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15th Annual Diversity Matters Film & Lecture Series

Diversity Matters Film & Lecture Series

Diversity Matters Film & Lecture Series

The Diversity Matters Film & Lecture Series began in 2006. Approximately nine presentations annually are offered across MCC campuses and centers. Discussion leaders are identified for the films.

Participation for all programs is free and open to the public.
Contact or 531-622-2253 for more information.

VIDEO & DISCUSSION: "Rigged: The Voter Suppression Playbook"

(70 min) Discussion led by Mac Heller, J.D., executive producer, graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School

Narrated by Jeffrey Wright, "Rigged" chronicles how our right to vote is being undercut by a decade of dirty tricks, including the partisan use of gerrymandering and voter purges, and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court. The film captures real-time voter purges in North Carolina and voter intimidation in Texas.


Video & Discussion: "Still Waters"

(Bullfrog Films-79 minutes)

Discussion led by Naomi Mardock Uman, director of Faculty Development, Metropolitan Community College

A remarkable one-room school in Bushwick, Brooklyn NYC is facing a tough year. It’s the run up to the US presidential election and anti-Latino rhetoric is being ramped up - an extra source of tension for a hard-pressed Hispanic community already threatened by gentrification, rising rents and eviction. The school, Still Waters in a Storm, is the creation of Yale graduate, Stephen Haff, a passionate critic of mainstream education, which he feels, stigmatizes the already disadvantaged. He believes passionately in the joy of learning without tests and the innate creativity of children and insists that the school is free to attend. It survives precariously on the thinnest of shoestrings. When regular school finishes, Still Waters starts working. Haff and his group of 30 or 40 children explore, with the help of illustrious guest writers like Zadie Smith and Booker Prizewinner Peter Carey, the power of storytelling, creativity and community. Filmed over a year, "Still Waters" follows this compelling man, his philosophy, the spirit of the children who attend and the dreams and fears of the immigrant Hispanic community to which they belong.


LECTURE: What Genealogies Reveal: Slavery, Race and the Making of American Gynecology

By Deirdre Cooper Owens, Ph.D., Charles and Linda Wilson, professor in the History of Medicine, director, Humanities in Medicine History, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

In this talk, historian Deirdre Cooper Owens reveals the United States’ genealogical origins regarding not only modern gynecology, but also the history of reproductive medicine. She explains how the institution of U.S. slavery was directly linked to the creation of reproductive medicine in the country. Dr. Cooper Owens provides context for how and why physicians denied black women their full humanity, yet valued them as “medical superbodies,” highly suited for experimentation. Engaging with 19th-century ideas about so-called racial difference, Dr. Cooper Owens also sheds light on the contemporary legacy of medical racism.

DATE: Monday, Nov. 16    
TIME: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. CST
LOCATION: Virtual presentation
Zoom link for "What Genealogies Reveal..."

LECTURE: Removal of Confederate Symbols in the U.S.

D’Andra Orey, Ph.D., professor of Political Science, Jackson State University, and Erin Shirley Orey, project manager III - University of Mississippi Medical Center

The national protest movement 2020 that erupted in the wake of George Floyd's death rekindled a fire under the cultural tinderbox known as the American Confederacy. Public officials, military leaders and sports executives made moves to take down Confederate statues and ban the Confederate flag, iconography that remains inextricably linked to the Southern cause that launched the Civil War: the preservation of a way of life anchored to slavery. Dr. Orey discusses events that led to removal of confederate symbols, significant to his research on physiological and emotional impacts of racially-charged events on the well-being of African Americans. Erin Shirley Orey complements the presentation with personal family history of efforts to remove confederate symbols.

Date: Monday, Dec. 14

Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. CST

Location: Virtual presentation
Zoom link for "Removal of Confederate Symbols in the U.S."

LECTURE: An American In Samoa: Laika Lewis’ Adventures in Peacekeeping Growing up in North Omaha

Laika Lewis learned to volunteer from her mother who raised her children to care about their community. After graduating from Duchesne Academy and then Grinnell College in Iowa, Lewis joined the Peace Corps and continued her community impact volunteering for two years in Samoa. Her next journey was delayed by transportation challenges of the pandemic, but will lead her to a position as a site coordinator and program manager at Central Texas College at the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Egypt. Experience Lewis’s story of empathy, that the world is better off when people work to understand one another.

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 16

Time: 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. CST

Location: Zoom presentation
Zoom link for "An American in Samoa..."

LECTURE: Historical Trauma and ICWA Training

Misty Frazier, executive director, Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Coalition, Inc.

Genocide. Slavery. Forced relocation. Destruction of cultural practices. These experiences, shared by communities, can result in cumulative emotional and psychological wounds that are carried across generations. Researchers and practitioners call this concept historical trauma. Historical trauma is not just about what happened in the past. It's about what's still happening. Frazier discusses how historical trauma has affected the Indian Child Welfare Act, how it continues to affect American Indian/Alaska Native families and what can be done about historical trauma.

Date: Wednesday, Jan. 20

Time: 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. CST

Location: Zoom presentation
Zoom link for "Historical Trauma and ICWA Training"


the power of engagement beyond woman's story


Adjoa B. Asamoah, National advisor for black engagement for the Biden-Harris campaign, Black Engagement Director for the 59th Presidential Inauguration

Adjoa B. Asamoah is a seasoned executive, award-winning impact strategist, international influencer, and leading authority on racial equity, with expertise in organizational and leadership development, leveraging cultural intelligence and behavioral psychology to create meaningful systems change. She was tapped by the Biden-Harris campaign to serve as the National Advisor for Black Engagement, and has served as a trusted advisor to numerous federal, state, and local officials. She is highly sought after to develop diverse coalitions, and liaise between political entities, corporations, and civil rights organizations. As a foremost thought leader and policy architect, she has spearheaded legislative victories to legally establish the nation’s first Office on African American Affairs, and to introduce and pass the historic anti-hair discrimination CROWN Act. Ultimately, Adjoa is the go-to change agent to mobilize leaders and communities for thoughtful, collective social and political action.

Adjoa chairs the Democratic National Committee’s African American Leadership Council, and has worked on several bi-partisan initiatives--including training women across the political ideological spectrum at American University’s Women & Politics Institute. Her cultural capital and influential global network have resulted in her being tapped by media companies like BET and SiriusXM to serve as a guest host, and her work can be viewed on radio, tv, and in print. She was a teaching assistant at Temple University, and served as an adjunct professor at Rowan University. As faculty, she has taught courses in both Psychology and African American Studies departments.

She has provided subject matter expertise as an appointee to numerous national commissions, committees, boards, think tanks, and advisory councils for notable organizations, including NAACP, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Incorporated. She has been appointed by multiple DC superintendents to the federally-mandated State Title I Committee of Practitioners, and she has been elected as chair for four consecutive years. DC’s mayor appointed Adjoa to be her senior policy advisor managing the equity portfolio, and to the Commission on African American Affairs—serving as the highest-ranking elected member.

She earned undergraduate degrees in Psychology and African American Studies, and a master’s degree in Educational Psychology from Temple University; a post-master’s certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from St. Joseph’s University; and she holds multiple licenses, including one as a behavior specialist. Adjoa was an international student at the University of Ghana and is an alumna of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University. She completed the UPENN Equity Institute for Doctoral Students at the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education, and is a doctoral candidate in Leadership (Administration and Policy) at The George Washington University.

Date: Tuesday, March 23

Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. CDT

Location: Zoom presentation
Zoom link for The Power of Engagement Beyound voting...One Woman's Story

VIDEO & DISCUSSION: "Food Coop" (Bullfrog Films = 97 minutes)

Discussion led by Rev. Dr. Heber Brown III, Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD

The Most Successful Supermarket in New York City Has Zero Customers and 17,000 Workers. Every day in Brooklyn, hundreds of busy New Yorkers walk past Whole Foods or dozens of other grocery stores promoting natural and organic foods to work at a small supermarket that does no marketing and never holds sales—and yet makes more money per square foot than any other grocery store in New York City . The secret of the Park Slope Food Coop’s more than 40 years of success is simple: to shop there, all 17,000 members—rich and poor, old and young, from every culture and race in the city—have to put in three hours a month of work.

Date: Wednesday, March 31

Time: noon - 1:45 p.m. CDT

Location: Zoom presentation

Zoom link for "Food Coop"

VIDEO & discussion: "This is Home: A Refugee Story"

(Bullfrog Films—91 minutes)
THIS IS HOME is an intimate portrait of four Syrian refugee families arriving in America and struggling to find their footing. Displaced from their homes and separated from loved ones, they are given eight months of assistance from the International Rescue Committee to become self-sufficient. As they learn to adapt to challenges, including the newly imposed travel ban, their strength and resilience are tested. It is a universal story, highlighted by humor and heartbreak, about what it’s like to start over, no matter the obstacles.

Date:Thursday, April 8 (during International Fair)

Time: 4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. CDT
Location: Zoom presentation
Zoom link for "This is Home: A Refugee Story"

Additional International/Intercultural Education virtual programming can be found on YouTube.

ACCOMODATIONS:  Audience members requiring accommodations due to a disability must contact Barbara Velazquez,, 531-622-2253 at least two weeks prior to the program.‚Äč