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A look at what’s in store for Tuesday’s SEAT at the Table workshops and events

By Mike Manning

As the fight for social equality continues, Springfield College is doing their part by educating the community with the new SEAT at the Table event. Come Tuesday, Oct. 27 there will be eight workshops spread throughout the day. All panels will transpire on Zoom due to COVID-19.

Professor Laurel Davis-Delano will kick off Tuesday’s events by discussing Native American stereotypes, discrimination, and struggles in U.S. society. Davis-Delano explains that the workshop will help identify stereotypes and provide specific examples of when they’re used and how they impact minorities.

“Not everyone can relate to the discrimination that Native Americans have faced,” she says. Davis-Delano has studied this topic for years and explained that, “I’m motivated to share my knowledge to those who have not been exposed to the stereotypes and struggles that people of color have seen their whole life.”

Ensuing the first workshop, Dr. Stephanie Logan will be leading a discussion on microaggressions in higher education. She will be defining what a microaggression is, how to spot one, and what to do when you see it.

Entering her ninth year teaching in higher education, Dr. Logan can attribute the inspiration behind her workshop to her very own students.

“When I saw that the SEAT event was being put together, I had a couple of ideas in mind, but I wanted to make sure that the topic was in line with what was important today,” Logan said. “I chose microaggressions because my own students had experienced them.”

Dr. Logan believes that microaggressions are highly unrepresented when talking about prejudice. “When it comes to racism, we think of groups like the KKK and the alt right. However, we don’t talk about interpersonal things enough. It’s the everyday comments and gestures that carry the most weight,” she says.

She will be stressing the impact microaggressions have on one’s being. Something she analogizes with a mosquito bite. “To put it in perspective, a microaggression is like a mosquito bite. You get bit by a mosquito and it’s uncomfortable. As you get bit over and over, the accumulative feeling is much worse. Microaggressions build on people and harm their physical and mental health,” Logan shares.

Brittany Monachino and Sarah Zehnder are continuing their Jazz Fusion event. One can expect Brittany Monachino to detail her personal experience with social injustice and how dance has influenced her life. Monachino and Zehnder’s workshop is a part of the “Dancers Against Racism: move for the movement,” series.

Xavier Washington will be leading a discussion based on the premise that initiative isn’t always enough when related to minorities in the business and government worlds. Those involved in the conversation will be able to describe to others what they’ve experienced first-hand in those fields. There will also be advice on how to overcome the struggles at hand.

Following shortly after, Adam Jacobs will be leading his workshop titled, “Muscular Christianity and Indigeneity.” There, Jacobs will discuss the impact the urbanization and imperialistic aspirations of the American public had on Indian culture in the 19th century.

Marcelino Diaz, Tyson Jones, Roberto Gallardo, and John Gibbons will be conversing over the topic of, “Intersecting of Race and Policing: Past and Present.” During the session, staff and students can expect to learn about how the black and brown communities are represented in the criminal justice system. The impact bias has on another person will be emphasized heavily through the discussion.

Wrapping up the Tuesday’s sessions, there will be two final events.

Natalie Leger and Danielle Clough will be presenting a workshop called, “Shut up and Dribble, Social Justice, Politics, and Sport: Tools for Preventing the Dehumanization of Athletes.” And Demisty B. Bellinger will be offering a poetry/fiction reading.

Springfield’s SEAT at the Table event may be the first step students are taking in order to better educate themselves about social inequalities. While becoming active early on is important, some of the panelists believe it’s not enough.

“Attending a single workshop will not change anything. One needs to take multiple steps afterwards in order to continue to educate themselves,” Professor Davis-Delano said. “Continuous research or involvement in organizations are great ways to become part of the solution.”

Dr. Logan shares the same ideology. Stressing that self-reflection is crucial to this process. She explained that after students have taken notes and participated in workshops, it’s important to reflect on what they’ve learned to determine what their next move will be.

Logan also calls out for support from the higher ups at Springfield College.

“I want support from the higher ups,” Logan said. “I think everyone should be involved in the workshops including the people at the top. I hope to see them engaged in the discussions.”

Tuesday’s sessions will be part of the week-long event dedicated towards the understanding of social inequalities.

Photo Courtesy of Springfield College Office of Multicultural Affairs

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