Cultural Awareness Series

The 23rd Annual

2016-2017 Cultural Awareness Series

Over the past 23 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:  Antonio Gonzalez
Tuesday, September 27, 7:00 p.m., Digital Auditorium, Hurley Convergence Center (HCC)


Gender and Sexual Minorities and Allies (GSMA) Cultural Celebration Keynote Speaker: Kavindu Ade
Tuesday, October 25, 6:00 p.m., Lee Hall, The Underground


Asian Cultural Celebration Keynote Performer: Pilipino American Cultural Arts Society Dancers (Canceled!!)
Sunday, October 30 | 3 p.m. | Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall


Taste of Asia
Saturday, November 5, 6:00 p.m., The Chandler Ballroom, University 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: Chef Todd and Ellen Kassoff Gray
Monday, November 7, 6:00 p.m., Chandler Ballroom, University Center

Native American Cultural Keynote Speaker: Daniel Tramper, Cherokee Hoop Dancer
Thursday, November 17, 7:00 p.m., Chandler Ballroom, University Center


Thursday, November 30, 6:00 p.m., Chandler Ballroom, University Center
Co-sponsored by the Black Student Association


The University of Mary Washington Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Keynote Speaker: Attorney Bakari Sellers
Wednesday, Jan. 25, 7:00 p.m., Chandler Ballroom, University Center
Sponsored by the Office of the President


Black History Month Keynote Speaker: Maggie Anderson
Wednesday, February 10, 7 p.m., Digital Auditorium, Information & Technology Convergence Center


25th Annual Step Show
Saturday, February 18,  7:00 p.m., Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall
Cost: $7 general admission, $5 UMW students, faculty, and staff.


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


Women’s History Month Keynote Speaker: Marianne Schnall
Monday, March 20, 7 p.m., Lee Hall, room 411


26th Annual Multicultural Fair
Saturday, April 1− 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.


Islamic Cultural Celebration Banquet Keynote Speaker:  Dr. Safiya Samman
Thursday, April 6 | 6 p.m. | Chandler Ballroom, University Center

Co-sponsored by the Islamic Student Association


Tuesday, April 11, 6:00 p.m., Chandler Ballroom C, University Center
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.




Suggested Readings

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All Be Feminists. Anchor, 2015.

Americanah. Anchor, 2014.

Ann Bausum

Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights. Viking Books for Young Readers, 2015

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me. Spiegel & Grau, 2015.

James Farmer**

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

Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray *

The New Jewish Table: Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes. St. Martin’s Press, 2013.

Kristen Green

Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County: A Family, a Virginia Town, a Civil Rights Battle. Harper Collins, 2015.

Dan-el Padilla Peralta  

Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League. Penguin Press, 2015

Marianne Schnall *

What Will It Take to Make A Woman President?: Conversations About Women, Leadership and Power. Seal Press, 2013.

Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice. Blue Mountain Arts, 2010.

Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.  Little, Brown and Company, 2013


* 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.