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Emerson community embraces first annual Diversity Week

Jamie Loftus '14 and Bridgit Brown
April 01, 2011

gwendolyn bates, filmmaker daphne valerius, gloria noronha

Associate Vice President of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Gwendolyn Bates (far left), filmmaker Daphne Valerius MA '06, and the Office's program coordinator Gloria Noronha.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion held its first campus-wide Diversity Week from March 28 to April 1. Diversity Week at Emerson College was a celebration of the importance of diversity and identity in higher education, in the workplace, in the community, and in the global arena.   

The week was also a time to reflect on and celebrate the power of diversity and inclusion at Emerson. Activities included dialogues on diversity and inclusion, film screenings and discussions, and interactive theater productions. Emersonians attended the Diversity Week Kick-Off Luncheon in the Charles Beard Room on March 28.

Among the many offerings were a screening of the film 3 Americas, directed by VMA Associate Professor Cristina Kotz-Cornejo, and three theater workshops in the Bordy Theater, all sporting different themes: diversity and inclusion, domestic-violence awareness, and diversity and inclusion on the Emerson campus. In addition, the film People Like Us: Social Class in America was presented in the Bright Family Screening Room, and director Daphne Valerius, MA ’06, participated in a question and answer session after a showing of her film The Souls of Black Girls

Emerson faculty held a forum on diversity, specifically focusing on turning “difficult moments into teachable moments.” Facilitated by Assistant Professor Christina Marín, more than two dozen faculty members participated in an intense discussion that began with an engaging labeling game that Marín described as a metaphor for how people operate in the real world. “One of the things I hope we can all recognize in this room,” said Marín, “is to start planting seeds of dialogue, not just here among the faculty, but in our classroom. Then maybe we can eventually harvest a working strategy.” 

Diversity Week wrapped up with a display of the Clothesline Project at the Campus Center. The interactive project provided an opportunity for all to share testimonials of personal experiences with violence.

When asked to share her thoughts about the week, Gloria Noronha, program coordinator for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, said, “I think [Diversity Week], being campus-wide and serving faculty, staff, and students, gave us the ability to have an interchange of ideas happen in a way that worked. People were engaged, and that made it a very successful week for me.”

In addition to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Emerson sorority Kappa Gamma Chi and the Department of Visual Media Arts also collaborated on making the week a success.