We are so excited to have you as part of this year's Diversity Leadership Summit! We encourage you check out the summit schedule below and take advantage of all the incredible educational sessions we have to offer. Everything will take place in Merten Hall. Please read the session descriptions for exact room locations and times.
Room: Merten Hall Lobby
The summit welcome will take place in Merten 1201.
We Gon' Be Alright, But That Ain't Alright: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom
Room: Merten 1201
Dr. Bettina L. Love is the William F. Russell Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and the best selling author of We Want To Do More Than Survive. She is also a founding member of the Task Force that launched the program In Her Hands, distributing more than $15 million to Black women living Georgia. Dr. Love is a sought-after public speaker on a range of topics, including abolitionist teaching, ant-racism, Hip Hop education, Black girlhood, queer youth, educational reparations, and art-based education to foster youth civic engagement.
11:30am-12:20pm: Breakout Session #1
Session Presenter: Dr. Bettina L. Love
Room: Merten 1202
Session Presenter: Taylor Sprague
Session Room: Merten 1204
Seeking simplicity, we organize the world into dichotomous categories. But what happens when our reality is not so simple? As leaders, we are presented with opportunities to frame thinking, introduce alternative perspectives, and encourage actions that meet the complex needs of our society. This interactive session will ask participants to question their assumptions and challenge themselves to think beyond the binary. The session will open with an activity followed by a brief presentation, which will provide an overview of how, and why, gender has been socially divided into two distinct categories before introducing evidence that complicates that categorization. Following the presentation, participants will be engaged in a dialogue about how approaching the world with an expanded perspective on seemingly binary systems can inspire creative thinking, breed innovation, and foster more inclusive environments. Participants will leave with a willingness to complicate their own perspectives, tools to advocate for non-binary and gender non-conforming communities, and practical tips for recognizing and challenging binary thinking in others. Equipped with these resources, participants will walk away as more confident and inclusive leaders.
Session Presenter: Jay LaBord
Session Room: Merten 1203
My presentation titled, “There’s Beauty in the Struggle” is centered around leadership in marginalized communities in America and how these leaders have taken their experiences and transformed them into servant leadership for the sake of their communities. It illustrates the ability to originate from an environment conducive to negative experiences and find ways in which to channel the feelings they hold into motivation to become leaders in their respective communities. It relates to values of the Diversity Leadership Summit by identifying the various cultures affected by marginalization in America that participants could belong to and allowing the participants to take a glance (and empathize) into the various hardships that marginalized communities face while also demonstrating an understanding of ways to create positive impact despite the situation. The presentation promotes engaging in positive social advocacy for marginalized communities in America. The presentation is interactive-based that will include a formal PowerPoint presentation, group discussions, and a group activity, if time allows. The session will begin with a brief introduction of who I am and why I considered myself a leader. It will transition into the PowerPoint presentation that begins with an introduction of the topic and an overview of what the presentation entails. From there, we will get into the presentation that kicks off with a group discussion about defining leadership in our own words. Throughout the presentation, I will be utilizing Mentimeter to facilitate group discussion about various topics such as defining leadership and marginalization in America. Following the group discussion, we will move into talking about various leaders of marginalized communities and how marginalization takes place in America. Also embedded within the presentation will be visual aids such as pictures of leaders of marginalized communities and short funny video clips (no more than 2-3 that last no longer than 3-4mins maximum) that make light of the topic while working to increase understanding. After that, we will move into understanding “the struggle” (aka one’s life experiences, negative or positive) and how to use “the struggle” to become a motivating factor in becoming a beacon of leadership in one’s community. The presentation is designed to be extremely interactive to create an environment of shared learning and understanding of how each other’s own life experiences can be used to help them become leaders in any marginalized communities they may be a part of.
Session Presenter: Caroline Simpson and Shyama Kuver
Session Room: Merten 3300
Through exercises and authentic discussion, participants will learn about the concept of intersectionality and its history as a framework for diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice. Using identity development exercises students will learn about how intersectionality relates to their own identities and everyday experiences. Facilitators will support participants through meaningful dialogue on how to incorporate intersectional frameworks to support us in leading with empathy and an inclusive mindset.
Lunch will take place in Merten Room 1201.
Room: Merten 1202
The meet and greet with Dr. Love will be for raffle recipients only.
1:00pm-1:50pm: Breakout Session #2
Session Presenter: Austin Deray
Session Room: Merten 1202
While Sept. 11, 2001 changed the world for our global society, Middle Eastern/North African (MENA) or Southwest Asian/North African (SWANA) communities experienced the change more than most, especially within the Global North and the US specifically. This ethnic community went from being near white, the idealized minority, to the extreme other; a peer and fellow in the Children of Abraham communities to the barbaric third world brother. Due to Islamic traditions and cultural customs - whether Maghreb, Khaleeji, Irani/Persian, Turk, Kurd, Azerbaijan, Afghan - these “near east” societies have always been in contact and conversation with Europe and the Global North, but always on the outside. This session will take attendees through the immigrant experience from MENA/SWANA communities in the US and how students and community members have collected, through student organizing and coalition building, to not only find support for their communities, but also begin to organize for the rights and place in the US, fighting, Xenophobia and Islamophobia.
2:00pm-2:50pm: Breakout Session #3
Session Presenters: Trinity Battle, Pearl Renwick, Alaina Ruffin
Session Room: Merten 1202
Facilitators are all executive officers of George Mason University’s Chapter of NAACP. Traditionally, the Social Justice Chair of the NAACP hosts an event called “Same Race Different Cultures” aimed to open conversations about intersectionality across the African Diaspora. Since the event cannot go on as it has in the past, the facilitators believe it to be a rich opportunity to bring elements that would have been in SRDC to the Leadership Summit. The workshop would consist of two main activities: The Mask Activity and The Superhero Activity. The Mask Activity involves each participant having a white, plastic mask and permanent markers. The ultimate goal is to interrogate identity. Participants will be tasked with thinking about, and then writing on the masks, which attributes and characteristics make up who they are and, will be encouraged to include the parts of them that are most and least obvious. This will display the “masks” we all wear as people of intersectional identities. In recognizing each other’s masks, this will aim to generate empathy and understanding — two important things you need as a leader. The discussion to follow the Mask Activity will set us up nicely for the next activity. For The Superhero Activity, participants would create a hero that would be a response to a social or political issue they are passionate about. For example, if a participant cares about the environment, they might create a hero that is motivated by green efforts. In doing so, participants can identify and assess issues they care about and picture a situation where they are leading some kind of change. While imagination is a big part of the activity, real work is not divorced from imaginative thinking. The activity would validate the use of fantasy and allow participants to dream freely of the kind of world they want to live in, as well as consider through discussion how this world could be achieved. A benefit to this activity is seeing similarities in the room and understanding where shared interests and passions lie. Individuals may realize they have a lot in common with the people they share space with and could form connections based on shared interests. By getting to know each other and their “masks,” it will be interesting to hear what kind of heroes are created. Depending on the number of people who show up, this workshop could take between an hour and an hour and a half. Facilitators will encourage vocal participants and allow for perspectives and mindsets to be shared so an appropriate amount of tine should be allotted for everyone to feel seen and heard. Materials needed would be white, plastic face masks; permanent markers, and extra pens. The Superhero Activity will be a written one and the facilitators will provide hard copies.
Session Presenters: Julie Choe Kim
Session Room: Merten 1204
Conversations about diversity, inclusion, and antiracism in the U.S. often overlook or exclude the histories and experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). This dynamic of exclusion can also be seen at Mason. In this session, you will learn how AAPIs have been positioned in U.S. racial politics historically, how AAPI activists forged a collective identity and coalitions to advance justice, and how you can claim your own space in ongoing dialogues about antiracism and diversity at Mason and nationally. You will have the opportunity to reflect on your own identities and stories and find connections with the generations that came before us in order to amplify your own voice as a leader.
Session Presenters: David Corwin, Cam Nixon and Casey Klemmer
Session Room: Merten 1203
Due to recent legislation on trans rights at state levels, former President Trump’s video on his position on trans issues, debates on the use of the term Latinx, current House of Representatives proposals on restrictions on LGBTQ+ literacy for youth, and the national conversations about rights for trans youth and banned books, a conversation about friendships and their radicality needs to be had. Another layer to the discussion about LGBTQ+ rights is that chosen family is arguably has been called into question because politicians are surveilling how LGBTQ+ folx interact with each other. Since friendships have been such a critical piece of this community’s history and activism, it is important to discuss how these types of relationships advocate for change in our current climate. Furthermore, friendships are important for wellbeing and queer joy as these communities navigate these national challenges. This session will be a facilitated discussion that looks out how politics affects queer friendships and how cisgender and heterosexual people can be allies for these relationships.
Session Presenter: Nicole Brandt
Session Room: Merten 3300
Amplify your Identity explores leadership style types through engagement in dialogue focused on intrapersonal identification facilitated by Nicole and Sam of the LEAD Office. Each participant will be guided to align their values and experiences with everyday concepts factored into their role in the community. Whether you choose to be a leader, activist, mentor, or teacher, each role is significant to community growth. You may discover parts of your identity you are unsure of, and this will help one grasp leadership concepts they did not know they had. Within this workshop, we will identify traits found within ourselves and follow along a journey further into self-exploration across many thresholds. This workshop aims to provide a safe space to share your experiences with peer groups and open dialogue based on sharing's of your choosing. As a group, we will work on an activity that will think outside the social norms. Exploring this will allow participants to actively engage with their identities on a more connecting and hopefully rewarding level. Many individuals often see a leader as someone in a position of power. In respect to oneself, they would not put leader on their resume or describe themselves as one. We will define leadership as not always being an assigned role. Anyone can and will bring invaluable experiences unique to any event you are involved in. In Amplify your Identity, our goal is to dissolve the concept of viewing leaders in one frame of reference.