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Social Justice Series

Following the success of our inaugural Social Justice Series last year, OCC has returned with a new lineup of events for the 2023 academic year. This year our presentations include topics relating to mental health awareness, xenophobia, food insecurity, feminism, and more!

For more information, please contact Charlotte Langeveld at

OCC Accessibility Statement

“Ocean County College complies with federal and state disability laws and makes reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities. If you have a disability and require reasonable accommodations to fully participate in this event (captioning, ASL interpreter, large or electronic print) please contact Kristyn Stout at  All requests for accommodations must be received 5 business days prior to the event.”

2023 Event Schedule

Join us for a lecture by Dr. Tao Dumas titled, Rights, Redactions, and Responsibility: The 1st Amendment Freedom of Speech and Social Media

Monday, April 17, 2023, from 9:30 am, GATE (Building 101, Room 104)

Dr, Dumas has many accolades, including working as an associate professor in several prelaw courses at TCNJ and conducting research projects on how lawyers shape and work within the legal system.

This event is sponsored by The Governmental Affairs Institute

Questions? Contact Jason Ghibesi at

The Social Justice Series is presented through the collaboration of OCC’s Foundation, Student Life, the School of Arts and Humanities, the School of Business and Social Sciences, EOF, the Library, and the Grunin Center. For more information, please contact Charlotte Langeveld at

Previous Season

In September 2020, several Ocean County College departments launched a year-long series of monthly interactive events, films, and lectures dealing with social justice issues — race, hunger, immigration, environmental change, gender and LGBTQ concerns, and more.

To date, the Social Justice Series has included a keynote presentation by award-winning actress and author Anna Deveare Smith (West Wing, Nurse Jackie, Black-ish) who addressed the vulnerability of youth, inequality, the criminal justice system, and contemporary activism; screenings and workshops of the films 13th, about the 13th Amendment, and Color of Fear, stories of eight men of color and their experiences, and several timely events in October.

On October 14, Assistant Dean Veronica Guevara-Lovgren and College Lecturer IIs, Samantha Glassford and Stephen Downey led an Immigration Panel with OCC students featuring faculty and leaders from New Jersey immigration rights organizations and a discussion of the experiences of Dreamers from around the region. A documentary on immigration by a recent OCC graduate also was screened and discussed.

Dr. Henry Jackson presented Voting Rights: A Social Justice Perspective on October 23, in which he explored the difference between the right to vote and the ability to vote, focusing on the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th amendments and the Civil Rights Act of 1965.

Shakespeare Live! was presented on October 27 by College Lecturer IIs Ameer Sohrawardy and Paul Chalakani via WebEx for OCC students and local high school students. They featured the trial scene from Act 1, Scene 3 of Othello. After the performance, the students took part in a Q&A session with the actors and director.

This Social Justice Series enjoyed a successful year, in spite of having to defer in-person elements of the programming due to the pandemic. The programming was so popular, an exciting new line-up — interactive, in-person (as well as virtual) — is being prepared for the 2021-22 season including films, panel discussions, speakers, theater, dance, and poetry events.

A Conversation with Mia Hamm

Wednesday, March 8, 2023, from 6:00 pm, Grunin Center, Main Stage

After 17 years, two World Championships, two Olympic Gold Medals, and near unparalleled success as a marketing icon, Mia Hamm retired from professional soccer in 2004 as not only the best women’s soccer player in history but also as one of the most important and recognizable female figures in the history of the sport. Hailed by ESPN as the greatest female athlete of the past 40 years, Mia was the youngest woman to ever appear in a match for the US Senior Squad at just 15 years old in 1987. Mia has continued to serve as an inspiration to young girls looking to rise to the pinnacle of the sporting world. She has served as an outspoken advocate for Title IX and gender equality across sporting lines. Mia is also a part owner of the MLS’ Los Angeles Football Club and the expansion franchise, Angel FC of the NWSL.

A Discussion About Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice With Dr. Vernon Smith

Thursday, February 9, 2023, 11:00 am, Gateway Building, Room 104, Lecture Hall

Dr. Vernon Smith is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education and former Program Director for Educational Counseling at Monmouth University. He currently serves as the Assistant Director for the Social Justice Academy. He has leadership experience in Student Affairs, having served as the Director of Counseling and Health Services and the Director of Housing and Residential Life. Dr. Smith’s research centers around diversity, inclusion, and social justice advocacy. He has presented scholarly papers at international, national, state, and local conferences on topics such as Parent involvement factors from the perspectives of academically successful Black male college students; Exploring best practices for effectively serving and retaining African American college students impacted by trauma; Student retention; Family influence on student development; and the Impact of cultural trauma on African Americans. Dr. Smith currently serves as Monmouth University representative for the United Nations Department of Global Communication.

This is an exciting event that will include a presentation and audience discussion about issues focused on creating a free environment where students and professors with different viewpoints can express themselves.

Claudia Rankine, Virtual Poetry Reading

February 22, 2023, at 12:30

Please join us for a virtual poetry reading and conversation with award-winning poet, essayist, and multimedia artist, Claudia Rankine.

“Claudia Rankine is a Jamaican-born American poet, playwright, educator, and multimedia artist whose work often reflected a moral vision that deplored racism and perpetuated the call for social justice. She envisioned her craft as a means to create something vivid, intimate, and transparent.”

“Claudia Rankine is the author of six collections of poetry, including Just Us: An American Conversation, Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; three plays including HELP, which premiered in March of 2020 at The Shed, NYC, The White Card, which premiered in February 2018 (ArtsEmerson/ American Repertory Theater) and was published by Graywolf Press in 2019, and Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; as well as numerous video collaborations. She is also the co-editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind (FENCE, 2015). In 2016, she co-founded The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII).”

A Discussion About Food Insecurity with Clancy Harrison

Monday, October 10, 2022 from 11:00am in Gateway Bldg. Room 101, Lecture Hall

Join us at this presentation to learn more about food insecurity, the stigma surrounding it, and ways we can all work together to address the problem.  Clancy Harrison is an internationally-renowned keynote speaker, food equity advocate, founder of the Food Dignity® Movement, TV/Media contributor, host of The Food Dignity® Podcast, and registered dietitian.  Her wise, heartfelt, and well-researched presentations challenge the judgments that stand in the way of improving everyone’s access to nourishing food.  Her message gives rise to refreshingly simple strategies for how audiences can put her ideas for food equity (or what she call Food Dignity®) into action to create real and lasting change.

“Shakespeare’s Whistle Blowers: Ladies First!”

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 from 11:00am in Gateway Bldg. Room 104

This is an exciting event that will use film and audience participation to connect the most famous writer in the English language to contemporary dilemmas of sexual harassment.  We will watch scenes from “All’s Well That Ends Well” and envision how women today can form alliances with one another, empower themselves and confront their Harassers.

Film Series “The Social Dilemma”

Thursday, November 17, 2022 from 11:00 am, Technology Building, Room 115

The documentary examines how social media platforms control us as individuals and society as a whole.  It contends how these platforms contribute to political disinformation and even extremist groups.  It showcases how being on social media affects your mental and physical health, and what we can do to make an effective change.

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