Connecticut College will host its second annual social justice conference, Elevate, on Zoom this week.
The virtual conference, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, will focus on the complex issue of housing injustice, while highlighting the work Connecticut College students, faculty and staff are doing to promote equity and inclusion on campus and in the community.
Presented by the Agnes Gund ’60 Dialogue Project, the two-day conference aims to recognize, celebrate, amplify and elevate diverse voices.
The main Conversations on Race discussion will be led this year by Dr. Rosemary Ndubuizu, an associate professor of African American studies at Georgetown University, who studies how housing policies are shaped by race, gender, economy, politics and ideology. She has over a decade of involvement with Organizing Neighborhood Equity DC, an organization dedicated to racial and economic equality.
Ndubuizu will use her expertise as a scholar-activist to start a conversation about why housing justice is an issue that involves race and class, and is “a core reproductive justice concern,” according to a statement from the school.
His lecture will be paired with two workshops that will help attendees learn more about the federal infrastructure bill and its impact on affordable housing, as well as activism around housing need.
During the conference, virtual attendees will have the opportunity to participate in more than a dozen different sessions, ranging from conversations about disability justice to discussions about the importance of gender pronouns.
The goal of the conference is to bring together students, families, faculty, staff, alumni and neighbors of Conn College to celebrate the beauty of cultural diversity in a way that “seeks to raise our collective consciousness on issues of equity and justice and to uplift and empower our communities that have historically been marginalized, erased and silenced,” according to the college.
An exercise will feature former Black, Indigenous and People of Color, or BIPOC, students sharing stories of how their study abroad experiences have affected them. Following the discussion, Walter Commons Associate Director for Global Study and Engagement, Melissa Ryan, and her Coordinator, Lauren O’Leary, will discuss how students can engage at scale. world while in college and will share resources to help students prepare and thrive in their studies. -overseas environments.
Another workshop will focus on “busting trans myths”, exploring myths about transgender people throughout history, the harmful impact some myths have on trans communities, and why the use of appropriate pronouns is important and grammatically correct.
Speakers will include LaNitra Berger, Senior Director of Fellowships and Associate Director of African American Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., an award-winning scholar, educator and social justice advocate who is the author of several books, including “Exploring Education Abroad: A Guide for Participants from Racial and Ethnic Minorities.”
Life coach and author Christopher Coleman, founder and CEO of Unconfined Life Institute, a nonprofit that coaches and motivates individuals and groups, is also set to speak; and Jeneé Osterheldt, a cultural columnist who writes about social justice and identity through culture and the arts, focusing on Black lives.
Osterheldt created a multimedia series for the Boston Globe called “A Beautiful Resistance,” which amplifies black voices. Her workshop will explore how stories about black people are often told through extremes of brutality and poverty, but should be told in a space that celebrates everyday life.
The conference is free and open to the public. People can register for workshops online at elevate.conncoll.edu; a Zoom account is required for registration.