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NEWS & EVENTS

September 24, 2020

Press Release — OCC Presents Year-Long Social Justice Series

protesters with their fists raised

TOMS RIVER, NJ — Ocean County College will present a year-long series of interactive events, films and lectures dealing with social justice issues, beginning September 24. Topics include race, hunger, immigration, environmental change, gender and LGBTQ concerns, and more.

The Social Justice Series was first planned prior to the campus shut-down due to COVID-19, and the emphasis at that time was on providing various means for students (and community members) to interact with others — through hands-on events that would provide a lot of interpersonal interaction. OCC’s Foundation, Student Life, the School of Arts and Humanities and the School of Business & Social Sciences, Center for Access and Equity, the Library and the Grunin Center all collaborated to create this series.

“We couldn’t anticipate the pandemic, so we adapted and tried our best to ensure every event is still going to be as interactive as possible,” says Heidi Sheridan, dean of Arts & Humanities at Ocean County College. To that end, there will be a dance master class, film showings followed by Q&A sessions, panel discussions, poetry readings and workshops. Everything will include audience participation.

The keynote presenter is award-winning actress and author Anna Deveare Smith (West Wing, Nurse Jackie, Black-ish). Deveare Smith will appear virtually on November 5 and in person on April 1, 2021.

According to her website, (http://www.annadeaveresmith.org/) Anna Deavere Smith “looks at contemporary issues from multiple viewpoints and combines the journalistic technique of interviewing her subjects with the art of interpreting their words through performance.” Among the topics she addresses in her presentations are the vulnerability of youth, inequality, the criminal justice system and contemporary activism.

Watch Anna Deavere Smith’s TEDTalk to learn more about her work.

This event is sponsored by the Blauvelt Speakers’ Series, which is funded in part by the generosity of the late Bradford Thomas & Eleanor G. Blauvelt and The Wintrode Family Foundation.

“I believe it’s important to look at the issues of the day through the lens of the arts,” says Dean Sheridan. “So much of art, music and literature is about what is happening in the here and now, as artists react to what is happening in the world. The way different disciplines in the humanities create art, or even discussion, can help shed different light on social issues.”

The format for the series — monthly programming in various disciplines with each event focusing on an issue of social justice in the world today — came out of planning sessions in which Sheridan asked her team, “What can we do for our students, to not only help raise donations for Fulfill (formerly Ocean/Monmouth Food Bank), but also to share all kinds of information on current issues with our campus community and the community at large?”

Sheridan’s team planned a unique interactive event, Canstruction, for January that was to last throughout the spring 2021 semester and is currently set to begin later in the semester.

Canstruction combines an art and design challenge with the goal of donating canned goods to a local food bank at the end of the semester. The project challenges students to get creative and produce artistic sculptures out of canned goods on campus.

All events are open to the public (registration is not required) and will be presented virtually via WebEx. Links to each program are posted on OCC’s website https://www.ocean.edu/social-justice-series/.

For more information, visit https://www.ocean.edu/social-justice-series/ or contact Dean Heidi Sheridan at hsheridan@ocean.edu.

EVENTS

Film Screening & Workshop – 13th

Thursday, September 24 at 11 a.m.

College Lecturer II Jason Molloy will host a film screening and workshop on the film 13th on September 24 at 11 a.m. This documentary by Ava DuVernay demonstrates how a clause in the 13th Amendment has essentially allowed slavery to continue in the United States through mass incarceration. It examines injustices that are typically held against people of color through voter suppression, treatment of prisoners and harsh sentences.

Join the event

Immigration Panel with OCC Students

Wednesday, October 14 at 3:30 p.m.

This panel, led by Assistant Dean Guevara-Lovgren and College Lecturer II Samantha Glassford, will center on the experiences of Dreamers living across the county and state. The discussion will include a short documentary on immigration by a recent OCC graduate to help dispel myths about immigrants and immigration. The panel will include faculty and leaders from immigration rights organizations from across the state to share how we can support Dreamers on campus and through public policy.

Join the event

Visiting Writers — Anna Deavere Smith

Virtual on Nov 5 at 11 a.m.

As a part of the Visiting Writers Series. Actress, playwright, teacher and author, Anna Deavere Smith, will visit the OCC campus. According to her website, Anna Deavere Smith “looks at contemporary issues from multiple viewpoints and combines the journalistic technique of interviewing her subjects with the art of interpreting their words through performance.” Among the topics she addresses in her presentations are the vulnerability of youth, inequality, the criminal justice system and contemporary activism.

Watch Anna Deavere Smith’s TedTalk and learn more about her work.

This event is sponsored by the Blauvelt Speakers’ Series. The Blauvelt Speaker Series is funded in part by the generosity of the late Bradford Thomas & Eleanor G. Blauvelt and The Wintrode Family Foundation.

Register Here

Film Screening: Color of Fear

December 2 at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

December’s social justice event will feature a screening of the 1994 film, Color of Fear, directed by Lee Mun Wah. Mr. Wah’s film work focuses on the experiences of difference, and earlier films include, If These Halls Could Talk (2014) and Last Chance for Eden (2003).

Color of Fear highlights the personal stories of eight men and their experiences of being of color, of being other, and of privilege and whiteness in America. The dialogue is raw and honest, allowing viewers an opportunity to understand the politics of color. Watchers will appreciate that while the film is 26 years old — the stories are perhaps more relevant in 2020. Color of Fear is used in diversity training.

Jason Molloy, lecturer in English and Literature will moderate.

Laura F. Rickards, director and Ana P. DeNise, assistant director of the Center for Access and Equity, will host this event.

11:00 a.m. Screening

7:00 p.m. Screening

Canstruction (semester-long event)

This semester-long project combines an amazing art and design challenge with an end goal of donating canned goods to a local food bank. The project challenges students to create artistic sculptures from canned goods. Following the creation and display of this artwork, the canned goods are donated to a local food bank. College lecturers, Dr. Margaret Megan, Kristyn Stout, and Heather Sciarappa along with Student Life staff will lead this effort. Late spring 2021.

Learn More

Ashani Mufuko – Dance Economic Lecture

March 3 from 10 a.m. to noon

Ashani Mufuko helps small business owners, artists, entrepreneurs and global corporations build a more powerful and profitable online brand that celebrates diversity, values inclusion and equity, and attracts your ideal customers online, and in real life! Ashani brings a no-nonsense, expert-level approach to all things digital marketing, online branding and anti-racism. Ashani is the founder of several online educational training programs including; Finance Your Dance Academy, Anti-Racism School Is In Session™, and Video Mastery Academy.

She will lead a workshop from her Anti-Racism School Is In Session™, an educational training series to educate, inform, and illuminate issues around racism in America, specifically for the purpose of guiding Americans on their journey of anti-racism.

Learn more about Ashani’s online programs, and consulting services on her website.

Film Screening – Hidden Figures

March 12 at 11 a.m.

As a part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the movie Hidden Figures will be shown in the Larson Student Center. The film, based on the nonfiction book of the same name, follows the work of black female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race. The film highlights the segregation, racism and sexism faced by these pioneering women. Christine O’Neill and Donna Rosinski-Kauz will host this event.

Join the event

Visiting Writers – Anna Deavere Smith

April 1 at 12:30 p.m. – Live

As a part of the Visiting Writers Series. Actress, playwright, teacher and author, Anna Deavere Smith, will visit OCC’s campus. According to her website, Anna Deavere Smith “looks at contemporary issues from multiple viewpoints and combines the journalistic technique of interviewing her subjects with the art of interpreting their words through performance.” Among the topics she addresses in her presentations are the vulnerability of youth, inequality, the criminal justice system and contemporary activism.

Watch Anna Deavere Smith’s TEDTalk and learn more about her work.

This event is sponsored by the Blauvelt Speakers’ Series, which is funded in part by the generosity of the late Bradford Thomas & Eleanor G. Blauvelt and The Wintrode Family Foundation.

Olivia Gatwood – Social Justice Poet

April 14 at 11 a.m.

OCC’s annual Poetry Festival will feature poet Olivia Gatwood, the author of Life of the Party, a dazzling debut collection of raw and explosive poems about growing up in a sexist, sensationalized world, from a thrilling new feminist voice.

The event will feature a performance and discussion with Olivia Gatwood.

Earth Day Film Screening – Tomorrow

April 22 at 9:30 a.m.

College Lecturer II Jason Molloy will host the screening of Tomorrow, a 2015 French documentary film that addresses climate change and looks at possible solutions and actions to address the issues facing this planet. The film addresses the areas of agriculture, energy, economy, democracy and education.

Join the event

Nimbus Dance

April 24

The Nimbus Dance Company will come to the Grunin Center on April 24 to perform Dance Speaks Out: Lynchtown/Thistown. They will also be working with the Ocean County College dance students to create a piece in response to this work.

Media Contact

Brenda Lange
blange@ocean.edu
732-255-0400 ext. 2308

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