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Sherman Alexie Among Notable Presenters for Unity Week

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2019-01-02T10:59:53+00:00 April 17, 2017|News, Previous Event|
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Sherman Alexie Among Notable Presenters for Unity Week

  • Unity Week at Highline College

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 24–28, 2017.

Among this year’s notable presenters will be Sherman Alexie, a National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author.

Alexie, who grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation, has published 26 books. He also wrote and co-produced the movie “Smoke Signals,” winner of the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie

“Our Highline Public Schools Native Education Program is proud to partner with Highline College on this special event. Alexie’s contributions to the world of arts and letters, the Native community throughout the U.S., and specifically our American Indian and Alaska Native students — members and descendants of modern sovereign tribal nations — are deeply valuable,” said Sara Marie Ortiz, who manages Highline Public Schools’ Native Education Program.

“Alexie provokes, delights, educates and challenges. We hope to do all of this and more with all of our Highline Public Schools Native Education programming. Alexie’s contributions at this event are a culmination and an exemplar of sorts, an expression and reminder of what should always be offered and accessed by our amazing creative intellectual Native community — and all our diverse communities — in South King County. This is just the beginning.

Alexie’s April 27 appearance is cosponsored and made possible by Highline Public Schools Native Education Program with additional support provided by the King County Library System and Highline College. (See event details below.)

Now in its 20th year, the free 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 “Intersections of Humanity: Action at the Crossroads,” Unity Through Diversity Week will include free lectures and workshops by a wide range of guest speakers and campus experts.

Doris Martinez, Highline’s Director of Student Diversity and Inclusion, said that while the community has been talking about diversity, intersectionality and inclusion, it is time to do more.

“We are at a critical point in our history where we must be bold in demanding social change. We hope this week serves as a space to celebrate our diversity and inspire our attendees to take action in their communities,” she said.

Unity Through Diversity Week is sponsored by Multicultural Affairs, Center for Leadership and Service, Highline’s Learning and Teaching Center, Highline’s AANAPISI program and AAPI Taskforce.


Doris Martinez: (206) 592-4319 or dmartinez@highline.edu
Multicultural Affairs: (206) 592-3296 or mca@highline.edu

Event Schedule

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

Monday, April 24, 2017

Nikkita Oliver10–11:30 a.m., Building 7
Workshop presented by Nikkita Oliver: “Telling Our Stories Is Resistance”

Humanity is a map of intersecting stories. Storytelling is one of the world’s oldest forms of resistance, survival and thriving. Storytelling and the arts is an incredible tool for building movements, shared analysis and transforming the narrative. Stories touch our hearts and as a result, they can move us to action.

Nikkita Oliver is a storyteller who will interweave spoken word poetry, storytelling, history and movement analysis into an inspiring presentation that will get you fired up to take action.

Jason Dorsette1:30–3 p.m., Building 8, Mt. Constance Room
Workshop presented by Jason Dorsette: “Some Call It a Mystery, I Call It My Identity: A Paradoxical and Intersectional Approach to Race and Gender Identities”

The experiences of race and sexuality continues to be a growing interest in the hearts and minds of many. This interactive workshop will encourage participants to share and listen to multiple truths and experiences, as it relates to the interconnectedness of identities. Employing some theory and applying intersectionality as core frameworks, participants will have an opportunity to listen, and share stories and experiences that helps center and celebrate the ability to hold multiple truths and identities. Jason Dorsette is Chief of Staff for Diversity and Cultural Engagement at Oregon State University.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Anthony Ocampo9–10:30 a.m., Building 7
Lecture by Dr. Anthony Ocampo: “The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino-Americans Break the Rules of Race”

Is race only about the color of your skin? In this talk, Dr. Anthony Ocampo focuses on Filipino-Americans to show that what “color” you are depends largely on your social context. Filipino-Americans are officially classified as Asian, but share many cultural characteristics with Latinos. Are they “becoming” Asian or Latino? By elevating the voices of Filipino-Americans, Ocampo will discuss how Filipino/Asian racial identities “change” depending on the communities they grow up in, the schools they attend and the people they befriend. This talk offers a window into both the racial consciousness of everyday people and the changing racial landscape of U.S. society. Ocampo is an author and scholar.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

1:30–3 p.m., Building 7 (English only)
6:30–8 p.m., Building 8, Mt. Constance Room (English) and Building 7 (Español)
Workshop: “Supporting Undocumented Students and Their Families” / “La guerra en contra de los Inmigrantes Nos defendemos y nos protegemos”

Presented in English by Larissa Garcia, Alejandra Perez, and Matt Matera, who is co-founder and Executive Director of ScholarshipsA-Z.
Presented in Spanish by Maru Mora, who is a community organizer, trainer, political analyst and founder of Latino Advocacy, LLC.

English: During this time of uncertainty, undocumented students and their families continue to be targeted through systemic racism and xenophobia. Our students and families are living in fear. During this workshop you will learn about the necessary tools to better support and work alongside undocumented students and their families.

Español: Durante este tiempo de incertidumbre, los estudiantes indocumentados y sus familias siguen siendo objeto de ataques a través del racismo sistémico y la xenofobia. Nuestros estudiantes y sus familias viven con miedo. Durante esta presentación aprenderás sobre las herramientas necesarias para apoyar y trabajar mejor junto a los estudiantes indocumentados y sus familias.

Larissa Garcia


Matt Matera


Maru Mora


Alejandra Perez


Dr. Kanoe Naone3–4:30 p.m., Building 7
Workshop by Dr. Kanoe Nāone: “Who Are Our Leaders? A Native Hawaiian Perspective Contextualized in Traditional and Contemporary Times”

Leaders are everywhere depending on the filters and values used. Dr. Kanoe Nāone will explore how native Hawaiian traditional systems can be used as a source of inspiration and then contextualize those systems and values to meet the needs of our current times. Join with Nāone for an interactive, engaging conversation to expand notions of leadership.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Ernie G10–11:30 a.m., Building 7
Performance by Ernie G.: “Empowerment Comedy Show”

Ernie G. brings a powerful message to campus through an equally powerful medium: comedy. Through his blend of empowerment comedy, Ernie G. provides inspiration, entertainment and a uniquely powerful message covering these basic themes:

  • Own your power!
  • Despite whatever challenges you’ve been through, you can achieve greatness!
  • If it is to be, it is up to me! Taking personal responsibility for our lives.
  • Taking pride in our neighborhoods, our barrios, our schools, our community.
  • Overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds.
Fawzi Belal


Oussama Alkhalili


1:30–3 p.m., Building 7
Lecture by Fawzi Belal and Oussama (Sam) Alkhalili: “ISIS, Islam and Islamophobia”

This lecture will explore the origins of ISIS/ISIL, how the group developed, and why the group does not represent Muslims and Islam. It will also explore the negative impacts of Islamophobia. Fawzi Belal is Highline College Sports Outreach Manager and Oussama (Sam) Alkhalili is a Highline College instructor.

Sherman Alexie7–8 p.m., Building 7
Highline Public Schools Native Education Program Presents: Sherman Alexie

A poet, short story writer, novelist and performer, Sherman Alexie has won numerous awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. He has published 26 books, including the forthcoming memoir, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.” Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation and now lives in Seattle with his family.

Advance and priority seating is for Highline Public Schools and Highline College students and families only, but limited general open seating for the public will be available. Plan on arriving early. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. A private pre-reception for Highline College and Highline Public Schools students and families will be held at 5 p.m. RSVP required. Main presentation will be in Building 7, with overflow seating available in Building 2 where attendees can watch a live stream of the author’s appearance. Highline College students may RSVP for the main event and the private pre-reception by sending an email to Sara.Ortiz@highlineschools.org.

Alexie’s appearance is cosponsored and made possible by Highline Public Schools Native Education Program with additional support provided by the King County Library System and Highline College.

Friday, April 28, 2017

A People's Movement9–10:30 a.m., Building 8, Mt. Constance Room
Workshop presented by Ardo-Khadra Hersi and Asha Heru: “A People’s Movement: No New Youth Jail and Beyond”

Hear from fellow community organizers on the No New Youth Jail Campaign in Seattle as they fight the city against the $210 million youth jail. Juvenile incarceration is just one foot of oppression in all of the systems that play into keeping our communities down. From protest to community arts night, learn the formula for a movement that is 75 percent community building and 25 percent dismantling. Hear from Youth Undoing Institutional Racism’s Ardo Hersi and Asha Heru about their experiences as young people working with an anti-racist vision to sustain and build the movement for liberation.

Rashad Norris2–4 p.m., Building 8, Mt. Constance Room
Workshop presented by Rashad Norris: “Destructions of the Master Plan: Finding Your Voice and Creating Change Through Protest and Boycott”

During this First Fridays Leadership Institute workshop, students will work in groups and create a space where they truly understand the power behind working together to create a larger voice for change. Rashad Norris currently devotes his time as the Director of Community Engagement at Highline College, where he travels to various schools, community centers, libraries and conferences to speak about the importance of education. As the creator of HERO (Honor Education & Respect Others) Young Men Cocooning Program, he seeks to provide young men with the essential life preparation tools through various presentations. Norris has also co-founded other Highline College programs including the Black and Brown Summit and Y.E.L.L. (Young Educated Ladies Leading) Summit.