Cultural Awareness Series

The Twentieth Annual

2013-2014 Cultural Awareness Series

Over the past 20 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: Christine Chavez

Wednesday, Sept. 25 | 7 p.m. | Lee Hall, room 411


Chavez-Christine1   Christine Chavez has a made a lifetime commitment to civil rights, the labor movement, and community organizing. Today, Christine works for the United States Department of Agriculture where she serves as the Farmworker Coordinator. Prior to that, she served as the United Farm Workers’ political director. Christine once heard her grandfather, Cesar Chavez, say “we don’t need perfect political systems, we need perfect participation.” Taking it to heart she has come to master the art of modern day campaigning and community organizing. Latina Magazine recently named Christine as one of their top Latinas for her longtime involvement with civil rights issues; particularly, her work on marriage equality.

Gender and Sexual Minorities and Allies (GSMA) Cultural Celebration Keynote Performer: Invincible

Monday, Oct. 21| 7 p.m. | The Underground, Lee Hall

invincible - Doug Coombe

It is truly rare to find an artist like Invincible. Their spitfire wordplay has received acclaim from fans all across the world, while their active involvement in progressive social change has taken their music beyond entertainment toward actualizing the change they wish to see. As a co-founder of EMERGENCE Media, they released their debut album ShapeShifters (2008) and produced award winning videos like The Revival (2009) about women in hip-hop, and Locusts (2008) exploring displacement and gentrification in Detroit. They have performed on stages and in clubs, community centers, campuses, pride celebrations, and festivals around the world for over a decade, both as a solo artist, and featured as part of the anti-misogyny Hip-Hop collective ANOMOLIES. In addition to their work as a performing artist, for the last decade Invincible has worked with Detroit Summer, a multi-racial, inter-generational collective in Detroit that is transforming communities through youth facilitative leadership, creativity and collective action. They were also the co-coordinator and co-founder of the Detroit Future Youth network to support social justice and media-based youth projects throughout the city. Invincible is currently working with renown producer Waajeed (Bling47/DIRT TECH RECK), multimedia artist and creative technologist Carlos Garcia, and visual artist Wesley Taylor on Complex Movements, an interactive multimedia installation based hip-hop collective exploring the relationship between complex sciences and social justice movements.

Asian Cultural Celebration Keynote Performer: Taikoza—Japanese Drum & Bamboo Flute

Tuesday, Oct. 29| 7 p.m. | Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall


143     A phenomenal group of musicians and dancers, Taikoza has dazzled audiences worldwide with its electrifying performances. Drawing from Japan’s complex tradition of music, Taikoza has created a rich repertoire incorporating a variety of musical instruments. Founded in 1995 by former members of the internationally acclaimed taiko group, Ondekoza, Taikoza is more than a percussion group. Performing on drums hollowed out from a solid piece of zelkova wood, the group creates a new sound using shakuhachi (bamboo flutes) and the Koto, a thirteen stringed instrument. Taikoza has appeared on different TV programs such as Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, the History Channel in “History vs. Hollywood” and ESPN S.U.M.O: The battle of the Giants. Taikoza is featured in the movie The Commute.

Taste of Asia

Friday, Nov. 1| 7 p.m. | Great Hall, Woodard Campus Center

Co-sponsored by the Asian Student Association


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 Performer: Alexandria Kleztet

Friday, Nov. 15 | 7 p.m. | The Underground, Lee Hall


Kleztet PLC photo    Alexandria Kleztet is the Mid-Atlantic’s premier Jewish Klezmer band. Klezmer, Jewish folk music from Eastern Europe, has a long standing tradition in Jewish communities around the world. Klezmer is a musical tradition played by professional musicians called klezmorim. The genre originally consisted largely of dance tunes and instrumental display pieces for weddings and other celebrations. New arrangements of traditional melodies and original songs by members of the band draw upon jazz, classical, world beat, rock and other musical genres to create a unique and entertaining sound. Dedicated to the preservation of this centuries old tradition, the Alexandria Kleztet have received the Washington Area Music Association’s (WAMA) award for “Best World Music Group” in 2003, 2004, and 2006. The band is based in the Washington/Baltimore area and has performed annually at the Kennedy Center and regular concerts at the Peabody Institute. They began touring internationally in 2007 with an appearance at the Semanas Musicales festival in Chile.

Native American Cultural Keynote Speaker: Dr. Mario Garza

Wednesday, Nov. 20| 7 p.m. | Lee Hall, room 411

Garza_lecture     Dr. Mario Garza is an elder of the Meakan/Garzas Band of the Coahuiltecan people indigenous to the Texas and northeastern Mexico area. Since childhood, he has had an intense interest in art and music and is now an accomplished artist in sculpture, watercolors, pottery and flute playing. After serving two tours in Vietnam, Dr. Garza attended the University of Houston and Michigan State University, earning his Ph.D. in Political Science. He currently researches and presents educational lectures about Native Americans and has decades of involvement in the Native American community, including repatriation of remains, successful development of indigenous nonprofits, re-establishment of ceremonial sites, Native arts and events, and political issues.



Thursday, Dec. 5 | 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

**Cancelled due to inclement weather**

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

Sponsored by the Office of the President


green_ernest(300)Ernest Green was one of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who, in 1957, were the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Green was the first African American student to graduate from the school in 1958. In 1965, Green became involved in employment law with a building-trade apprenticeship for the Adolph Institute, a project to help minority women in the South find opportunities for professional careers, and later directed the A. Phillip Randolph Education Fund from 1968 to 1976. Between 1977 and 1981, he served as assistant secretary in the Labor Department under President Carter and has worked in the private sector for consulting firms in corporate America since 1981. In 1999, he and the other people of the Little Rock Nine were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor given to a civilian, for outstanding bravery during the integration of Little Rock Central High School, by President Bill Clinton.


Black History Month Keynote Speaker: Angela Rye

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

** Rescheduled due to inclement weather**

Monday, February 24 | 7 p.m. | Monroe Hall, room 116


a.rye 1     Angela Rye is a Principal at IMPACT Strategies and has been recognized as one of the most dynamic, young leaders on Capitol Hill. She has been featured on MSNBC, TV One, C-SPAN, BET as well as in The Root 100, MSNBC’s “BLTWY Power List: 35 Under 35 Who Changed DC”, the Washington Post “Who Runs Gov”, and recognized as one of DC’s Most Influential. In 2011, Rye became the youngest woman Executive Director and first General Counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus. In her role as Executive Director, Rye was tasked with developing the overall legislative and political strategy for the CBC.


Step Show Competition

Saturday, Feb. 22 | 7 p.m. | Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall

Cost: $5 general admission/at the door, $2 UMW students, faculty, and staff pre-sale.


Stepping 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: Regina Barr

Wednesday, March 19 | 7 p.m. | Lee Hall, room 411


Regina_low2     Founder and CEO of Red Ladder, Regina Barr regales her audiences by providing them with hands-on knowledge combined with the practical wisdom and relevant stories gained through successfully navigating the financial services industry for more than 18 years. These attributes earned her recognition as one of Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s “40 Twin Cities professionals under 40 years old” for her business accomplishments and community contributions. Her background includes more than 18 years of leadership experience in the corporate sector in product, sales and marketing. Her primary goal has always been to develop people and inspire success. She is the past Foundation Chair of Financial Women International, and is actively involved in the Breast Cancer Awareness Association, Women Achieving New Direction and other organizations.


Islamic Cultural Celebration Banquet Keynote Speaker: Salma Elkadi Abugideiri

Thursday, April 3| 6 p.m. | Faculty/Staff Dining Room, Seacobeck Hall
Co-sponsored by the Islamic Student Association

Salma Abugideiri1Salma Elkadi Abugideiri is Co-Director of the Peaceful Families Project, an organization dedicated to educating Muslim community leaders and members about domestic violence. Salma provides educational workshops and develops resources related to domestic violence among Muslims. She is a contributing author to several books including Walking Together: Working with Women from Diverse Religious Traditions, and Change from Within: Diverse Perspectives on Domestic Violence in Muslim Communities. She has also co-authored a brief guide for helping professionals entitled What Islam Says About Domestic Violence. In addition, she is associate producer of the video Garments for One Another: Ending Domestic Violence in Muslim Families. She is also a member of the Interfaith Coalition against Domestic Violence, a national effort with a focus on guiding policy and legislation that supports domestic violence survivors.

24th Annual Multicultural Fair

April 12− rain or shine | 10 a.m. − 5 p.m. | UMW 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.


Tuesday, April 15 | 6 p.m. | Faculty/Staff Dining Room, Seacobeck Hall

Cost: UMW students, 1 meal + 2 flex; UMW faculty, staff, and general public, $6.

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.