Explorations in Social Justice Conference

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Join Us For Explorations in Social Justice Conference  
Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The Explorations in Social Justice Conference aims to bring together students, faculty, staff, alumni, administrators, and community members in an examination of social justice in the Marist and Mid-Hudson Valley community.  All are welcome to engage in conversations about constructing justice and promoting ally-ship to build a more inclusive community.  This year’s theme, Ability and Access: Making the Marist Campus Welcoming to All, highlights the Netflix Documentary, Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution. 

Please join us for a viewing and discussion of Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution at 2:00 p.m. on September 20th in the Nelly Goletti Theatre, Murray Student Center.

Online Registration

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About The Film
In the early 1970s, teenagers with disabilities faced a future shaped by isolation, discrimination and institutionalization. Camp Jened, a ramshackle camp “for the handicapped” (a term no longer used) in the Catskills, exploded those confines. Jened was their freewheeling Utopia, a place with summertime sports, smoking and make-out sessions awaiting everyone, and campers experienced liberation and full inclusion as human beings. Their bonds endured as many migrated West to Berkeley, California — a hotbed of progressive activism where friends from Camp Jened realized that disruption, civil disobedience, and political participation could change the future for millions.

Keynote Speakers

Our keynote speakers for this conference are Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson, authors of the New York Times Best-Selling Book, Picking Cotton, and Charlotte A. Burrows, Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Learn more >>

Introductions, Film Screening, and Reflective Panel Discussion

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Location:  Murray Student Center – Nelly Goletti Theatre
Time:  2:00 – 3:15 p.m. 

Introduction and Welcome:
Addrain Conyers, Assistant Provost for Faculty Development
Edward Antonio, Vice President for Diversity, Equity,  Inclusion and Belonging
Carol Rinke, Assistant Provost for Student Success

Film Screening: Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

Facilitator: Dana Gathers, Assistant Professor of Education, Marist College 

Judy Creedon, Learning Specialist, Office of Accommodations and Accessibility, Marist College
Joseph Guardino, Director of Housing and Residential Life, Marist College 
Dana Jones, Marist Alumna
Dana Weidman, Professor of Communications, Media Arts & Film, Dutchess Community College

Interactive Workshops

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Workshop 1:
Comics and Disability
Location: Murray Student Center - Third Floor Hallway
Time: 3:15 – 4:30 p.m.

At this station, student presenters will engage participants in conversation about how comics represent disability realistically, metaphorically, and/or politically. Participants will have the opportunity to examine specific comics and to sketch panels that represent their own experiences.

Workshop Facilitators: 
Elizabeth Clarke, Research Services Librarian, Marist College
Shania Fernandez '26
Moira Fitzgibbons,  Professor of English, Marist College
Erin Greenfield '26
Marin Rosman '26
Deborah Tomaras, Metadata and Resource Management Librarian, Marist College

Workshop 2:
Advances in Adaptive Fashion
 Murray Student Center - Third Floor Hallway
Time: 3:15 – 4:30 p.m.

Runway of Dreams x Marist is a club whose mission is to empower people with disabilities to have confidence and self-expression through fashion and beauty inclusion. We are here to celebrate and encourage people's differences, whether it be physical or mental disabilities, and are proud to partner in this interactive segment through showcasing various works that examine the advances in adaptive fashion.

Workshop Facilitators: 
Stephania Bendek '26
Kristina Cangiano '25
Hana Dempsey '25
Jennifer Finn, Chair Marist Fashion Program, Faculty Club Advisor 
Lauren Maggio '26
Mia Siano '25

Workshop 3:
Assistive Technology Scavenger Hunt
Murray Student Center - Third Floor Hallway
Time: 3:15 – 4:30 p.m.

Since the signing of the ADA on July 26, 1990, there has been a general assumption that the world has been made accessible and inclusive for those with varying abilities. During this session, the Doctor of Physical Therapy students will guide participants in an accessibility scavenger hunt. Participants will have the opportunity to “walk in another’s shoes” or “locomote in their wheelchair” enabling them to experience aspects of physical accessibility on the Marist campus and draw their own conclusions about accessibility and inclusion.

Workshop Facilitator: 
Julie Fineman, Clinical Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy
Yvonne Egitto, Clinical Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy
Doctor of Physical Therapy Students 


Workshop 4:
Digital Accessibility: Ensuring Equity for All
Location: Murray Student Center - Third Floor Hallway
Time: 3:15 – 4:30 p.m.

Digital accessibility describes an inclusive process of designing a digital learning environment that integrates procedures and tools to ensure that everyone can access education effectively and meet the same outcomes. At Marist, Brightspace includes many tools to support students and faculty in digital accessibility within the digital learning environment.

Through this session, we’ll explore the features and functionality that could help make the digital learning environment accessible.

Workshop Facilitators: 
Julin Sharp, Assistant Vice President, Digital Learning Platforms & Technology
Digital Education Staff 
Digital Education Students


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Concurrent Session 1: 
Considerations for Creating Accessible Space - A Restorative Approach 
 Murray Student Center – Room 3105
Time: 3:30 – 4:00 p.m.

This workshop aims to address accessibility from a restorative perspective, both philosophically and materially. There will also be a follow-up circle to help participants integrate the knowledge and ideas they have gained during the Conference in a more intentional manner.

Claudia Abott-Barish, Director of Restorative Justice Programs, Dutchess Mediation Center
Vanessa Lynn, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Marist College

Concurrent Session 2:
Advocacy and Empowerment for Individuals with Disabilities
Murray Student Center – Room 3104
Time: 3:30 – 4:00 p.m.

How to help your students/clients/children/self-learn to be proactive in their journey through the laws and regulations of special education and beyond……being an advocate for themselves is critical.

Charlie Bender, retired Director of Vocational Services, Abilities First (previously REHAB Programs)
Joanna Huyck, Professional Lecturer of Professional Programs, Marist College
Amie (Cousens) Fredericks, teacher of the Deaf, Dutchess BOCES, President of BOE Pine Plains School District
Faith Cousens, Session Facilitator, retired Special Ed teacher Dutchess BOCES, Professional Lecturer of Psychology, Marist College

Concurrent Session 3:
Creating an Accessibility Map of the Student Center
Location: Murray Student Center – Room 3105
Time: 4:00 – 4:30 p.m.

We will be defining accessibility and what accessibility on campus means to us. We will then explore the Student Center and map its accessibility features.

Joelle Fingerhut, Assistant Professor of Education, Marist College 
Dana Gathers, Assistant Professor of Education, Marist College 
Lexi Malaterra '24
Kira Poliviou '24
Stephanie Purington, Session Facilitator, Professional Lecturer of Education, Marist College

Concurrent Session 4:
Building an environment of accessibility on the Marist Campus
Murray Student Center – Roon 3104
Time: 4:00-4:30

Members of the Delta Alpha Pi International (DAPi) Honor Society will discuss the importance of prioritizing accessibility on campus in order to foster inclusivity and empower students with disabilities to achieve their academic potential. 

Charlotte Green, President of the Beta Delta chapter of Delta Alpha Pi at Marist College
Quinn McNicholas '24 
Emily Jones '26

Presentation of Social Justice Award

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image of Kumba Nyang, Social Justice Award Recipient

The Marist College Social Justice Award recognizes the contributions of outstanding members of the Marist community who have dedicated themselves to diversity, equity, and inclusion

2023 Recipient

Kumba Nyang (she/hers), '23

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Contact Information:
Addrain Conyers, PhD
Assistant Provost for Faculty Development/
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

845-575-3000, ex. 3629

Carol Rinke, PhD 
Assistant Provost for Student Success
Professor of Education

845-575-3000, ex. 3629

Date: September 20, 2023
Location: Murray Student Center, Marist College

For accessible entrance to the conference, please enter through the Murray Student Center’s south entrance and continue through the Fusco Music Center doors.