Free and Open to All

The public is invited to celebrate and explore diversity and contemporary social justice issues during Unity Through Diversity Week at Highline College, April 25–29, 2016.

Now in its 19th year, the weeklong program looks at the diversity of the south King County community in all forms: race, gender, class, sexual orientation, ability and religion.

United by the theme “Rewiring Our Minds: Reconnecting Our Roots Across Invisible Borders,” Unity Through Diversity Week will include free lectures and workshops by guest speakers and campus experts.

Doris Martinez

Doris Martinez

“This year’s program focuses on dismantling what is blocking humanity from connecting authentically,” said Doris Martinez, who is one of the organizers of the event and Highline’s Director of Student Diversity and Inclusion.

“With the various challenges our global community faces, our planning committee is deeply committed to providing our community the space to partake in conversations regarding various topics highlighted throughout the week, but also to celebrate the strengths of our diverse intersections.”

Unity Through Diversity Week is sponsored by Multicultural Affairs and the Center for Leadership and Service.


Doris Martinez: (206) 592-4319 or
Multicultural Affairs: (206) 592-3296 or

Event Schedule

All events are free and open to the public and will be held on Highline’s main campus.

Monday, April 25, 2016

“Learning and Teaching the Truth of the Last 500 Years of Colonialism”

Lecture by Olin Tezcatlipoca, Director of Mexica Movement
9–10:30 a.m.
Building 7

Olin Tezcatlipoca will discuss how to begin rewiring our colonized minds and reconnecting to our true roots across invisible borders by learning and teaching the truth of the last 500 years of colonialism on this continent. He will focus on the miseducation of non-European people, and those of European descent on this continent and in the United States.

During his talk, Tezcatlipoca will present a short outline of the unknown, and hidden, pre-1492 history of cities, civilizations, and scientific and other accomplishments on this continent by the Nican Tlaca (the indigenous people) of this continent, with the goal of breaking the lies of “savages and a people with no history and no accomplishments.”


“Learning and Teaching Truth As a Solution to the Colonized Minds That We Have Inherited”

Workshop by Olin Tezcatlipoca, Director of Mexica Movement
1:30–3 p.m.
Building 8, Mt. Constance room

Olin Tezcatlipoca will introduce five books that will help begin the difficult task of rewiring colonized minds. The books will serve to help us understand that solutions to our colonized condition will be difficult, but must be done with discipline or nothing will progress from our present conditions in the coming non-European majority of the United States.

We will learn that learning and teaching truth and making demands for justice is what brought about the abolition of slavery, the women’s movement, the labor movement and the end to European direct colonization of most of the world. Europeans still have indirect colonial control of most of the world through control of media, commerce, monetary systems and a world cultural focus on European interests.

The books recommended will serve as a foundation to learning and teaching solutions to the ignorance of self, stereotypes, a media that serves the interests of maintaining our colonized lives, the Eurocentric education system, and the poverty of minds and living conditions that the majority of non-European people in the United States live and suffer under.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

“Intersections of Oppression: An African American Muslim Perspective”

Lecture by Imam Benjamin Shabaaz
10–11:30 a.m.
Building 7

Media portrayal of Islamic faith continues to saturate negatively across media forums, causing misconceptions of its teachings and rich diversity. In this lecture, Imam Benjamin Shabaaz will discuss the intersections of race, religion, media influence and how we as a global community can begin to dismantle what is fabrication from reality.

Poetry Reading

Reading by Rick Barot
11 a.m.–12 p.m.
Building 8, Mt. Constance room

Award-winning poet Rick Barot will give a reading in conjunction with National Poetry Month, an annual celebration at Highline College.

“LGBTQIA Safe Zones, Part 1”

Workshop by LGBTQIA Taskforce
12:30–3 p.m.
Building 2

Safe Zones is Highline College’s peer-led LGBTQIA inclusivity training program. This workshop will present the first of a two-part training.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

“Bystander Intervention”

Workshop by Barbara Talkington, Highline Multicultural Leadership Advisor, and Richelle Enriquez, Associated Students of Highline College Vice President
11 a.m.–12:50 p.m.
Building 2

Witnessing someone being harassed or bullied can leave many of us feeling helpless because we do not know how to respond. Developing bystander intervention strategies empower us to take action. In this interactive workshop, we will use Forum Theater to explore real stories and build our confidence to step in and support each other.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

“Indigenous Thoughts on Borders: Clearwater”

Lecture and film presented by Tracy Rector of Longhouse Media
11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Building 7

Tracy Rector of Longhouse Media will share how borders have been crossed through canoe journeys, tribal movements, indigenous views of immigration and the environmental impact of ocean acidification. She will share a variety of film clips including her newest creation called “Clearwater,” a nonfiction film about the health of the Salish Sea (Puget Sound) and the unique relationship of the tribal people to the water. Join us as we meet geoduck divers, listen to elders, travel with fishermen, learn from biologists and explore with youth as we come to understand the beauty of the region’s culture and the impending impacts of ocean acidification.

“The Leap: From Ordinary to Extraordinary”

Workshop by Jeffon Seely
1:30–3 p.m.
Building 8, Mt. Constance room

Within us all lies unbound potential. This workshop by Jeffon Seely will provide the leaders of the next generation with practical tools to bring their dreams from ideas into reality by breaking down barriers both within and without, connecting deeper with our roots, expanding our minds and showing up authentically each day of our life.

Friday, April 29, 2016

“Syrians Also Have Dreams: Refugees, Islamophobia, and Media Misrepresentations of the Syrian War”

Lecture by authors Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami
10–11:30 a.m.
Building 7

Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami will discuss their new book, “Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War.” Journalist Hassan Hassan said it is “poised to become the definitive book not only on the continuing Syrian conflict but on the country and its society as a whole.”

“Burning Country” is a vivid and groundbreaking look at a political and humanitarian nightmare. It explores the horrific and complicated reality of life in Syria today with unprecedented detail and sophistication, drawing on firsthand testimonies from human rights activists, opposition fighters, exiles lost in an archipelago of refugee camps and others.

Their talk at Highline will tie in these developments to the way prevailing attitudes about Muslims have influenced the way the conflict has been narrated in Western media, and in particular, how the democratic struggle at the heart of the conflict has gone nearly unnoticed in the midst of fears of terrorism and suspicions about refugees.


“Exploring Social Interactions Beyond Invisible Borders”

Workshop by Dr. Leticia Nieto and Yvette D. Murrell
2–4 p.m.
Building 8, Mt. Constance room

On our collective journey, persons—and parts of self—who experience marginalization must be reconnected, welcomed and hosted well. What do we lose when we are given the message that we do not belong? How do we get ourselves back? What conditions invite authentic connection? This two-hour workshop will use anti-oppression informed experiential and movement-based activities to invite deep belonging.