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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 2021-2022 academic year. This year our presentations include topics relating to environmental change, mental health awareness, the criminal justice system, feminism, LGTBQ rights, and more!

For more information, please contact Dean Heidi Sheridan 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.”

2021 – 2022 Event Schedule


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. For more information on Canstruction, visit

Clubs and organizations wishing to participate in this activity should contact

Rhapsody in Black
February 9 at 7:30 pm in the Grunin Center

Written and performed by LeLand Gantt and developed at NYC’s Actors Studio by Estelle Parsons, Rhapsody in Black is a one-man show that explores LeLand’s personal journey to understand and eventually transcend racism in America. We follow his life story — from an
underprivileged childhood in the ghettos of McKeesport, Pennsylvania to teenage experiments with crime and drugs to scholastic achievement and an acting career that land adult LeLand in situations where he is virtually the only African-American in the room.

His efforts to cope with the various psychological effects of consistently being marked “The Other” is recounted in remarkable and exquisitely moving detail, guaranteed to leave lasting impressions. Multiple elements combine to give Rhapsody its super-powered emotional punch, many of them concentrated in the incredible persona of its star.

Charming, self-deprecatingly funny, linguistically awesome, LeLand Gantt imbues every word that falls from his mouth with all the passion and poignancy of a preacher speaking the Gospel. This is partly because he’s confronting heavy subjects, but mostly because he believes so firmly in his message that it’s impossible for it to emerge any other way. In his own words, “Objective truth strikes a chord.”

A school-time performance is also available at 11:00 am. For more information and to book your group, contact Jaclyn Wood at the Grunin Center for the Arts: 732-255-0400 ext. 2487 or

Tickets will be sold in socially distanced pods. Visit Rhapsody in Black to buy tickets.

*Please note that this show explores the topic of racism, and includes sensitive and difficult situations and language.

Film Series – The Big Short
February 18 at 11:00 am in Tech (Bldg. #25) Room 115

The 2015 film follows a group of investors as they bet against the US mortgage market in 2006-2007 to discover the flaws and corruption in the market. The film is noted for its unconventional techniques employed to explain financial instruments. Additionally, the film addresses equity, equality, and ethics as they relate to the housing crash of 2007. College Lecturer II, Jason Molloy will host the screening, which will be followed by a discussion session.

“To Cancel, or Not to Cancel, that is the Question: A Student Debate on Speech Protections versus Societal Corrections”
Thursday, March 17 from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. in Gateway Bldg. Room 104

From demands of apologies from artists like DaBaby, Dave Chappelle, or J.K. Rowling, to toppling statues, rescinding of job offers, or de-platforming from social media, what are the benefits and risks of cancel culture today?

Join us for a robust debate. It’s impossible not to have an opinion. And here is your chance…

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 Heidi Sheridan, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities 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 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.

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