Several presenters will lead discussions reflecting our theme “Building Tomorrow Together.” These sessions will address ways in which we can decrease stereotyping and better understand the diversities in our culture.
Lyceum credit will be given for participation in any of the breakout events.
For more information about Emory & Henry's 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration, visit http://www.ehc.edu/mlk2013/.
Morning Sessions: 11:30AM-12:30PM
Location: Room 018, Byars Hall
This breakout will challenge participants to consider their own experiences and the racial problems in our community, as well as provide an understanding of racism and white privilege. Within this context, we will learn about ways in which everyone can actively work to dismantle racism.
Brian Johns first came to Virginia Organizing as an intern in 2000, and then worked as a community organizer from 2001-2005. He spent two years in Pennsylvania doing community organizing with a labor union, and returned to Virginia Organizing in 2007. He is currently the organizer for far Southwest Virginia, covering from Pulaski to the Kentucky border. Brian grew up just south of Richmond in the Petersburg area and worked with the Petersburg and Williamsburg Virginia Organizing chapters, also helping open the Williamsburg office, before leaving in 2005. He is now based out of Abingdon.
Location: Board of Visitors Lounge, Van Dyke Center
The impact of money is readily apparent is our day-to-day lives, yet far too often, we are unaware of the challenges others face and privileges that we receive. Come take part in this experiential activity and discussion and learn about how socioeconomic class impacts our world and our lives each day.
Todd Clark serves as the Associate Dean of Students at Emory & Henry College, located in Southwest Virginia. He has previously worked in Housing / Residence Life at Union College (NY), Louisiana State University, Virginia Tech, and Kansas State University and has been recognized multiple times on the regional and national level for his service to the profession. Todd graduated from the CSP program at Western Illinois in 1997 and is currently working on his doctorate through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His PhD dissertation focuses on understanding differences in student engagement based on the urbanicity of the school.
Location: Room 147, McGlothlin-Street Hall
Participants in this breakout session will critique Appalachian hillbilly stereotypes and myths, how they originated and what purpose they continue to serve. Additionally, we will discuss certain Appalachian realities that contribute to the stereotypes; but more importantly, we will explore why those realities exist and how they came into being.
Meredith Dean is a contributing author to the book, Transforming Places: Lessons from Appalachia, published by the University of Illinois Press. Dean's chapter, "Organizing Appalachian Women: Hope Lies in the Struggle," analyzes the 15 year journey of the Appalachian Women's Alliance to unite anti-racist education with creative feminist action in mountain communities. Founding director of the Appalachian non-profit, Dean currently teaches Appalachian Studies at Virginia Tech, and Ecological Ethics & Creative Group Action at Radford University. Settled near her family’s homeplace of eight generations, Dean has also written about her Floyd County land and animals for NPR’s Morning Edition.
Location: Room 102, McGlothlin-Street Hall
Heterosexism is a term that means prejudiced or discriminatory practices against homosexuals by heterosexuals.This workshop is not about sexual practices or changing religious beliefs. The main goal is to raise participants' awareness of their attitudes and biases with regard to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people.
Jimmy Whited received a BA in English and History from Jacksonville State University. He also received an MA in English from Jacksonville State. He is ABD in the PhD program of Higher Education at the College of William & Mary. He worked as an Area Director in the department of Residence Life at William & Mary for nine years. Since 2009, he has served as the Director of Housing at Emory & Henry College. In addition, he teaches three courses and advises first year students and two student groups. He is also the past president of the Virginia Association of College and University Housing Officers.
Location: Calliopean Room, Byars Hall
What does sexism look like in Southwestern Virginia? Do we perceive gender roles differently than people from other regions? How do our perceptions affect our culture and vice versa? This breakout will address these questions and others in an attempt to help participants better understand the nature of sexism.
Kathy Rowles has lived in the region for years and raised her family here. She was the Chairperson of the Virginia Organizing Project State Governing Board for 4 years and has facilitated dozens of workshops on these issues. She currently works for Lee County Behavioral Services.
Location: Mason Fellowship Hall, Memorial Chapel
Within the past half-decade a study was published in the book Unchristian which noted that young persons outside of the Christian church have very negative views of the church, based primarily on their feelings that Christians are anti-homosexual, judgmental, and hypocritical. The authors of the study conclude that Christians “have become famous for what we oppose, rather than who we are for.” Is the story of Abraham’s exclusion and expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael the model for the Church’s dealing with differences, or is there another model that is better suited to decreasing stereotypes and increasing understanding and openness? This breakout session will look at the biblical model of self-emptying (kenosis is the New Testament word) for welcoming the Other and for not only understanding but learning from those who are different.
David St. Clair is a graduate of Emory & Henry College and Wesley Theological Seminary. He lives in Emory with his wife, Marcia, and is an adjunct teacher in the Religion Department of Emory & Henry. An ordained United Methodist minister, he retired from the active ministry this past year after having served in the Holston Conference for 35 years.
Location: Hermesian Room, Byars Hall
The Church is one of the most segregated institutions in American life. Dr. King claimed that, “At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation.” Why, when Christ’s message is one of reconciliation, is the Church so divided? Has the Civil Rights Movement made a difference? Can this problem be solved, or do cultural differences make it intractable? How do we deal with religious traditions and communities different from our own?
Adam Wells is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Emory & Henry College. He recently received his PhD from the University of Virginia in Comparative Scripture, Interpretation and Practice. His work focuses on philosophical traditions in Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
Afternoon Session: 2:30PM-3:30PM
Location: Wiley Auditorium, Wiley Hall
Mohammad Bilal, our keynote speaker, will present an interactive discussion to expand upon the ideas and topics covered in his morning address.