Cultural awareness is theme of the Ridgewater virtual fall diversity series
September 19, 2022
To build an intercultural mindset and community, Ridgewater College will host a virtual speaker series that will highlight German heritage and American racial history, as well as celebrate and honor the experiences of people of color, indigenous people, and immigrants of the United States.
Ridgewater is committed to opposing racism, bigotry, and all forms of exclusion and unjust bias based on personal identity. To fulfill these commitments, the college continues to expand its initiatives each year. This is the second year of the speaker series, which is open to the public. In addition to these events, training and discussion sessions are being offered to faculty, staff, and students.
“This social justice series isn’t about minimizing our experiences in this country. Rather, it is about bridging the differences so that each individual and their challenges, successes, and stories are honored,” said Jehana Schwandt, Ridgewater College director of diversity, equity and inclusion.
All events are free of charge, but registration is required for Zoom links.
Upcoming Public Events
Thurs., September 22, 11 am: Borderless Dreams
Samantha Ramirez-Herrera is more than a DREAMer – she is a DOer. Her family journeyed to America when she was seven years old in search of the American Dream. Although growing up undocumented felt like a nightmare, she refused to be stopped from fulfilling her dreams. Ramirez-Herrera aims to inspire courage and spark positive and bold action toward students’ biggest dreams. As a creative entrepreneur, activist, and immigrant DREAMer, she shares her compelling journey of challenges she faced, from language barriers and economic obstacles to cultural differences, immigration policies, and lack of resources for higher education.
Tues., September 27, 12 pm: How We Learn & Remember Racial History in America.
Take part in a guided, interactive discussion with panelists to explore insights, perceptions, and impact of how we learn and remember various racial histories in the United States. Panelists will include:
- Michael Favor, transformational leader in educational equity and Rosemount school superintendent
- Kevin Lindsey, chief executive officer for the Minnesota Humanities Center and leader who enjoys working toward inclusive, equitable employment and policies
- Ron Ferguson, Ridgewater Sociology faculty, Multicultural Club advisor and participant in the Ridgewater Equity and Inclusion workgroup.
This event is co-sponsored by Ridgewater College and Southwest Initiative Foundation and will be moderated by Shelly Bormann of Goodwill Easter Seals and Jehana Schwandt, Ridgewater Diversity, Equity and Inclusion director.
Thurs., October 6, 11 am: German American Heritage Day
Submerge yourself in this virtual presentation with Jessica Gordon, the Education and Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Coordinator from the German American Heritage Museum of Iowa. The discussion will explore The White Rose, a resistance group in Nazi Germany that was led by five students and one professor.
Tues., November 15, 11 am: Being Brave: The Power of Knowing Who You Are
Tanaya Winder is an author, singer/songwriter, poet, and motivational speaker who comes from an intertribal lineage of Southern Ute, Pyramid Lake Paiute, and Duckwater Shoshone Nations where she is an enrolled citizen. Winder guides attendees through what it means to honor our vessels with a “six directions” mindset, connecting our emotional, physical, mental, social, spiritual, and environmental selves. Through storytelling, she will offer tips on put that honor into practice by walking attendees through what it means to embrace resilience.
Thurs., December 1, 11 am: Stress, Success, and Duck Syndrome
Tianna Soto is a Puerto Rican, Jamaican-Chinese storyteller who empowers students to care for their mental health and wellness and face the college journey with confidence. Her work is heart-centered, service-driven, culturally informed, and rooted in empathy. As the first in her family to attend college, Soto knows what it is like to juggle multiple majors, roles, and responsibilities while secretly struggling with anxiety, burnout, and perfectionism. One day, she discovered a term for what she was experiencing — “duck syndrome” — a common phenomenon where college students appear cool and calm on the surface while paddling hard underneath.
Ridgewater College’s Customized Training & Continuing Education department will offer Continuing Education Unit (CEU) attendance certificates for those interested. It is up to each attendee to determine if the CEU meets their credentialing needs.
Register for these events at ridgewater.edu/events/categories/dei/
For more information about Ridgewater’s DEI efforts, go to ridgewater.edu/dei