Diversity Caucus

2003/4 State of the Community Report

 

Excellence is about performing well above and beyond the call of duty. It’s about bringing a commitment to the task that comes from deep in the heart. It’s about the trust that it takes to work together when the odds seem slim or the goal seems unattainable. It’s about a community where none leaves part of themselves at the door---not their culture, their passions, or any part of their capabilities. The Diversity Caucus has continued on its quest for excellence this academic year.

 

Over 50 leaders in the BCC community guide the antiracism and pluralism work at BCC, volunteering time to facilitate Courageous Conversations, provide training, moderate sessions, plan, and execute events. Faculty have already implemented elements in their classes, touching more than 1000 students. One such class won a national award for Service Learning and Civic Engagement. An estimated 2000 people attended Diversity Caucus events that ranged from the Living Treasures Celebration, sessions on the pecking order, to the world-class American Indian Film Festival.

 

Living Treasures Celebration - November 14 ,2003 -- An evening of healing, friendship, family, and celebration.

More Living Treasure events are planned for next year. If you would like to participate, contact Judy Woo and Leslie Lum.

Courageous Conversations--Racism is like the weather: you can’t get away from it. If this is not evident to you, Courageous Conversations is a good place to start exploring why. For more information, contact Akemi Matsumoto or any facilitator listed below.

Employee Pluralism--BCC bites, videotapes and the pecking order. Contact Becky Turnbull for more information on how we can make BCC a more inclusive and ethical environment for all.

Pluralism in the Curriculum--  True pluralism and an antiracist environment linked with rigorous and deep learning that starts at the heart--radical breakthroughs in higher education. Big plans are in the making for Hawaiian studies in conjunction with the University of Hawaii and the University of Washington including possible cohort classes. If you would like to include your classes, please contact Alan Yabui.

Phil Lucas Talks--Profoundly moving films that document the American Indian experience.

American Indian Film Festival--The American Indian experience---shaking our faith and showing us how much we need to learn. The American Indian Film Festival was a world-class event this year and Phil Lucas wants to make it even bigger next year. Let Phil Lucas or Donna Meek know how you want to integrate your classes into the events.

Integration of Diversity Caucus Into Other College Events--Earth Week, Dancefest, Wedding Banquet--Diversity Caucus events impact across the college. If you would like assistance with speakers or event planning, let  the Diversity Caucus know. We can help.

 

Living Treasures Celebration - November 14 ,2003

An evening of healing, friendship, family, and celebration.

 

Over 120 people joined together on November 13, 2003 to honor and celebrate BCC's Living Treasures. Undeniably one of the best events of the year, the BCC community enjoyed an evening of friendship and cultural celebration. This extraordinary gathering was made possible by Carol McKee and Judy Woo who both worked tirelessly to make it come together. It was great to see the BCC community including their beautiful families and friends join together for this great occasion. Hosted by Sayumi Irey, Kim Pollock and Donna Meek, the evening got off to an auspicious start with the naming of the Living Treasures:

 

Jim Bennett Bob Hamilton Lucy Macneil Larry Susanka
Scott Bessho Diane Harrison Akemi Matsumoto Ron Taplin
Tika Esler Faisal Jaswal Gloria Mercer Terry Weston
Sharon Felton Aslam Khan Rossie Norris Chequita Williams-Cox
Linda Flory-Barnes Ron Leatherbarrow Candiest Stewart Alan Yabui
Jean Floten Gordon Leighton Jack Surendranath  

 

It was followed by an incredible performance by Dr. Hossein Omoumi, considered one of the world's foremost performers of the Ney or bamboo Persian flute, honoring our Living Treasures. Thanks to Iraj Paydar for arranging and performing the music for the evening.

 

Special thanks to Ruthann Kurose, from the BCC Board of Trustees, who not only represented the Board by attending almost every one of our events but took the portraits that truly captured the spirit of our Living Treasures.

 

Stay tuned for more Living Treasure events next year including the dedication of the bamboo garden.

 

For a more complete description of this magical evening see: http://www.bcc.ctc.edu/diversitycaucus/LT/living_treasures_celebration.htm

 

  

 

Courageous Conversations

Racism is like the weather: you can’t get away from it. If this is not evident to you, Courageous Conversations is a good place to start exploring why.

An additional 60 people attended two days of training (Friday and Saturday) this past March on having Courageous Conversations about racism with nationally recognized consultant Glen Singleton (left photo), bringing the total number of people who have undergone this transformative training to well over 120. The goal of the conversations is to bring the college community to an understanding of the pervasiveness and debilitating effects of white privilege and institutional racism.

 

We share from the heart, we experience discomfort even pain, we cry, we realize betrayal, we try to deny, we get angry, and then we come to an understanding about the world as we’ve never seen it before. This understanding, this breaking down of the barriers, this new sense of community has been the reason for the renewal on campus.

 

Glen Singleton has also been on campus to speak to students in November and to consult with President’s Staff in April. Five weekly Courageous Conversations have grown out of this and last year’s efforts. The facilitators and participants volunteered one hour of their time weekly to continue to explore the issues and to build an ethical and humane environment where true learning can take place. Research has shown that these conversations are the most effective way of overcoming institutional racism.

 

BCC is definitely on the cutting edge of this kind of initiative and many are looking to see how the institution will evolve as a model for all higher education institutions. Coming up next year, Courageous Conversations will integrate efforts with the Diversity Caucus to create a learning lab for antiracism. As testament to the innovation being fostered here at BCC, Courageous Conversation/Diversity Caucus participants will be presenting and writing about this new and innovative approach and its effect on institutional outcomes.

 

Courageous Conversation facilitators, Diane Douglas, Robin Jeffers and Kim Pollock, have already presented elements of the Courageous Conversation initiative at national and state conferences this past year. More national presentations are earmarked for next year starting in October with Diane Douglas, Myra Van Vactor and Leslie Lum.

 

Thanks to the fabulous Courageous Conversation facilitators including: Lucy Macneil, Stephanie Sloan, Ed Biggers, Jennifer McCarthy, Robin Jeffers, Diane Douglas, Steve Wiseman, Helen Taylor, Rossie Norris, Jim Bennett, Scott Bessho, Sayumi Irey, Kim Pollock, Matt Groshong, Suzy LePeintre, Cora Nixon, Susan Cox,  and many more. Thanks especially to the leadership and strategic vision of Akemi Matsumoto (right photo above).

 

For all those interested, updated listings of Courageous Conversations will be periodically sent to the community by email.

 

Employee Pluralism

BCC bites, videotapes and the pecking order.

Under the capable leadership of Becky Turnbull, the Employee Pluralism Committee has hosted on number of sessions on the issue of pecking order at BCC. The sessions and follow-up work has done much to identify barriers to the collaborative teamwork that is necessary to create excellence and a true meritocracy at BCC. Efforts by the committee led to requiring a diverse candidate pool for the upcoming faculty hires. It also advocated more transparency in short-term appointments.

 

In addition, the committee sponsored many social events that drew the campus closer together including the film, Wedding Banquet, and the wildly-successful second annual BCC Bites featuring the multicultural culinary artistry of our community and organized by Cora Nixon. The event drew 180 people. Kudos also to Juan Ulloa, Louis Watanabe, Paul Weatherly, Akemi Matsumoto, Emily Fisher, Susan Jamieson, and Lucy Macneil.

 

Pluralism in the Curriculum

True pluralism and an antiracist environment linked with rigorous and deep learning that starts at the heart--radical breakthroughs in higher education.

 

Kim Pollock (far left photo) continues to lead the development of innovative curriculum in creating and implementing the Ethnic and Cultural Studies department. She will be turning over the reins to Sayumi Irey (third from right) for next year. With virtually no financial resources, the department has mounted and offered five new courses: Race in the United States, Introduction to White Culture in United States, Introduction to Women's Studies, Introduction to Asian American Studies, Literature of Indigenous Cultures, and Ethnic Experiences in Art & Music. Antiracism is being integrated into other curriculum as well. Students experience transformation in Scott Bessho’s (second from left) online course on white privilege. Sayumi Irey and Nancy Eichner started the course Race Matters. Robin Jeffers continues to integrate Courageous Conversation tenets in her important assessment work. Suzy Lepeintre used Courageous Conversation concepts in her writing course. Donna Meek created a great assignment which integrated Phil Lucas' Healing the Hurts with On the Rez. Diane Douglas (second from right) worked tirelessly all year to disseminate BCC Reads assignments to all faculty.

Stella Williams’ (center) courses and guest lectures have made us aware of how racism and white dominance affects Nigeria and world environmental issues. The Diversity Caucus is proud to have assisted in the publication of the monographs from her environmental science class which showed the extraordinary student work that can result from the combination of an intellectually challenging professor and a “track one” curriculum.  

Additionally, Multicultural Consulting, offered out of the Business Division was the winner of 2004 Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Collaboration Award - Business and Industry from the Community College National Center of Community Engagement. Leslie Lum (left photo below with Margaret Turcott, right) received the award from Lyvier Conss, Executive Director at the national conference in Phoenix. She is working with Thad Spratlen and Michael Verchot at the University of Washington to write a book that explores the assertion of multicultural communities on entrepreneurship and the marketplace. For more information on the course and award see: http://facweb.bcc.ctc.edu/llum/Consulting/ConsultingHome.htm

Members of the Diversity Caucus and Courageous Conversations continue to explore antiracist methods for teaching, learning and assessment in the classroom and beyond. Many of these efforts are understandably met with resistance by those who don’t understand how the dominance of one perspective can stifle true learning and academic excellence. Fostering the capability of the college to change and adopt new paradigms is key to the currency and relevancy of our curriculum. We applaud the efforts of all these pioneering faculty.

Phil Lucas Talks

Profoundly moving films that document the American Indian experience.

In conjunction with the Center for Liberal Arts, the Diversity Caucus has presented a series of five sessions with our own Phil Lucas (far left). In this series, Phil showed and discussed a few of his award-winning films. Storytellers of the Pacific, an ambitious international two-part series on the oral traditions of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Rim, premiered on PBS in December 1996.  Vis-à-vis Native Tongues delves into the lives of two indigenous artists, Ningali Lawford of Australia and James Luna of the US. Throughout a four-day period, the artists use an interactive video link to share dialogue, performances, and video diaries. This film premiered at the Museum of American Indian in New York on December 4, 2003 and was broadcast (nationally but not locally) on PBS. It has won the Cine Golden Eagle Award. Most wrenching of all was Healing the Hurts. This video spotlights the effects of the government’s policy of “assimilation through education” in which Native American children were removed from their homes and put into residential boarding schools. The schools were started in the 1880s and continued their operation into the first half of the 20th century in both the United States and Canada. Since then, Native American children have been subject to removal from their homes for placement in foster or adoptive homes, usually far from their parents and relatives.

 

It is impossible to attend one of Phil’s movies and not be profoundly touched by the people and experiences he documents. Each film sparks intense audience discussion about oppression and indigenous people. We are amazed at the stories. To be able to discuss all this with the filmmaker is an extraordinary windfall of learning about race, culture, and life.

 

 

American Indian Film Festival

Shaking our faith in traditional pedagogy and showing us how much we need to learn.

An estimated 900 from our community attended the events of the second annual BCC American Indian Film Festival which included a performance by the American Indian Dance Theatre. The supremely talented, gorgeous, articulate, and humble AIDT dancers (far left) gave an extraordinary demonstration of spirit and grace.

Charlotte Black Elk's (center photo between Zandra Apple and Phil Lucas) appearance on campus shook our faith in the pedagogy that forms the basis of most of our teaching. Charlotte Black Elk's life-long passion to provide scientific evidence for Lakota rituals shows us the importance of folklore, which is often discounted as superstition, in elucidating natural phenomenon. Her efforts as part of the National Science Foundation (including proving that lightning comes from the earth as stated in Lakota mythology) has led to a scientific method of inquiry being named after her. Her discussion of the oral tradition, that was instrumental in preserving Lakota history and language, made us question our heavy reliance on written English text. Indeed how else could 41 generations of history passed down from woman to woman have been preserved in a country where the dominant culture was intent on wiping it out.? Her insistence that only those who understand the language and culture can write knowledgeably about the American Indian makes us want to educate ourselves more deeply.

Hanay Geiogamah (far right photo) gave us a rare insider glimpse at the state of American Indian film including the broad extent of his mentorship and his thoughts about the future. The image of American Indians and other people of color has been much maligned in mainstream films. It is important to support the efforts of filmmakers like Hanay in creating high quality alternatives.

Along with these speakers, Phil Lucas selected a provocative program of films that included Paha Sapa and Incident at Oglala. This selection showed the vast complexity of recent history and issues surrounding the Lakota. Our undying gratitude to Phil Lucas who set the bar tremendously high for this festival. Phil's vast knowledge and his superb reputation allowed us to have this world-class event with a budget one-tenth of what it would have cost under any other circumstances. The internationally renown speakers and performers contributed about $20,000 in in-kind fees as a consideration to Phil. The BCC community contributed another $5,000 in services and food contributions. Phil’s constant striving for the best, which is much evident in his films, made us all work past the capability we thought possible. Mounting this world-class event showed that we were world-class as well.

Washington State has one of the largest concentration of American Indians and BCC sits on Snoqualmie land; yet many of us have scant understanding of this important community. The series was developed to show the depth and breadth of knowledge necessary to understand American Indians. Their political, legal, social, psychological, economic, and environmental issues are monumental to the American landscape and, in many cases, provide a warning signal to us all.

For more information on the schedule and speakers see: www.bcc.ctc.edu/diversitycaucus/AIFF/AIFF.htm

Integration of Diversity Caucus Into Other College Events

 

The Diversity Caucus worked throughout the year to integrate pluralism and antiracism issues into other programs within the college. Brian Yorkey spoke on the Wedding Banquet in October, courtesy of the Village Theatre and how a "white guy" ended up writing lyrics and books for for ground-breaking Asian American theatre such as Making Tracks and Wedding Banquet.

Alan Yabui arranged for a presentation by Janine Bowechop of the Makah Cultural and Research Center.

Rion Ramirez (right photo), lawyer, spoke on American Indian environmental issues as part of the Earth Week events to an overflowing room of students.

At Judy Woo’s suggestion, Student Programs mounted Dance Week (left photo), a multicultural dance fest, which turned out to be one of its most popular events. Thanks to Faisal Jaswal and Student Programs for their support of Diversity Caucus events during the year. Coming up next year, plans to have a multicultural fair in conjunction with the American Indian Film Festival.

Thanks to Ron Taplin who arranged to have the dynamic and relevant Tim Wise speak at our Martin Luther King celebration and to Judy Woo who secured the funding.

 

The Diversity Caucus wishes to acknowledge the hard work of its co-chairs, Judy Woo and Donna Meek for vision, strategic planning and flawless execution. Special kudos go to Judy Woo who cooked, arranged, calmed, counseled, secured numerous grants, managed finances, fixed problems, ran interference, was reachable 24/7, and who never said "no" to anything.

 

 

We've come a long way this year and have many accomplishments to be proud of. With every award and recognition, we set the bar higher as to what we need to achieve in the next. year. There is no going back.