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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

“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…

April 12 – 2:00pm virtual event

Natasha Trethewey- Former US Poet Laureate 2012-2014

OCC’s annual Poetry Festival will feature poet Natasha Trethewey, who is the author of five collections of poetry: Monument (2018), Thrall (2012), Native Guard (2006), Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002), and Domestic Work (2000). She is also the author of a book of creative non-fiction: Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2010) and a memoir, Memorial Drive (2020). Her poems combine the personal and the historical as she blends free verse and traditional forms, including ballads and sonnets to address themes of hope and resilience, racial justice and equality, the Civil Rights Movement, Black History, and motherhood.

The event, which is being held in conjunction with Lehigh University, will feature readings and discussion with Natasha Trethewey.

Registration is required for this event. Please register at Poetry Festival Registration

As a part of the Poetry Festival, Professor Jayanti Tamm will be hosting Open Mic Poetry event on April 13 – 12:30pm – 1:45pm on the Second Floor of the Larson Student Center

April 18 – 8:00am and 9:30am (two showings) in TECH 115

Film Screening – Angst

Angst is a film-based education program designed to raise awareness around anxiety, with an emphasis on youth and families. The film includes interviews with kids, teens, experts, and parents. The goal of the program is to help people identify and understand the symptoms of anxiety and encourage them to reach out for help. We will be showing the film and including access to further resources and materials.

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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