East County News Service
February 1, 2017 (El Cajon) - A Feb. 8 workshop tackling the mass incarceration of African-American males kicks off the spring edition of Diversity Dialogues, a series of Cuyamaca College conversations aimed at fostering a greater understanding of different cultures.
“Diversity Dialogues is known for opening frank and meaningful discussions about social justice and equity, and we look forward to another set of seven workshops on topics that go to the heart of making Cuyamaca College a welcoming community,” said Lauren Vaknin, Associate Dean of Student Affairs. All workshops are free and open to the public.
The series begins with The Mass Incarceration of African-American Males: A Return to Institutionalized Slavery, Oppression, and Disenfranchisement of Constitutional Rights, which is set from 11 a.m. to noon in Room I-207 of the Student Center. The session, led by Dr. Tanis Starck, director at San Diego State University’s Office of Cultural Relations, will explore how our justice system disenfranchises black males of their constitutional rights.
Reaching Out to Succeed takes place Feb. 27 from 10 to 11 a.m. in Room I-207 of the Student Center. This session, led by Cuyamaca College mental health counselor Ahmed (Rasheed) Aden and Abdimalik Buul, a counselor and professor at Southwestern College, addresses awareness around mental health issues on college campuses and why students of color are far less likely to ask for help.
Overcoming Conflict and Finding Solutions with Peers is set for March 9 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Room I-207 of the Student Center. Presented by Cuyamaca College counselor Mary Garcia, this workshop will discuss handling difficult situations and disagreements in a respectful manner that can bring growth and build rapport among participants.
The Social Justice Institute is set for March 24 from 10 a.m. to noon in Rooms I-208 and 209 of the Student Center. Presented by Grace Bagunu, who is pursuing a doctoral degree in Leadership Studies at the University of San Diego, this session will help participants gain a greater understanding of social justice from their own experiences, as well as commit to an action that will benefit the greater community.
Social Empathy Model – A Path Toward Social Justice is set for April 6 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Room I-207 of the Student Center. Presented by Mayumi Douglas, a San Diego State University lecturer and licensed marriage and family therapist, this workshop will cover a model of empathy, contextual understanding, and social responsibility that promotes social justice.
Safe Zones Training takes place April 14 from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room I-207 of the Student Center. This session brings awareness of LGBTQIA issues and provides insights on improving the campus climate. Presenters include Cuyamaca College faculty members Nancy Jennings, Moriah Gonzalez-Meeks, Mary Garcia and Tania Jabour, who will provide tips on becoming allies of the LGBTQIA community.
What You Say Matters wraps up the Diversity Dialogues program on May 1 from 2 to 3 p.m. in Room I-208 of the Student Center. Presented by Grace Bagunu, this session will focus on the words we choose to use, how some of the most common phrases can be considered a micro-aggression to others, and how to communicate effectively in diverse settings using inclusive language.
Vaknin developed Diversity Dialogues in the spring of 2011, initially offering three workshops that drew a total of about 50 students. These days, up to 300 people – mostly students -- attend the workshops each year.
For more information on the Diversity Dialogues program, contact Lauren Vaknin in the Student Affairs Office at 619.660.4295.