Skip to main content

ODEI Fall 2021 Initiatives

Our events and initiatives are committed to cultivating equity through an intersectional framework.

Join Us This Fall

Tuesday, September 7

Interfaith Literacy @ the Diversity Lecture Series

"Standing in the Shadow of Hope"

Austin Channing Brown

Austin Channing Brown is a speaker, writer and media producer providing inspired leadership on racial justice in America. Channing is the author of I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness and the executive producer of the web series The Next Question. Austin's workshops and lectures are intelligent, fun, disarming and transformative. By using an intentional mix of humor, pop culture, story-telling and audience engagement, she evokes thought, feeling and action as she celebrates the possibility of justice in our organizations and communities.


Wednesday, September 15

Latino Heritage Month Keynote Address

Mr. John Leguizamo

John Leguizamo

Emmy Award Winner John Leguizamo has established a career that defies categorization. A multi-faceted performer, writer and directory, Leguizamo's work in film, theatre, television and literature cover various genres with boundless and visceral creativity. From November 2017 to February 2018, Leguizamo starred in the hit one-man Broadway show "Latin History for Morons." Inspired by the near-total absence of Latinos in his son's American history class, Leguizamo embarked on a frantic search to find a Latin hero for his son's school project. From a mad recap of the Aztec empire to stories of unknown Latin patriots of the Revolutionary Way and beyond, Leguizamo broke down the 3,000 years between the Mayans and Ricky Ricardo into 90 irreverent and uncensored minutes in his trademark style. On May 1, 2018, the show was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play.

Join us for a rebroadcast of the discussion that was held on Sunday, September 12. Access information is below:

Go to Vimeo and use the passcode: odei2021 **This recording is available until Oct. 12


Tuesday, September 21

Latino Heritage Month

"First Gen Superpowers: Latino identity and the mindset to succeed"

Marisel Herrera understands what it is like to be a first-generation, urban, academically talented Latina college student who successfully rebounded. Author of Puerto Rican Goldilocks: A Lyrical Journey Through El Barrio, Herrera is a high-impact speaker, consultant and Certified Coach. As an educational leader with 25 years of experience, she equips diverse audiences with an arsenal of tangible tools and insights that empower their success. Herrera's message affirms the power of education, faith, resiliency, culture, relationships and community to transform one's life.

A recording of the event is available on GRCCTV's Vimeo channel


Thursday, September 30

An Evening with Dr. Temple Grandin

Co-sponsored with the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism as a child and went on to pursue work in psychology and animal science. She has become a leading advocate for autistic communities and has also written books and provided consultation on the humane treatment of animals. In 2010, HBO released an Emmy Award-winning film on Grandin's life. In addition to autism advocacy, Grandin is well known for her work regarding animal welfare, neurology and philosophy. In the essay, "Animals Are Not Things," Granding argues that while animals are technically property in our society, the law ultimately grants them certain key protections. Her books, including Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human, have garnered critical acclaim.

A recording of the event is available on the GRPM YouTube channel


Wednesday, October 6

Fannie Lou Hamer Colloquium

“What Do You Have to Lose? Unpacking America’s political landscape” 

Film screening and talkback with Dr. Trimiko Melancon

Dr. Trimiko Melancon, a professor, scholar, cultural critic, and documentarian, is the award-winning author of Unbought and Unbossed: Transgressive Black Women, Sexuality, and Representation and co-editor of Black Female Sexualities. An expert on race, gender, sexuality, and African American culture and media, her 2020 film, "What Do You Have to Lose?" on race, politics, and the post-Obama Trump era, won the Best Feature Documentary Audience Award.

The documentary "What Do You Have to Lose?" explores the history of race in the United States to shed light on the current political and racial landscape in America during the post-Obama age of Trump. From Charlottesville and the rise of the alt-right to Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd, this film takes an arresting look at how did we get here, why does it matter, and what do we; as individuals and a nation, have to lose?

Note: A virtual screening of the film is available for registered participants of the Fannie Lou Hamer Colloquium. Access is limited to Monday, October 4, and Tuesday, October 5. Join us on Wednesday, October 6, for a talkback with the film’s director.

A recording of the event is available on GRCCTV's Vimeo channel


Monday, October 11

Latino Heritage Month: PRIDE OUTside the Box

“LatinX: Unpacking the experiences of transgender and non-binary communities.”

Bri Sérráno is a Capricorn, first-generation student, neurodiverse/Latinx/trans/masc/non-binary, and queer scholar of intersectional transgender studies. Bri’s research examines race consciousness in holistic admissions at selective institutions, the gender binary in admissions, and the insider/outsider experience of queer and trans Latinx/o people in higher education. This work is explored through the theoretical framework of Critical Trans Politics (Spade, 2015).

Bri currently lives on the unceded lands of the Tongva people.

Virtual event begins at noon (EST)



Wednesday, October 13

Latino Heritage Month

Dr. Javier Ávila

Dr. Javier Ávila's nationally acclaimed one-man show,"The Trouble With My Name," blends storytelling, comedy, and poetry to shed light on the American Latino experience. Culturally rich and profoundly educational, the presentation provides audiences with an excellent platform for a continued conversation on equity, diversity, inclusion, and antiracism. In 2015, Dr. Ávila was named Pennsylvania’s Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. He is the first Latino to receive this honor.

Virtual event begins at 6 p.m. (EST)



Tuesday, October 19

STEMulating Diversity Praxis 

“Marginalization stifles innovation: The plight of racial minorities in S.T.E.M.”

Dr. Ebony O. McGee, author of Black, Brown, Bruised: How racialized STEM education stifles innovation, is associate professor of diversity and STEM education at Vanderbilt University. Dr. McGee’s research investigates how marginalization undercuts success in STEM through psychological stress, interrupted STEM career trajectories, impostor phenomenon, and other debilitating race-related trauma for Black, Indigenous, and Latinx doctoral students. In 2019, Dr. McGee served as lead editor of the publication Diversifying STEM: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Race and Gender. The book offers scholarship on race, culture, and social stratification; racial justice and identity; racial socialization processes; and race and gender intersectionality in STEM. In addition, Dr. McGee’s research has been featured in prominent media outlets including The Atlantic, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education, NPR's Codeswitch, The Hechinger Report, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, US News & World Report, and Inside Higher Education.

Virtual event begins at noon (EST)



Wednesday, October 27

PRIDE OUTside the box with Da'Shaun Harrison

“The politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness.” 

Da’Shaun Harrison, a fat, Black, disabled, and non-binary trans writer, abolitionist, and community organizer, is the author of Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness. In addition, Harrison facilitates workshops on Blackness, queerness, gender, fatness, disabilities, and the intersection at which they all meet. In 2017, Harrison penned their first published piece while navigating heightened poverty and homelessness. These circumstances would become the genesis of their writing career. Harrison became a writer as a means of survival, believing that if the marginalized wish for a future where their history is depicted accurately and their stories are told correctly, they must document them.

PRIDE OUTside the Box illuminates scholar-practitioners, artists, and initiatives that critically examine socio-political, economic, and identity issues from an intersectional framework (Crenshaw, 1989). The desired outcome is to challenge the campus community and our partners to pivot from binary thinking that may be perceived as narrow, unimaginative and lacks empathy.

Virtual event begins at noon (EST)



Tuesday, November 2

Native American Film and Art Festival

The Indigenous Drum: History, Legacy, & Hip Hop" 

As Hip Hop spread across the country, it made its way down to the borderlands of El Paso, Texas, where it found teenaged Arturo Hernandez and renamed him Artson.

A descendent of the Tarahumara people, Artson recognized the connection between hip-hop and indigenous culture. “Graffiti is like the ancient petroglyphs, DJing and breakin’ are like the fire and the circle we used to dance around, and the MCs are the chanters telling the modern-day story,” says Artson, “like our old chanters who would tell stories of the past.”

In the same way that hip-hop gave Black and Latino youth a shared language and a vision beyond the ghetto, Hip Hop has empowered indigenous peoples across the country by giving them an influential voice to share their history, struggles, and dreams of a better life on and off the reservation. There’s still a lot of work to do, but Artson is willing to do it.

Virtual event begins at 6:00 p.m. (EST)



Tuesday, November 9

Native American Film and Art Festival: PRIDE OUTside the box

A film screening and talkback with Ben-Alex Dupris

Ben-Alex Dupris is the director of "Sweetheart Dancers." He is Miniconjou Lakota and an enrolled member of the Colville Confederated Tribes where he grew up. Dupris creates work that pushes the boundaries of modernity and traditionalism, changing perspectives of Indigenous concepts without censorship. He spent five months on the ground documenting the standing Rock occupation and continues his work in honor of Indigenous people and his traditional homelands.

About the Film:

Adrian and Sean are the “Sweetheart Dancers,” who broke ground in powwow communities by entering the popular couples competition. The special dance contest is held annually in various parts of the country. They are the first “Two-Spirit” couple to enter the contest and continue to pave the way for LGBTQ Indigenous people.

Note: A virtual screening of the film is available for registered participants of the talkback with the film's director. Virtual access to screen the film is open from 8:00 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 7 to 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9.

Virtual event begins at Noon (EST)



Sneak Peek into Winter 2022

Monday, January 31

Diversity Lecture Series

Nikole Hannah-Jones

Virtual event begins at 6 p.m. (EST)


Tuesday, February 15

Black History Month Keynote Address

LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter

Virtual event begins at 6 p.m. (EST)