Cultural Awareness Series

The 21st Annual

2014-2015 Cultural Awareness Series

Over the past 21 years, the Cultural Awareness Series has grown more successful and has become highly anticipated thanks to your continued support.  We invite you to join us for a new and exciting year.  The speakers and performances scheduled for this year’s Cultural Awareness Series aim to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of diversity in race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, age, and culture.

The James Farmer Multicultural Center strives to honor the late Dr. James L. Farmer and to keep his legacy alive.  Dr. Farmer was a dynamic civil rights leader and advocate for social change, and we hope that the Cultural Awareness Series helps members of the Mary Washington family and surrounding community to appreciate all aspects of diversity.

The James Farmer Multicultural Center believes that one way of educating about culture is through the arts.  Arts allow individuals to see culture through a fresh lens.  Artist Abby Willowroot said it best; “Art speaks the soul of its culture.”  By highlighting the distinctiveness of culture through such media as poetry, theater, music, food, literature, and dance, the James Farmer Multicultural Center hopes to help students grasp new and meaningful concepts about culture.

As the world becomes increasingly globalized, we hope that the programs in the Cultural Awareness Series open minds among all individuals to appreciate our differences and commonalities.  We also hope that our programs will encourage dialogue about these topics.  The programs in our series are collaborative partnerships.  Thanks to the offices acknowledged in this brochure, we are able to sponsor this inspiring line-up of authors, performers, pioneers, and activists.  We thank you in advance for considering this invitation to join us in celebrating diversity.

With best wishes and kind regards,

The James Farmer Multicultural Center Staff

Latino Identities Month Keynote Speaker: Shayla Rivera

Thursday, Sept. 25 | 7 p.m. | Lee Hall, the Underground

Comedian Sheila Rivera Appears at The Ice House.Formerly a NASA aerospace engineer, Shayla Rivera has made a name for herself as a TV host, emcee, comedian, actor, writer, producer, keynote speaker, seminar facilitator, panel moderator, and awareness expert.  Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Rivera discovered a passion for science and machinery and a knack for fixing things.  Those interests later led to her work on McDonnell Douglas Space Systems’ shuttle and space station programs at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.  After eight years, Rivera Left NASA to pursue an enduring interest in psychology and, while conducting seminars, realized she had a flair for comedy.  After a weekend class on stand-up comedy and a successful five-minute performance, she reached a personal turning point.  Seemingly overnight, Rivera became a regular at comedy clubs across the country.  On television, she has appeared in Comics Unleashed, Extreme Fakeover, Funny is Funny, National Lampoon’s Funny Money, and other shows.  She has also been featured in Paul Rodriguez’s Latino All-Stars of Comedy and the Comedy Central special Comedy Rehab with Paul Rodriguez.  Rivera has headlined Telemundo’s Latino Comedy Jam, as well as entertainment programs for Univision and Galavision.  She won the city of Los Angeles’ 2004 Mario Moreno Cantinflas Award, which recognized her community involvement and ability as a performer to “represent the Latino community with the same humor as the great Cantinflas.”  In 2007, Rivera received the President’s Volunteer Service Award, presented by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.


Gender and Sexual Minorities and Allies (GSMA) Cultural Celebration Keynote Speaker: Mara Keisling

Tuesday, October 21 | 7 p.m. | Lee Hall, Room 411

MaraKeisling2A transgender-identified woman and a parent, Mara Keisling is founding executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE).  Since its inception in 2003, the center has been a part of a coalition of efforts that has led to significant advances in transgender equality.  Keisling, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Penn State, went on to pursue graduate studies in American government at Harvard.  With nearly a quarter century in opinion research and social marketing, she appears often on the news and is frequently quoted in both print and broadcast media.

Asian Cultural Celebration Keynote Performer: Onoe Ryu Dance Enterprises

Sunday, October 26 | 4 p.m. | Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall

Onoe Yubuki 600dpiEstablished in 1996 and hailed as a leader in the effort to preserve Japanese Culture, Onoe Ryu Dance Enterprises aims to bring “Japan to the audience…and the audience to Japan.”  Onoe, a style of Japanese classical dance, melds sophisticated turns and colorful silk with diverse modern-world artistic genres and inspiring choreography to represent Japanese history and traditions.  Directed by Shihan Oneo Kikuyuki, the dancers’ powerful imagery and graceful movements are meant to evoke the truths and emotions all cultures share.  Kikyuki holds the natori certification to perform and the shihan certification to teach, granted by Tokyo’s most distinguished Onoe school of Japanese dance.

Taste of Asia

Saturday, Nov. 1| 6 p.m. | Anderson Center

Co-sponsored by the Asian Student Association.  For cost information, please contact the James Farmer Multicultural Center.


taste of asia     Taste of Asia is an annual celebration of Asian culture.  This event educates the community about different aspects of Asian cultures and lifestyles through a fashion show, dance performances, and a variety of ethnic foods.

Jewish Cultural Celebration Keynote Speaker: Dr. Vanessa Ochs

Wednesday, November 12 | 7 p.m. | Lee Hall, room 411

Vanessa Ochs vlo4nVanessa L. Ochs, author of Inventing Jewish Ritual (Jewish Publication Society), won the National Jewish Book Award in 2007 and was awarded a Creative Writing Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts.  A professor in the University of Virginia’s Department of Religious Studies and Jewish Studies Program, Ochs teaches Judaism, spiritual writing, and anthropology.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in drama and French from Tufts University, a master of fine arts degree in theater from Sarah Lawrence College, and a Ph.D. in anthropology of religion from Drew University.  Other books by Ochs include Sarah Laughed; Worlds on Fire: One Woman’s Journey Into the Sacred; Safe and Sound: Protecting Your Child in an Unpredictable World; the Jewish Dream Book, co-authored by daughter Elizabeth Ochs; and The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices, edited with American rabbi and author Irwin Kula.

Native American Cultural Keynote Speaker: Dr. Scott Stevens

Thursday, November 20 | 7:30 p.m. | Lee Hall, room 411

Co-sponsored by the Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication, Department of History and American Studies, and the James Farmer Multicultural Center.

Scott  StevensA citizen of the Akwesasne Mohawk nation, Scott Manning Stevens is associate professor of Native American studies and director of the Native American Studies Program at Syracuse University.  He also has taught at Arizona State, SUNY Buffalo, Notre Dame, and other universities, and recently directed the Newberry Library’s D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies in Chicago.  With a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Harvard University, Stevens has held several fellowships at major archives, including a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brown University.  His interests include the political and aesthetic issues that surround museums and indigenous material culture, and the diplomatic and cultural strategies of resistance among North American Indians in the face of European and American settler colonialism.  The author of many book chapters, articles, and exhibition catalogue essays, he has lectured broadly in the United States and beyond.


Thursday, Dec. 4 | 6 p.m. | Faculty/Staff Dining Room, Seacobeck Hall
Co-sponsored by the Black Student Association



As a means of unifying the African and African-American communities, Dr. Maulana  Karenga established Kwanzaa, a non-religious holiday celebrating and honoring African culture and heritage throughout the world.  A seven-day celebration, Kwanzaa features candle lighting, pouring of libations, and the culminating feast and gift giving.  Please join us as we partake in the activities and rituals of Kwanzaa and enjoy a feast together.

The University of Mary Washington Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Keynote Speaker: Ernest Green

Wednesday, Jan. 21| 7 p.m. | Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall

Sponsored by the Office of the President






Ernest Green was among a group of African Americans called the Little Rock Nine.  In 1957, they were the first black students to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas.  When he finished the following year, Green became the school’s first African-American graduate.  Several years later, he delved into employment law, securing a building-trade apprenticeship with the Adolph Institute, which aimed to uncover professional careers and opportunities for minority women in the South.  Green, who now works for American corporate consulting firms, directed the A. Philip Randolph Educational Fund from 1968 to 1976 and served as assistant secretary in the Labor Department under President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981.  In 1999, Green, along with the other members of the Little Rock nine, received the highest honor awarded to a civilian, the Congressional Gold Medal.  Presented by then-President Bill Clinton, the award recognized Green’s bravery during integration at Little Rock High School.

Black History Month Keynote Speaker: Judge Glenda Hatchett

Wednesday, February 11 | 7 p.m. | Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall

C.G_Hatchett.5_06_01  015Judge Glenda Hatchett is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Emory University School of Law, where she was an Earl Warren Scholar.  Judge Hatchett completed a prestigious federal clerkship in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and then spent nearly 10 years at Delta, where she was the airlines highest-ranking African-American woman.  In 1990, Judge Hatchett was appointed chief presiding judge of Atlanta’s Fulton County Juvenile Court, becoming the first African-American chief presiding judge of a Georgia state court and head of one of the country’s largest juvenile court systems.  Currently, Judge Hatchett presides over the two-time Emmy nominated nationally syndicated show, Judge Hatchett, now in its 11th season,  She won a Prism Award for best unscripted non-fiction series or special for television and is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the District of Columbia Bar, and numerous boards across the country.  A legal contributor on national news outlets including CNN, FOX News, and the TODAY show, she is the author of the national best sellers Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say! and Dare to Take Charge.  Hatchett has received numerous awards including the Roscoe Pound Award for outstanding work in criminal justice and the NAACP’s Thurgood Marshall Award.  Moreover, she has consistently shown her commitment to community development through her service on nonprofit boards including: the National Board of Governors of the Boys and Girls Club of America, the Board of Advisors for Play Pumps International, the Leadership Circle for the Afterschool Alliance, and the Advisory Board for the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College.

Step Show Competition  **Canceled**

Saturday, February 21 | 7 p.m. | Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall

Cost: $7 general admission, $5 UMW students, faculty, and staff.

steppingStepping began in the early 1900s.  Today, the dance form uses the entire body to resonate complex rhythmic beats and sounds.  Join area high school teams for this high-energy, entertaining competition.

Women’s History Month Keynote Speaker: Dr. Anita Taylor

Wednesday, March 18 | 7 p.m. | Lee Hall, room 411

taylorA well-known speaker and workshop leader in the field of communication, Dr. Anita Taylor is an expert on such topics as gender and language and communication, women as communicators, and public speaking.  She has coached debate and taught at the university level for more than four decades, working since 1979 at George Mason University, where she is professor emerita of communication and a member of the women and gender studies faculty.  The winner of the National Communication Association’s (NCA) inaugural Francine Meritt Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Lives of Women in Communication in 1991, Taylor was named the Virginia Association of Communication Arts and Science’s 1996 Communicator of the Year.  She won a 2000 NCA award for distinguished service and the 2002 inaugural Feminist Teacher/Mentor Award from the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender.  Taylor recently collaborated with linguist M.J. Hardman of Making the Invisible Visible: Gender in Language on a Web publication that includes teaching and learning materials illustrating how language and gender interact to impact communication.  The author of many articles and speeches, Taylor has published two editions of Speaking in Public and several editions of the popular Communicating textbook.

Islamic Cultural Celebration Banquet Keynote Speaker: Noor Tagouri

Thursday, April 2 | 6 p.m. | Faculty/Staff Dining Room, Seacobeck Hall

Co-sponsored by the Islamic Student Association

Noor HeadshotSince her #letnoorshine campaign, launched in 2012, went viral, Noor Tagouri has become one of the most talked about young adults in America.  The first generation Libyan-American aims to expose the cultural injustices and challenges experienced by women around the globe.  Her efforts to quash stereotypes and encourage others to pursue their dreams in a multi-cultural society have garnered international attention and a social media following of more than 100,000.  After graduating from a top journalism school at age 20, Tagouri already has gained coveted spots as an associate journalist for CBS radio in Washington, D.C., and as a local news reporter for CTV News in the D.C. metro area.  A motivational speaker, she delivers weekly Ustream discussions, social media posts, and one-on-one mentoring.  Tagouri’s success and developing reputation as an important cultural figure is proof of what is possible when we dare to ask the right questions.


Tuesday, April 7 | 6 p.m. | Faculty/Staff Dining Room, Seacobeck Hall

For cost information please contact the James Farmer Multicultural Center. Co-sponsored by the Jewish Student Association.   

Passover is the Jewish celebratory feast that honors the emancipation of Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. Traditionally, Jewish families gather on the first few nights of Passover for dinner and the Seder ritual, in which a family or community retells the story of the liberation.

25th Annual Multicultural Fair

Saturday, April 11− rain or shine | 10 a.m. − 5 p.m. | UMW Fredericksburg campus

Each year, the Multicultural Fair attracts thousands and exemplifies UMW’s commitment to multicultural awareness. The fair provides an entire day packed with entertainment, children’s activities, international and American food, and ethnic arts and crafts.

Suggested Readings

Judge Glenda Hatchett*

Dare to Take Charge. Center Street/Hachette Book Group, 2010.

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say. Harper Collins, 2003.

Vanessa Ochs*

Inventing Jewish Ritual. Jewish Publication Society, 2007.

Sarah Laughed: Modern Lessons from the Wisdom and Stories of Biblical Women. McGraw Hill, 2004.

Anita Taylor* 

Conflict and Gender. Hampton Press Communication Series, 1994 (co-author – Judi Beinstein Miller).

Gender and Language: Making the Invisible Visible. Web publication with M. J. Hardman.

James Farmer**

Lay Bare the Heart: An Autobiography of the Civil Rights Movement. Penguin, 1986.

Khaled Hossenini

And the Mountains Echoed. Riverhead Hardcover, 2013

Peniel E. Joseph

Stokely: A Life. BasicCivitas Books, 2014.

Lorna Fitzsimmons and John A. Lent

Asian Popular Culture in Transition (Routledge Contemporary Asian Series). Routledge, 2013.

Carolyn Goodman, Brad Herzog, and Maya Angelou

My Mantelpiece: A Memoir of Survival and Social Justice. Why Not Books, 2014.

Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Random House, 1970.


* Cultural Awareness Speaker or Performer

** Late or current faculty member at the University of Mary Washington

Special Thanks

Alter Egos, Asian Student Association, Black Student Association, Black History Month Committee, Brothers of a New Direction, Campus Academic Resources Committee, Center for Honor, Leadership, & Service, Department of Athletics, Design Services, Diversity and Unity Coordinating Committee of the SGA, Eagle Bhangra, Facility Services, Feminists United on Campus, Framar International Living Community, Inter-Club Association, Islamic Student Association, Jewish Student Association, Latino Student Association, Multimedia Services, Office of the President, Office of Public Safety, Office of University Publications, People for the Rights of Individuals of Sexual Minorities, President’s Diversity Leadership Council, Simpson Library, Office of the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Student Activities and Engagement, Office of Student Involvement, Student Affairs, Students Educating and Empowering for Diversity, Student Life, UMW Praise Dance Team, University Bookstore, University Police Department, University Relations, Voices of Praise, Women’s History Month Committee, Women of Color.