio Membership 

Current Unity Center Graduate Assistant
The Current Graduate Assistant in the Unity Center shall serve as a non-voting member of the Committee. Other Graduate Assistants working in conjunction with the Committee as a responsibility of their assistantship shall serve as a non-voting members of the Committee.

AVP of Community Equity and Diversity 

Programming and Events
The Committee shall hold events, programs and workshops that reflect the mission of the Committee. The Committee shall work with other areas of the College and community to co-sponsor and support initiatives that align with the mission of the Committee.  All events shall be open to the Rhode Island College community and the surrounding community when appropriate. 

Meetings & Meeting Procedure
Monthly Meetings
Meetings shall be held at a time and place designated by the Committee and shall be held three to four times each semester unless additional meetings are called by the Executive Committee. The annual retreat shall be held in May.

Special Meetings
Special meetings of the Committee shall be called by the Executive Committee and shall be held at a time and place designated by the Committee. Any special meeting called at which a vote of the Committee is anticipated must be approved by the Executive Committee.  

A quorum of the Committee shall be equal to ten members of the committee; if a quorum is not constituted when a vote is required the vote will revert to the Executive Committee.

Roberts Rules of Order
The current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised shall be the parliamentary authority of the Committee as needed.

Each member of the Committee shall be entitled to cast one vote. Members must be present at meetings to cast a vote. A quorum shall be sought for all meetings requiring a vote.

Sub Committees and Task Forces 
When agenda items require research or further discussion and deliberation, a sub-committee or task force can be established by the Committee. Such sub committees and task forces will include members of the Committee and any additional members from the Rhode Island College community as seems appropriate to the matter under consideration. These working bodies will report back to the Committee. In accordance with the principles of openness, trust and shared commitment to the mission, these working bodies will deliberate and act in an inclusive, participatory fashion and seek consensus. Recognizing that consensus is not always achievable, these sub-committees and task forces will, when necessary, take votes (by secret ballot if requested) and the results of these acts will be reported back to the Committee for further action.
B.   Standing Committees
Standing Committees may be established by a favorable vote of a Committee quorum. 

The Committee is empowered to seek funding for its activities from College and external sources; such efforts shall be coordinated with the President's Office through the Associate Vice President for Community, Equity and Diversity. Increases to the annual budget shall be consistent with established practices of the Budget and Finance Office. The treasurer shall be responsible for coordinating all fiscal matters on the Committee's behalf and compiling budget requests for submission immediately following the annual retreat. Expenditures over $1000.00 must be voted on by a quorum of the Committee. 

Minutes shall be recorded by the Secretary or designee at each Committee meeting and sent out to the membership (at least) two weeks prior to the next meeting. 

Annual Report 
The Committee shall prepare and submit to the President through the Associate Vice President for Community, Equity and Diversity an annual report of activities not later than June 30th of each year. Such report shall include a summary description of all activities and events produced under its auspices, a listing of all members, and the source(s) of all funding and object(s) of all expenditures. The annual report shall be made available to the membership. Following the submission of the annual report, the DDI Executive Committee will request an in-person meeting with the President to discuss the contents of the report exclusively with the Executive Committee.

Removal & Vacancy
Removal of Leadership
Any member of the leadership team may be removed from their position with just cause or for failure to perform duties of the position. Removal shall be by a two-thirds vote of the Committee members present at a Special Meeting of the Committee called for that purpose. Such removal shall be effective immediately.

Removal of a Committee Member
Any Committee member may be removed with just cause by a two-thirds vote of the Committee members present at a Regular or Special Meeting of the Committee. Such removal shall be effective immediately.

Vacancy of a Leadership Position
In the event that a vacancy arises, the Executive Committee shall nominate a current or past member of the Committee to fill the unexpired term, subject to a quorum vote of the Committee. 

Amendments & Reviews 
Periodic Review
The Executive Committee with input from the membership shall review the Bylaws of the Committee no less than once every two years. The Executive Committee may request that the membership create an ad hoc committee to assist with this task. The Executive Committee shall make a recommendation to the Committee regarding modification of the Bylaws, and shall present amendments to the document.

The Bylaws may be amended at any meeting of the Committee at which a quorum exists. Amendments shall be made by a two-thirds vote of those present. Proposed amendments shall be provided to the members of the Committee in either paper or electronic form, prior to the meeting at which a vote on that amendment will occur.

Executive Committee