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2019 National Symposium

Session Strands and Topic List


"Civic Engagement and Reconciliation:  the Survival of Democracy" can be experienced through 5 different Session Strands.   Participants have the opportunity to receive a certificate of completion when completing two sessions in at least two different strands.  Certificates will be emailed at the end of the Symposium.  

Explore each of the strands below:  

Civic Engagment


Civil Rights



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Langston Hughes Academy – Save our School Campaign

Presenter:  Dr. Libby Adjei

Date/Time:  Thursday, May 30th, at 9:00 am

History has long reported that children can and should be involved in civic engagement. Charles Avery was in high school when he led about 800 of his peers in a march to Birmingham, Alabama in the early 1960’s.  Now the children of Langston Hughes Academy are standing up in Tulsa. They are advocating for quality education, fighting to keep their school open. This is civic engagement in real time. These children are fearless and committed.

Where Democracy Lives & Dies at Oklahoma State University

Presenter:  Donald E. Colley III, Caitlin Laughlin, and Jose Uscanga-Aguirre

Date/Time:  Thursday, May 30th, at 9:00 am

Panelists are creating space for this discussion because of a lack of real and perceived success in our current university initiatives on fighting racism in response to several incidents. Our agenda begins with the student body’s reaction to an incident in which an op-ed was written by the “4 percent” representing the black and African-American student population, and continues with our personal and combined efforts to create meaningful change at OSU. We hope to both inspire participants with our successes and to receive feedback on others’ successes and our breakdowns in execution. The goal for this discussion is to better understand anti-oppression, pro-democracy initiatives in Stillwater, Tulsa, greater Oklahoma and beyond.​

A Place to Come To: Using Robert Penn Warren's Who Speaks for the Negro? along with Classical Rhetoric to Assist Students in Discussing Race

Presenter:  Dr. Joseph Boyne

Date/Time:  Thursday, May 30th, at 9:00 am

This session will provide a brief overview of Warren's most important work on civil rights and race. Who Speaks for the Negro? is comprised of over fifty interviews with the most significant leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, including Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and James Baldwin. Warren's style of interviewing is far from the standard reporter's question-and-answer approach, verging more on the level of spirited, yet collegial, debate. Warren's active and productive engagement with his interviewees provides readers with a model for engaging with others in discussions of race. In order to provide a methodology for such engagement, participants will also be introduced to a Classical Rhetorical heuristic known as Stasis Theory, a systematic approach to establishing common ground in order to ensure productive discourse. The presenter will describe the benefits of including Stasis Theory in the classroom, and participants will have an opportunity to apply Stasis Theory to topics that they find important and worth discussion.

Reconciliation Through Critical Librarianship

Presenter:  Frederic Murray

Date/Time:  Thursday, May 30th, at 9:00 am

Championing intellectual freedom and social justice has always been integral to the work of libraries. Critical Librarianship posits the idea that in order to serve our communities of practice, stripping away foundational myths of “neutrality “is both essential and ethical. This session will focus on identifying and promoting successful elements of Critical Librarianship that can be used in library collections, news literacy, as well as multicultural programming, to foster a greater sense of civic engagement.


Developing Critical Consciousness in Students

Presenter:  Carolyn Stubbs

Date/Time:  Thursday, May 30th, at 3:00 pm

Teachers can be instrumental in developing critical consciousness in students, bringing attention to inequalities and promoting social justice and reconciliation.  This session considers strategies and curriculum to foster critical consciousness.

By the end of the session participants will be able to:
* Explain the importance of critical consciousness
* Identify classroom practices that promote critical consciousness 

* Describe strategies for raising critical consciousness
* Develop curriculum and lesson plans that promote critical   


Creative Civic Engagement through Cultural Arts & Storytelling

Presenter:  Emily Imani

Date/Time:  Friday, May 31st, at 8:00 am

Inter-active presentation and workshop by Grant Writer and artist Emily Noel Imani. Learn how to build engaged communities into civic partnerships thru the arts and cultural events.  Participants will each leave with a vision they can bring to life. As well as learn about how write grants  in order to fund creative events that develop civic engagement for all ages.

When the City Becomes the Classroom

Presenter:  Eder J. Williams McKnight, Jane Beckwith, Markham Johnson

Date/Time:  Friday, May 31st, at 9:00 am

In this session, Jane Beckwith, Eder J. Williams McKnight, and Markham Johnson will share their experience and findings as they engage these questions as educators and leaders:

* What happens when students from an independent school and      

   three public schools join to form a civic identity?
* How does this educational program pursue its mission to stay

  experience based, student-centered, exploratory, and thematic,

  while also teaching academic, cognitive, and affective skills?
* How have guest teachers, who come from various professions in

  the larger Tulsa community, impacted the students and program

  through their partnership?
* To what extent have our students experienced transformation?   * To what extent have they transformed Tulsa?


Respect & Reconciliation Through Social Change

Presenter:  Ramona Curtis & Karen Harmon

Date/Time:  Thursday, May 30th, at 8:00 am

Dr. John Hope Franklin stated, “We also learn that this country and the Western world have no monopoly of goodness and truth and scholarship, we begin to appreciate the ingredients that are indispensable to making a better world. In a life of learning that is, perhaps, the greatest lesson of all. The Social Change model of Leadership gives individuals the ingredients and an opportunity to explore the making of a better world through respecting themselves, community partners, and society. This interactive workshop will use the social change model to promote reconciliation through civic engagement.

Complicated Conversations:  Privilege and White Fragility

Presenter:  Angela Watson and Sherri Tapp

Date/Time:  Thursday, May 30th, at 9:00 am

Information and ideas cannot be freely and informally exchanged if all parties do not feel comfortable and free to converse about them.  Ideas explored will include understandings and experiences with privilege and White fragility, particularly as these ideas directly relate to a tendency toward defensiveness among White conversants when people of Color share their perspectives and a subsequent tendency amongst conversants of Color to withhold their authentic views in an effort to “protect” White people from uncomfortable truths.  Discussion with conference attendees will address the concerns about promoting more resilience among White people and empowerment among people of Color to facilitate more conversations that are truly productive.

Coordinating Dialogues to Address Racial Divides

Presenter:  Melissa Echols and Dave Lassen

Date/Time:  Thursday, May 30th, at 10:00 am

Shocked by repeated racially incentive social media posts, it was clear that it was time to address the underlying tensions impacting our campus climate. How can we engage members of the campus community to work across racial differences through dialogues? How can we effectively empower participants to be agents of change? What challenges does this work face and how to address those challenges? this session will explore these questions from the perspective of discussion-based dialogues and community action. 


Teaching Empathy to Achieve Reconciliation

Presenter:  Thomas Jorsh and Dr. Kristin Van Tassel

Date/Time:  Friday, May 31st, at 8:00 am

Empathy for people on the other side of a conflict is a necessary, yet difficult, step toward reconciliation and achieving social justice.  The presenters offer suggestions from their classroom experience team-teaching social justice courses to help educators teach empathy, a skill that can carry-over into civic engagement.

Informed Civil Discourse: Factual Empowerment in an Era of Misinformation

Presenter: Amy Lagers, Adam Brennan, and Jennifer Hulsey Campbell

Date/Time:  Friday May 31st, at 9:00 am

This session will lead participants through a six-step fact-checking process that can be used before sharing information.  The presenters will demonstrate how to access available online and community resources for gathering factual information. They will also bring awareness to the ways that bias—personal and corporate—can influence the production and consumption of information and how to combat both.

See, Hear, Change: The White Church & Racial Bias

Presenter:  Thomas Hoffmann

Date/Time:  Friday, May 31st, at 9:00 am

This participatory workshop explores the findings of a recent study on racial bias conducted in three predominantly White churches in Oklahoma. Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to (1) briefly describe the recent history and dynamics of predominantly White churches seeking diversity and racial reconciliation (2) take beginning steps in practicing the three-part framework essential for effective Holy Conversations; and (3) better understand the response of some south Tulsa churches to the 1921 Riot/Massacre.

Restorative Justice: A Path To Healing

Presenter:  D'Marria Monday & Richard Baxter

Date/Time:  Friday, May 31st, at 9:00 am

Richard Baxter and D'Marria Monday have both survived living life on both sides of criminal justice reform. They are the epitome of restorative justice as a means to achieve a path toward healing. They realized the harm they inflicted upon their communities and they vowed to to be part of the solution, instead of the problem. They are recognized leaders in their community because of their passion to inspire others to believe that change is possible. WE as the PEOPLE hold the power..




The Effect of a Life Skills Curriculum on the Problem-Solving Abilities of Tribal College Students

Presenter: Dr. Monte Randall

Date/Time: Thursday, May 30th, at 8:00 am 

This session examines the effect of a life skills curriculum on the problem-solving abilities of tribal college students. Discussion regarding the curriculum addresses the significance of Life Skills on the problem-solving abilities of tribal college students.  Life Skills can provide students with a positive attitude of self-esteem and increase problem-solving abilities, thus providing them with the adaptive behavior to make rational decisions associated with functional problem solving.

Christianity, Democracy & the Nation's Story

Presenter: Dr. Gary Peluso-Verdend

Date/Time: Thursday, May 30th, at 9:00 am

One of the contributors to the crisis facing democracy in the U.S. is a Christian narrative, tied to white supremacy, that distorts the nation’s history. Christians should withdraw their support for the U.S. as the Promised Land and repent of that narrative and the damage it has done. With humility, Christians could use their waning but still potent voices to offer a narrative to “make America again”

(L. Hughes) rooted in the nation’s collective need for a new Exodus.

​Using Children’s’ Literature to Disrupt the Single Story of the History Textbook

Presenter: Shelley Martin-Young

Date/Time: Thursday, May 30th, at 10:00 am 

This session will explore the history textbook and the single story often found in these books. Participants will then explore children's and young adult literature that gives voice to the marginalized and disrupts the single story.

Reconciliation: Culturally Competent Mental Health Services

Presenter: Dr. Sandra Richardson & Yasmine Alvarado

Date/Time: Thursday, May 30th, at 10:00 am 

Becoming culturally competent in helping professionals continues to be at the forefront of societal concerns when working with marginalized populations. Multiculturalism deals with real human experiences and interactions with diverse populations. It is vital to understand and explore how values, beliefs, and emotional reactions can become roadblocks on the journey to reconciliation effecting the community and client welfare. This session will discuss and explore implications of the underlying attitudes and emotions that still exist in the mental health profession which foster discrimination resulting in inferior provision of services. Institutional and systemic changes needed to promote reconciliation and healing will be addressed.

Protective Factors of Minority Civic Engagement

Presenter: Dr. Valerie McGaha, Dr. Rochelle Cassidy, Tayrin Saldivar-Hernandez

Date/Time: Thursday, May 30th, at 3:00 pm

This session will examine protective and risk factors of civic engagement for African American and Latino populations.  There is an increased need to explore types of engagement of African American and Latino populations (e.g., political activism, social media campaigns, volunteering, take courses that impart civic skills, internships).  Protective factors of civic engagement may enhance positive experiences of thoughts, feelings, behaviors and policies towards the disadvantaged treatment of minority groups.  Civic engagement may impact mental health outcomes can include the experience of verbal and physical assaults, social justice limitations, racial profiling, and biased/racial stereotypes.

Searching for Heritage:  Your Story is Necessary for Reconciliation & Democracy

Presenter: Dr. Wennette Pegues

Date/Time:  Friday, May 31st, at 9:00 am

How do you expect to have reconciliation if YOU haven't told your side of the story? If your community’s history and your personal story have not been reported, whose fault is that?  This session is for those who ask, “Where do I even begin?”  Explore options for documenting and sharing unknown or underrepresented histories within our communities.  Where was your grandmother born? Do your green eyes mean you have some Irish in you? If you sunburn easily does that mean your “roots” are Scandinavian? Retired educator, volunteer, and genealogy expert Dr. Wennette Pegues will present during this session. 



The Police and You

Presenter:  Drew Diamond

Date/Time:  Thursday, May 30th, at 10:00 am

In the life cycle of a community there are moments when police action or in action creates tension and distrust. Since in our democracy we receive the police service we tolerate the more community members understand about the role and reasonability of both the police and themselves the less chance for misunderstandings of conflict. This session is designed to explore this police/community relationship and guide participants to appropriate responses to police actions.

Oklahoma’s First Soldiers for Equity

Presenter:  Dr. Pauline Harris

Date/Time:  Thursday, May 30th, at 10:00 am

This session will explore the activities of Angie Debo, Roscoe Dunjee and Clara Luper.  Angie Debo is a white female and noted author that documented the Native American plight in Indian Territory post Trail of Tears to statehood which led to the indictment of Oklahoma’s first governor.  Roscoe Dunjee was the editor of Oklahoma City's only black newspaper, led the way in the struggle for civil rights in Oklahoma and in the Oklahoma City black community from 1915 to the height of the national Civil Rights Movement he published the Black Dispatch.  Clara Luper organized the Oklahoma City Katz’s Drug Store sit-ins which were the precursor to the Greensboro, NC Woolworth sit-ins.  These three individuals utilized their unique talent and courage to impact change for African Americans and Native Americans is this state and this presentation highlights their struggles, determination and courage.

The Freedmen of Indian Territory/Oklahoma

Presenter:  Ron Graham

Date/Time:  Thursday, May 30th, at 3:00 pm

In this presentation, review the genealogy & history of Indian Territory/Oklahoma -  through a PowerPoint presentation . This includes the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes; the All-Black Towns of Oklahoma; the newly obtained documents of the Territory of Lincoln; the 1866 Treaty; the Dawes Commission and more.

How the Green Book Promoted Civil Discourse on the Road

Presenter:  Michael McUsic

Date/Time:  Thursday, May 30th, at 3:00 pm

The session will use the Green Book to help participants understand the  the racial politics of mobility, black counter-public spaces, and commodity activism.

The Ohio Connection

Presenter:  Jim North

Date/Time:  Thursday, May 30th, at 3:00 pm

This session will focus on an emancipator in the state of Ohio, prior to the Declaration signed by Lincoln, who was a hero in civic engagement, going beyond the boundaries and limitations set by the government and institutions of the day. John Rankin was a prime example and pattern of a bold individual who went against the grain, rose above the tide, and swam upstream of popular opinion. Rankin was proactive and courageous: must characteristics for any person who wants to effect change in human affairs today. Rankin and his family helped more than 2,000 slaves to freedom on the banks of the Ohio River at the small town of Ripley. Rankin was willing to play small-ball, positively influencing one person at a time. The Ohio Connection is about the synergy and cumulative effect of countless small efforts with a keen eye to the future. We can all make a difference!

Themes of Race in Oral Roberts’ 1950’s Tent-to-TV Ministry

Presenter:  Cristi Eschler-Freudenrich

Date/Time:  Friday, May 31st, at 8:00 am

Televangelist and broadcast pioneer Oral Roberts began his evangelical tent crusades in the mid-1940s. He extended his ministry’s reach to 200 radio stations by 1953 and 30 million TV households by 1956. Attendees will learn how Roberts’ ministry approached the growing rhetorical situation on race in the mid-1950s—within sermon messages, inside the crusade tent, and in editing the messages for broadcast television. This research helps consider possible underlying historical influences on race in ministries and media today.

The Real Bring: School Busing & the American Civil Rights Movement

Presenter:  Calvin Easterling

Date/Time:  Friday, May 31st, at 9:00 am

The advent and demise of school busing in the United States parallel the rise and fall of efforts toward integration, eventually giving way to a societal shift toward an emphasis on cultural pluralism. This presentation centers around the primary court cases and the courts’ decisions that determined the impact of this form of affirmative action for several decades, from 1968 to 1998.


This session will define school busing and affirmative action.  Participants will learn why school busing ended and discuss the 
pros and cons regarding why parents of all races at times opposed school busing



Youth As Catalysts for Community Impact

Presenter:  Jacob Lerner and Andrew Spector

Thursday, May 30th, at 8:00 am

Jake Lerner and two alumni of Tulsa Changemakers will discuss the importance of youth in driving positive community impact.

The Spirit of Service Learning

Presenter:  America Patton

Date/Time:  Thursday, May 30th, at 9:00 am

This session will explore the meaning of service learning and what it accomplishes.  America Patton will share his personal experiences as a Kansas AmeriCorps Alumni and how he was able to connect service learning to his family life.

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