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Days of Reflection: Education for Racial Equity and Justice

The Days of Reflection is an initiative intended for education and conversation necessary for moving our campus, community, region, state, nation and world toward greater racial equity and justice.

Following up on the success of, and feedback from our past events, we have scheduled longer sessions to allow for more conversation among participants. Days of Reflection recognizes the need for sustained, informed conversations about race, ethnicity, and culture, to develop racial literacy and cultural competence.

These much-needed events and the preparatory work for them are sponsored by the College’s Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as part of its belief that "a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice is essential in preparing engaged global citizens to lead lives enriched by critical thought, creativity, discovery, and the pursuit of academic excellence.”

Fall 2020  Virtual Days of Reflection
October 19 - 22, 2020

Days of Reflection are closed educational events for the campus community, intended for students, faculty, and staff of SUNY Potsdam. All events will be virtual in Zoom.

Zoom access for Days of Reflection: 

  • To find the Zoom link for a Days of Reflection event as an audience member, you must log into the Get Involved website with your regular SUNY Potsdam credentials. Use the blue login button in upper right corner of the Get Involved screen.
  • Then, click on the Events tab and select "Days of Reflection" from the "Categories" dropdown on the left side of the page.
  • In an individual event, choose "join event online" to join the Zoom meeting.  
  • At 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., the meeting will open 20 minutes before start time.
  • These events are closed educational events for the campus community.

Key for Events
W = workshop
P = presentation with discussion/dialog

F = film screening with Q&A

1 = first steps
2 = deepening our understanding

3 = challenging ourselves


Monday, October 19

What Dialogue Can and Cannot Accomplish in an Era of Social Justice Movements (P, 1)
Presented by: Waidehi Gokhale and Shamil Idriss from 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Translating mass movements into systemic change is hard.  The place of dialogue in that process is disputed.  Leaders of Soliya, the world's leading virtual exchange organization and implementer of the Connect Program and First Year Connect on the SUNY-Potsdam campus, and Search for Common Ground, the world's largest peacebuilding organization and nominee for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, will share their perspectives on the power of dialogue - how it can turn adversaries into allies, transform conflict into cooperation, and build a foundation for systemic change - and on dialogue's limitations.

A Hot Mess: Do Black Lives Matter to Climate Change (P, 1)
Presented by: Dr. Claudia Ford from 7 – 8 p.m.

Planet earth is a single spaceship floating like a blue green gem in a limitless and vast black universe. But on this solitary globe we experience vastly unequal relationships to the resources of our biosphere depending on our nationality, race, and class. This presentation looks at the different ways that environmental benefits and harms are distributed. We can only be optimistic about our shared fate under the climate crisis if we face these issues of environmental justice head on, and address the unique challenges of The Black Anthropocene.

Tuesday, October 20

Facilitating Dialogue: The New First Year Connect Program (P, 1)
Panel: Mary C. Parker, Michael Popovic, and SUNY Potsdam Students, moderated by Dr. John Youngblood from 3 – 4 p.m.

In an effort to create a more inclusive campus community that is able to engage in dialogue across difference or disagreement, which can lead to greater understanding in our polarized and segregated society, we have created the First-Year Connect Program (1YC). The program is in a pilot this year and will become mandatory for all SUNY Potsdam first-year students next year. In order to create an environment where such dialogue is possible, skilled dialogue facilitation is crucial. In this event we will talk about what dialogue facilitation is and how you can get involved in the program for academic credit.  

Dialogue for Anti-Racism (P, 2)
Panel: Dr. Faris Khan, Ramatu Muhammed, Mary C. Parker, and Dr. John Youngblood, moderated by Dr. Claudia Ford from 5 – 6:30 p.m.

This panel will discuss the possibilities and challenges of using dialogue methodologies for anti-racism work.

What do you Know about Voting? (P, 1)
Panel: Black Student Association (BSA) with  Ariel Adams, Dr. Lynn Hall, Dr. Matt LaVine, Dr. Jenica Rogers, Dr. Sabena Thomas and Dr. John Youngblood from 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Black Student Association (BSA) will be asking our panelists questions based on identity, race, and immigration status in regard to voting rights. For example: Can I vote in Potsdam? Can I vote if I’m not a citizen, but I am a permanent resident? Etc.

Wednesday, October 21

Race and the History(ies) of the Women's Suffrage Movement in the United States (P, 1)
Presented by: Gaylynn Welch from 3 – 4 p.m.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment. Historical and popular narratives of the suffrage movement have privileged white middle-class leaders, despite the involvement of working-class women and women of color. This presentation looks at ways the suffrage story has been told, and ways activism by women of color challenges and changes this history of the movement.

Black & Indigenous Human Rights (P, 2)
Presented by: Agnes Williams and Dr. John Youngblood interviewed by Tewentenhawihtha Aldrich and Matt LaVine from 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 22

Walk of the Immigrants (P, 1/2)
Presented by: Saul Flores from 3 – 4:30 p.m.

In the program, students will confront the riveting journey that immigrants make to reach the United States. As a college senior, I embarked on the Walk of the Immigrants, a 10-country, 5,328-mile walk across Latin America to raise awareness for immigration. Since then, I’ve visited campuses nationwide to educate students about why people from other countries dream of coming here.

Policing post-George Floyd: How did we get here? What now? (P, 3)
Presented by: Dr. Lorenzo Boyd from 5 – 6 p.m.

The protests like those we see post-George Floyd are not new. Our nation is built on protests. Today's protests illuminate the level of trauma that people of color are continuing to experience. Protests are an indication that something is wrong, or at least that something needs to change. As the nation is constantly evolving, protesting is necessary to the health and progress of this nation. Pay attention to who is resistant to that change.