Diversity News Archives

Reclaiming Sacred Ground Film Series at West Asheville Library

Jan. 29 2014 through April 23, 2014

The Reclaiming Sacred Ground film series will be held one Wednesday each month from January - April, 2014 at the West Asheville Library.The Reclaiming Sacred Ground film series will be held one Wednesday each month from January - April, 2014 at the West Asheville Library.As part of an Engaged Collaborative Humanities Grant and in partnership with the Buncombe County Library System, UNC Asheville professors Trey Adcock, Reid Chapman and Sarah Judson will present a series of four films by Native American film makers.

Reclaiming Sacred Ground: Native American Self-Representation in Film is a 4-part film and discussion series at the West Asheville Library beginning in February.

The full series schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, February 5
— 6:30pm, West Asheville Library
(moved from January 29 due to weather)

Smoke Signals
Smoke Signals, the first feature film made by a Native American crew and creative team. Scripted by Sherman Alexie, this award-winning movie concerns two young men from the Coeur D’Alene Reservation in Idaho who have very different memories of Arnold Joseph, a former resident of the reservation who has just died. Journeying together to Phoenix to retrieve the dead man’s ashes, the young men confront the profound reality of Arnold’s legacy and their own identity as Native Americans.
(Running time for the film is 89 minutes, with discussion to follow)

Wednesday, February 26

— 6:30pm, West Asheville Library

Barking Water
Barking Water is a 2009 independent feature film written and directed by Sterlin Harjo that premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.  Frankie is dying. Irene hasn't forgiven him. And they are racing against time to find their way home. Frankie needs help and Irene is the one he turns to. He must go home one last time. And, like so many times before, Irene is extending herself beyond her common sense. The two set out on a journey that becomes more than getting home; confronting the past, love, understanding, and self discovery. Barking Water is a tale of great love that looks at what brings us all together. It's a tale of home...and what it takes to get there.

(Running time for the film is 85 minutes, with discussion to follow)

Wednesday, March 19

— 6:30pm, West Asheville Library

The Fast Runner
(Running time for the film is 172 minutes, with discussion to follow)
The Fast Runner is a 2001 Canadian film directed by Zacharias Kunuk. It was the first feature film ever to be written, directed and acted entirely in Inuktitut. Set in the ancient past, the film retells an Inuit legend passed down through centuries of oral tradition, of an evil spirit causing strife in the community and one warrior's endurance and battle of its menace.

Wednesday, April 23
— event details coming soon
The Cherokee Word for Water
(Running time for the film is 92 minutes, with discussion to follow)

The Cherokee Word for Water is a 2013 film about the work that led Wilma Mankiller to become the first modern female Chief of the Cherokee Nation. The film is inspired by the true story of the struggle for, opposition to, and ultimate success of a rural Cherokee community to bring running water to their families by using the traditional concept of “gadugi “– working together to solve a problem.  Set in the early 1980s, The Cherokee Word For Water begins in the homes of a rural Oklahoma community where many houses lack running water and others are little more than shacks. After centuries of being dehumanized and dispossessed of their land and identity, the people no longer feel they have power or control over their lives or future.  Visit the film's website for more information.

 Contact the West Asheville library at 254-4752 for more information.  All showings are free, and all are welcome.


Intercultural Gallery Replaces Highsmith Gallery


Visitors participate in an interactive exhibit at the Intercultural GalleryVisitors participate in an interactive exhibit at the Intercultural GalleryThe Intercultural Gallery, formerly Highsmith Gallery, is a collaboration between Multicultural Student Programs, the Center for Diversity Education, and SAIL. Located adjacent to the Intercultural Center, the gallery serves as a space where local artist and UNCA students can display their artwork.

The Intercultural Gallery’s mission is to serve as:

  • a learning environment where dialogue about diversity, equity, and inclusion is stimulated by art exhibitions
  • a resource for the campus and community-at-large to intentionally address diversity, equity and inclusion with a high value on student input and engagement
  • an art space that showcases UNC Asheville student art work and senior exhibits; and an art space that is welcoming and accessible to all.

Gallery Hours (open only when fall and spring classes are in session):
Mon – Fri 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sat 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sun 12-6 p.m.


For more information on upcoming events at the Intercultural Gallery, please contact:
Cori Anderson, Program Coordinator, 145 Karpen Hall, 828. 258. 7727 


Warriors of AniKituhwa — Cultural Ambassadors of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Warriors of AniKituhwa will visit UNC Asheville on Tuesday, March 25, 2014.As part of the Native American Speaker & Performance Series, the Warriors of AniKituhwa visited UNC Asheville on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 to perform and educate attendees about the significance of their dances, their clothing, and Cherokee history and culture.

Designated as official cultural ambassadors by the Tribal Council of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, The Warriors of AniKituhwa, a Cherokee dance group, have been making history by recreating Cherokee dances described in 1762, including the War Dance and the Eagle Tail dance. They are revitalizing Cherokee dance by bringing back other dances from the past, by doing research, and by offering dance workshops for their community.

This event was held at 12:30 PM on Tuesday, Mar 25, 2014 on the University Quad.

Sponsored by UNC Asheville Office of the Associate Provost, Education Department, American Indian Outreach, Arts & Ideas Program, Humanities Program, NEH Distinguished Professor, Cultural Events & Special Academic Programs and more.


Women's History Month (and more) 2014 at UNC Asheville
March - April 2014

Actress Laverne Cox of Netflix's Orange is the New Black will present a talk about trans issues on Tuesday, March 4 at UNC Asheville.March 1 - 29

Remembering Ravensbruk: Women and the Holocaust 
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM, Monday-Friday, Karpen Lobby
Sponsored by the Center for Diversity Education

Tuesday, March 4

Laverne Cox presents: “Ain’t I A Woman: My Journey to Womanhood”
7:00 PM, Lipinsky Auditorium
Laverne Cox is an actress, writer, producer, and transgender advocate. She can currently be seen in the critically acclaimed Netflix original series Orange is the New Black

In her presentation, Laverne Cox explored how the intersections of race, class, and gender uniquely affect the lives of trans women of color. Laverne draws from her own personal story and how issues of race, class, and gender affect how she has been able to navigate the world.

Sponsored by Student Activities, Involvement & Leadership and Underdog Productions.

Wednesday, March 5

The F-Word Film Festival (F for feminist): A Celebration of Images By and About Women (But For All Audiences) presents WONDER WOMEN! THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SUPERHEROINES and Grrrl Love and Revolution: Riot Grrrl NYC
7:00 PM, Humanities Lecture Hall

  • WONDER WOMEN! THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SUPERHEROINES is one of two documentaries that will be screened during The F-Word Film Festival at UNC Asheville on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.WONDER WOMEN! THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SUPERHEROINES
    This film traces the fascinating birth, evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman and introduces audiences to a dynamic group of fictional and real-life superheroines fighting for positive role models for girls, both onscreen and off. From the birth of the 1940s comic book heroine, Wonder Woman, to the blockbusters of today, WONDER WOMEN! looks at how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about strong and healthy women. (55 minutes)
  • Grrrl Love and Revolution: Riot Grrrl NYC
    Fed up with the calcification of punk into a male-dominated, misogynistic and increasingly mainstream movement, the birth of Riot Grrrl in the late 1980s brought together feminism and pop culture in an empowering, noisy union. The angry music of Riot Grrrl bands such as Bikini Kill and Bratmobile became a creative outlet to confront issues too often silenced in the media: rape, domestic abuse, sexuality, racism and female empowerment. (42 minutes)

A panel discussion with UNCA faculty and students took place after the films.
Sponsored by the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program

Sunday, March 23

Identity, Race & The Search for Self in Transracial Adoption:
A Screening and Discussion of Beyond Somewhere Between
2:00 PM, Highsmith Union, Room 159
Sponsored by the Center for Diversity Education

Thursday, March 20 and Tuesday, March 25

The Past, Present and Future of Feminism
A screening and discussion of Beyond Somewhere Between will be held on Sunday, March 23, 2014 at UNC Asheville.4:15 PM - 5:45 PM, Tuesday, March 20, Laurel Forum (first floor of Karpen Hall) 
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM, Tuesday, March 25, Room 206 of the Reuter Center

In preparation for writer, activist and poet Robin Morgan's April 3rd visit to UNC Asheville, Dr. Lori Horvitz, Director of UNC Asheville’s Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, moderated two intergenerational discussions/workshops about feminism’s past, present and future.

A short packet of writing by Morgan was sent to participants. Sponsored by the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNCA.

Thursday, March 27

Ain’t I a Woman: A Chamber Music Theatre Work

7:00 PM, Humanities Lecture Hall
A chamber music theatre work for actress and trio (cello, piano & percussion) celebrating the lives and times of four significant African American Women: ex-slave and fiery abolitionist Sojourner Truth, renowned novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, exuberant folk artist Clementine Hunter and fervent civil rights worker Fannie Lou Hamer. The musical score is drawn from the heartfelt spirituals of the Deep South, the urban exuberance of the Jazz Age and concert music by African American composers including Diane Monroe.
Sponsored by the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, The Humanities Program, Departments of Literature and Language, Political Science, Drama, Education, Africana Studies Program & Multicultural Student Programs, and Department of Transition and Parent Programs.

Feminist author and political activist Robin Morgan will present a talk titled "Sisterhood Tweets and Blogs into the 21st Century" at UNC Asheville on Thursday, April 3, 2014.Thursday, April 3

Robin Morgan, "Sisterhood Tweets and Blogs into the 21st Century"
7:00 PM, Humanities Lecture Hall
Robin Morgan presented a talk: "Sisterhood Tweets and Blogs into the 21st Century." Robin Morgan is an American poet, author, political theorist and activist, journalist, lecturer. Since the early 1960s she has been a key feminist member of the American Women's Movement, and a leader in the international feminist movement. Her 1970 anthology Sisterhood Is Powerful has been widely credited with helping to start the general women's movement in the US, and was cited by the New York Public Library as "One of the 100 most influential Books of the 20th Century," along with those of Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx.  She has written more than 20 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and is also known as the editor of Ms. Magazine. 
Sponsored by the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.


Tuesday, April 8

Jennifer Bleyer, "My So-Called Jewish Life: Ruminations on what sex, animation, Tumblr, knitting, punk rock, marijuana, EDM, atheism, feminism, anarchism, locavorism, alt comedy, soccer, reggae, tattoos, vintage clothes, Buddhism, street art, nail art, beards on non-Hasids, fiddlers off the roof and dogs and have to do with Judaism, and why, contrary to the fretting of some, it's good for the Jews"
7:30 PM, Mountain View Room of the Sherrill Center
Jennifer Bleyer is a New York-based writer who founded the alternative Jewish magazine Heeb in 2003. Prior to that, she was involved in the Riot Grrrl movement of the early 1990's and published the zines Gogglebox and Mazeltov Cocktail. She has written for The New York Times and many other newspapers, magazines, websites and anthologies. Jennifer’s talk is titled: “My So-Called Jewish Life: Ruminations on what sex, animation, Tumblr, knitting, punk rock, marijuana, EDM, atheism, feminism, anarchism, locavorism, alt comedy, soccer, reggae, tattoos, vintage clothes, Buddhism, street art, nail art, beards on non-Hasids, fiddlers off the roof and dogs and have to do with Judaism, and why, contrary to the fretting of some, it's good for the Jews.”
Sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies & The Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

More information:


Remembering Ravensbrück: Women and the Holocaust” Exhibition On View at UNC Asheville

through March 27, 2014

The national traveling exhibition “RememberingThe national traveling exhibition "Remembering Ravensbrück: Women and the Holocaust" will be on view in Karpen Hall at UNC Asheville through March 27, 2014.: Women and the Holocaust,” was on view in UNC Asheville’s Karpen Hall through March 27, staged by the university’s Center for Diversity Education. The exhibit, created by the Kennesaw State University Public History and German Studies Programs and the Ravensbrück Memorial Site, tells the story of the Nazi concentration camp where more than 150,000 women were interred.

Between 1939 and 1945, over 150,000 female prisoners passed through the Ravensbrück camp system; around 40,000 were Polish and 26,000 were Jewish. Tens of thousands of women died from starvation, disease or by gas chambers; exact numbers are unknown due to the destruction of records.

The panel-based exhibition features historic photographs, maps, and artwork created by the prisoners, highlighting the stories of individual women imprisoned at the camp as well as female guards who willingly implemented the Nazi “Final Solution.”

UNC Asheville hosted a number of free events on campus in conjunction with the exhibition:

Video Interview with Holocaust Survivor Rena Gelissen

Tuesday, March 18
12:30 PM, Highsmith University Union, Alumni Hall

Gelissen, the author of Rena’s Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz (Beacon Press, 1996) survived Auschwitz and a death march that included a stop at Ravensbrück. She later settled in Hendersonville, N.C. and passed away in 2006. This video of her story, recorded by the USC Shoah Foundation, was introduced by Deborah Miles, director of UNC Asheville’s Center for Diversity Education.

Exhibit opening reception and lecture, The Making of Remembering Ravensbrück: Women and the Holocaust

Tuesday, March 18
Reception at 6:00 PM, lecture at 7:00 PM, Karpen Hall 038
Richard Harker is education and outreach coordinator for the Kennesaw State University Museum of History and Holocaust Education.

Etty – a one-woman show by Susan Stein

Tuesday, March 25
7:00 PM, Highsmith University Union, The Grotto

Etty is Stein’s adaptation of the diaries of Esther Hillesum, a Jewish student who lived in Amsterdam in the early 1940s until being sent to Auschwitz, where she was killed.

All events related to the exhibition were sponsored by UNC Asheville’s Center for Diversity Education. For more information, contact Deborah Miles at dmiles@unca.edu or 828.232.5024.


Leading Foodways Scholar Dr. Elizabeth Engelhardt Visits UNC Asheville 
Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dr. Elizabeth Engelhardt will conduct a faculty workshop and deliver a free public lecture on the topic of foodways at UNC Asheville on Thursday, February 27, 2014.Leading foodways scholar Elizabeth Engelhardt visited campus to conduct a faculty workshop and deliver a free public lecture on Thursday, February 27th, 2014.

Dr. Engelhardt is Department Chair and Professor of American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and has written or edited six major book-length publications, including a new ground-breaking collection called The Larder: Food Studies Methods from the American South; A Mess of Greens: Southern Gender and Southern Food; Republic of Barbecue: Stories Beyond the Brisket; and a variety of other books on women and Appalachia. She also has an impressive list of articles and book chapters, all of which you can learn about on her faculty web page. Professor Engelhardt is a key member in the Southern Foodways Alliance.

  • Faculty Development Workshop: Foodways and Interdisciplinary Teaching 
    12:30PM - 1:30PM, Center for Teaching and Learning
    Are you interested in learning more interdisciplinary approaches to teaching? Are you also interested in exploring the ways in which the study of food - including issues related to its production, consumption, access, cultural connections, health benefits, literary and historical representations, and much more - can reveal power systems governed by race, class, and gender? Professor Engelhardt conducted a workshop for faculty interested in using foodways to incorporate interdisciplinary elements into their teaching. 

  • Public Lecture: "In Praise of the Edges: Southern Food Studies from Appalachia to Texas"
    7:00PM, Laurel Forum (Karpen Hall 139)
    Professor Engelhardt delivered a lecture called "In Praise of the Edges: Southern Food Studies from Appalachia to Texas." The event was free and open to the public. 

More information:

This event was sponsored by NEH Distinguished Professor of the Humanities (Sophie Mills), Endowed Professor of the Mountain South (Leah Greden Mathews), University Programs (Ed Katz), Chair of the History Department (Dan Pierce), and the Center for Teaching and Learning (Melissa Himelein).


Arooj Aftab will present a master class and a public concert on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at UNC Asheville.Arooj Aftab — Master Class and Concert
Thursday, February 27

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM, Humanities Lecture Hall

Master class with Arooj Aftab
Arooj Aftab performed original music, discussed her work with Rebuild Pakistan and shared her experience as assistant editor and music supervisor for the MTV Series Rebel Music.

7:00 PM, Lipinsky Auditorium
Arooj Aftab - Concert
Arooj Aftab, born in Lahore, Pakistan, initially gained recognition as one of the few female guitarists in Pakistan.  She moved to the United States in 2005 to study music production and engineering at Berklee College of Music.

Since then Aftab has been named one of NPR’s top 100 composers under 40, and she has co-founded “Rebuild Pakistan,”  an initiative to promote a vision of peace and healing for the country.

She is also assistant editor and music supervisor for the new MTV series, Rebel Music, which follows young musicians in countries experiencing political and social struggle.

More information:

Event Schedule for Black History Month 2014 at UNC AshevilleBlack History Month 2014 at UNC Asheville
February 2014

Schedule of Events

  • Tuesday, February 4
    Film Series - African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
    Episode One — "Black Atlantic"
    6:30PM, Intercultural Center
  • Saturday, February 8
    UNITY Ball
    7:00PM - 10:00PM, Alumni Hall
    Multicultural Student Programs and our 6 Multicultural Student Organizations celebrated students in our first inaugural UNITY Ball. This semi-formal event had plenty of dancing, laughter, music, and memories. 
  • Tuesday, February 11
    Lunch-n-Learn - Ain't I A Woman: Women of Color and Reality TV
    12:30PM - 1:30PM, Intercultural Center

    Film Series - African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
    Episode Two — "Age of Slavery"
    6:30PM, Intercultural Center

  • Thursday, February 13
    Film Series - African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
    Episode Three — "Into the Fire"
    6:30PM, Intercultural Center
  • Tuesday, February 18Unity Ball - February 8, 2014
    Lunch-n-Learn - My Brother's Keeper: Understanding the Voice of UNC Asheville's Black Males
    12:30PM - 1:30PM, Intercultural Center

    Film Series - African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
    6:30PM, Intercultural Center

    Episode Four — "Making a Way"

  • Wednesday, February 19
    Intercultural Center 5-Year Anniversary Celebration
    12:00PM - 2:00PM, Intercultural Center
    UNC Asheville’s Intercultural Center and Multicultural Student Programs celebrated its 5th Anniversary! 

    West African Dance Class
    5:30PM - 6:30PM, Student Recreation Center 306

  • Monday, February 24
    Free AIDS/HIV Testing
    10:00AM - 2:00PM, Highsmith 221-223
    KNOW YOUR STATUS! Get your FREE HIV test. Multicultural Student Programs and the Western North Carolina AIDS Project provided the UNC Asheville campus and surrounding Asheville community the opportunity to get a free HIV screening. 
  • Film Series - The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross will be screened throughout February 2014 as oart of Black History Month.Tuesday, February 25
    Film Series - African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
    Episode Five — "Rise!"
    6:30PM, Intercultural Center
  • Wednesday, February 26
    Africana Studies Lecture
    7:00PM, Intercultural Center
  • Thursday, February 27
    Film Series - African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
    Episode Six — "A More Perfect Union"
    6:30PM, Intercultural Center
  • Friday, February 28
    Homecoming Lipsync Competition & Step Show
    7:00PM, Lipinsky Auditorium

For more information on Black History Month at UNC Asheville, visit the Multicultural Student Programs website.


Film Series: The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross PBS film series will be screened throughout the month of February 2014.February 2014

The Intercultural Center and Multicultural Student Programs presented a six-part PBS film series, The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross throughout the month of February 2014.

All showings were free and open to the public.



Tuesday, February 4

Episode One: The Black Atlantic (1500 - 1800)

February 4 - Episode One: The Black Atlantic (Image courtesy pbs.org)The Black Atlantic explores the truly global experiences that created the African-American people. Beginning a full century before the first documented “20-and-odd” slaves who arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, the episode portrays the earliest Africans, both slave and free, who arrived on these shores. But the transatlantic slave trade would soon become a vast empire connecting three continents. Through stories of individuals caught in its web, like a 10-year-old girl named Priscilla who was transported from Sierra Leone to South Carolina in the mid-18th century, we trace the emergence of plantation slavery in the American South. The late 18th century saw a global explosion of freedom movements, and The Black Atlantic examines what that Era of Revolutions — American, French and Haitian — would mean for African Americans and for slavery in America.

Tuesday, February 11

Episode Two: The Age of Slavery (1800 - 1860)

February 11 - Episode Two: The Age of Slavery (Image courtesy pbs.org)The Age of Slavery illustrates how black lives changed dramatically in the aftermath of the American Revolution. For free black people in places like Philadelphia, these years were a time of tremendous opportunity. But for most African Americans, this era represented a new nadir. King Cotton fueled the rapid expansion of slavery into new territories, and a Second Middle Passage forcibly relocated African Americans from the Upper South into the Deep South. Yet as slavery intensified, so did resistance. From individual acts to mass rebellions, African Americans demonstrated their determination to undermine and ultimately eradicate slavery in every state in the nation. Courageous individuals, such as Harriet Tubman, Richard Allen and Frederick Douglass, played a crucial role in forcing the issue of slavery to the forefront of national politics, helping to create the momentum that would eventually bring the country to war.

Thursday, February 13

Episode Three: Into the Fire (1861 - 1896)

February 13 - Episode Three: Into the Fire (Image courtesy pbs.org)Into the Fire examines the most tumultuous and consequential period in African-American history: the Civil War and the end of slavery, and Reconstruction’s thrilling but tragically brief “moment in the sun.” From the beginning, African Americans were agents of their own liberation — forcing the Union to confront the issue of slavery by fleeing the plantations, and taking up arms to serve with honor in the United States Colored Troops. After Emancipation, African Americans sought to realize the promise of freedom — rebuilding families shattered by slavery; demanding economic, political and civil rights; even winning elected office. Just a few years later, however, an intransigent South mounted a swift and vicious campaign of terror to restore white supremacy and roll back African-American rights. Yet the achievements of Reconstruction would remain very much alive in the collective memory of the African-American community.

Tuesday, February 18

Episode Four: Making a Way Out of No Way (1897 - 1940)

February 18 - Episode Four: Making a Way Out of No Way (Image courtesy pbs.org)Making a Way Out of No Way portrays the Jim Crow era, when African Americans struggled to build their own worlds within the harsh, narrow confines of segregation. At the turn of the 20th century, a steady stream of African Americans left the South, fleeing the threat of racial violence, and searching for better opportunities in the North and the West. Leaders like Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey organized, offering vastly different strategies to further black empowerment and equality. Yet successful black institutions and individuals were always at risk. At the same time, the ascendance of black arts and culture showed that a community with a strong identity and sense of pride was taking hold in spite of Jim Crow. “The Harlem Renaissance” would not only redefine how America saw African Americans, but how African Americans saw themselves.

Tuesday, February 25

Episode Five: Rise! (1940 - 1968)

February 25 - Episode Five: Rise! (Image courtesy pbs.org)Rise! examines the long road to civil rights, when the deep contradictions in American society finally became unsustainable. Beginning in World War II, African Americans who helped fight fascism abroad came home to face the same old racial violence. But this time, mass media — from print to radio and TV — broadcast that injustice to the world, planting seeds of resistance. And the success of black entrepreneurs and entertainers fueled African-American hopes and dreams. In December 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, heralding the dawn of a new movement of quiet resistance, with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as its public face. Before long, masses of African Americans practiced this nonviolent approach at great personal risk to integrate public schools, lunch counters and more. As the civil rights movement scored one historic victory after another, non-violence was still all too often met with violence — until finally, enough was enough. By 1968, Dr. King, the apostle of non-violence, would be assassinated, unleashing a new call for “Black Power” across the country.

Thursday, February 27

Episode Six: A More Perfect Union (1968 - 2013)

February 27 - Episode Five: A More Perfect Union (Image courtesy pbs.org)After 1968, African Americans set out to build a bright new future on the foundation of the civil rights movement’s victories, but a growing class disparity threatened to split the black community in two. As hundreds of African Americans won political office across the country and the black middle class made unprecedented progress, larger economic and political forces isolated the black urban poor in the inner cities, vulnerable to new social ills and an epidemic of incarceration. Yet African Americans of all backgrounds came together to support Illinois’ Senator Barack Obama in his historic campaign for the presidency of the United States. When he won in 2008, many hoped that America had finally transcended race and racism. By the time of his second victory, it was clear that many issues, including true racial equality, remain to be resolved. Now we ask: How will African Americans help redefine the United States in the years to come?


9th Annual UNC Asheville Human Rights Film Festival
Monday, January 27 to Friday, January 31, 2014

Camp 14: Total Control Zone (2012) is one of the films that will be screened during UNC Asheville's 9th Annual Human Rights Film Festival, held January 27 - 31, 2014.UNC Asheville’s Amnesty International Student Chapter held its 9th Annual Human Rights Film Festival during the week of Monday, January 27 to January 31, 2014.  Five films were shown (one per night).

Film showing schedule:

Monday, January 27 — Born This Way (2013)
With intimate access to the lives of four young gay Cameroonians, this film offers a vivid and poetic portrait of day-to-day life in the nation that leads the world in arrests for homosexuality.
Visit the Born This Way film's website for more details.

Tuesday, January 28 — Camp 14: Total Control Zone (2012)
A portrait of a young man who was born in and grew up in a brutal North Korean jail as the son of political prisoners, yet still found the will to escape.
Visit the Camp 14: Total Control Zone film's website for more details.

Wednesday, January 29 — Rafea: Solar Mama (2012)
Overcoming her husband’s objections and traditions that bar female leadership, a woman living in one of Jordan's poorest desert villages joins 30 illiterate women from different countries at the Barefoot College in India who train to become solar engineers over the course of six months.
Visit the Rafea: Solar Mama film's website for more details.

Thursday, January 30 — In the Shadow of the Sun (2012)
Filmed over six years, this film tells the story of two men with albinism in Tanzania pursuing their dreams in the face of virulent prejudice.
Visit the In the Shadow of the Sun film's website for more details.

Friday, January 31 — An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story (2013)
A documentary chronicling the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton for the brutal murder of his wife in 1986, and the team of attorneys who spent years fighting for the right to test DNA evidence found at the murder scene.
Visit the An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story film's website for more details.

All films were screened at 7:00PM in Highsmith University Union Grotto, except Rafea: Solar Mama, which screened in Highsmith University Union, Alumni Hall. The festival was free and open to the public.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Week

Monday, January 20 - Friday, January 24, 2014

(Click here to download a printable version of this flier)

Multicultural Student Programs and campus partners remembered the legacy and lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the week of January 20 - 24, 2014.

  • Monday, January 20, 2014
    MLK Day of Service
    The Key Center hosted the Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on January 20, 2014.  

    The first Lunch-n-Learn of the Spring semester will be a discussion of Social Justice in honor of MLK Week.A total of 132 students, faculty and staff participated, working at 8 different sites, totaling approximately 660 hours of service, and representing 26 campus organizations, making the 2014 MLK Day of Service the largest in UNC Asheville's history.


  • Tuesday, January 21, 2014

    Lunch-n-Learn - Social Justice: What Does That Mean to You?
    12:30 - 1:30pm - Highsmith Union, Intercultural Center, HIG 114
    As we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. we are reminded of his pursuit of social justice for mankind.  

    During the Multicultural Student Program's first Lunch-n-Learn series of the spring semester, an informal and interactive discussion focused on what social justice is.  Participants had the opportunity to speak of what this means to them.  

    This Lunch-n-Learn was open to all and was facilitated by our very own, Dr. Jill Moffitt, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

    Free documentary screening: “American Promise”A free screening of the award-winning documentary "American Promise" will be held in Alumni Hall on Tuesday, January 21 as part of MLK Week 2014.
    7:00 – 9:30pm, Alumni Hall (Highsmith Union)

    This film spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys' divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation at Manhattan's Dalton School, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America's struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity.

    Co-sponsored by the Black Student Association, Multicultural Student Programs, Key Center, and Education Department.

  • Thursday, January 23, 2014

    Marc Bamuthi Joseph, National Poetry Slam champion and Broadway veteran, is the MLK Week Keynote Speaker and will present on January 23, 2014.

    The Race Project
    12:30 – 1:30pm, Alumni Hall, Highsmith Union

    Amarra Ghani ’12,  shared her experiences working on NPR’s “The Race Project.”

    Extending the Stage:
    Free workshop with spoken word poet and arts activist Marc Bamuthi Joseph
    12:30 - 1:30pm - Highsmith Union, Intercultural Center, HIG 114
    Open to all

    MLK Week Keynote Speaker: Marc Bamuthi Joseph

    7:00 pm - Lipinsky Auditorium

    Named one of America's Top Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences, Marc Bamuthi Joseph is a National Poetry Slam champion. He is a Broadway veteran and was also a featured artist on Russell Simmons' Def Poetry on HBO. Joseph created Youth Speaks, where he mentored 13- to 19-year-old writers, and he co-founded Life is Living, a series of festivals designed to activate underresourced parks and affirm peaceful urban life through hip-hop arts and environmental action.

    This event was free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.lifeisliving.org or the CESAP event page.


Documentary Film Gideon's Army Screened at UNC Asheville, Followed by Discussion/Q&A with Filmmaker Dawn Porter and Public Defender Travis Williams

Friday, January 17, 2014

Filmmaker Dawn Porter will be at the screening for a discussion and Q&A.On Friday, January 17, 2014, in cooperation with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County, UNC Asheville hosted a documentary film showing of Gideon's Army by filmmaker Dawn Porter.

As a lawyer, Dawn Porter witnessed a criminal justice system in distress.  Twelve million people are arrested in the United States each year and millions of those cases proceed through the criminal justice system.  It is not uncommon for lawyers to handle hundreds of cases at a time.  

As a lawyer, Dawn Porter struggled with what this mean for our system of justice.  She attempts to document the answer through her film Gideon's Army, which follows three public defenders in the Deep South during their daily mission to counsel hundreds of defendants through a strained criminal justice system. 

Travis Williams, one of the public defenders featured in the film, will be joining Porter for the discussion and Q&A.

An official selection in the prestigious U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Gideon's Army was awarded the editing prize at the festival. The film will premiere on HBO summer 2013.

The film showed at 7:00 PM in Lipinsky Auditorium on January 17.  Dawn Porter and Travis Williams, one of the three public defenders followed in the film, was on hand to discuss the film and its content, and to respond to questions. 
The UNC Asheville film showing was free and open to the public.


Dr. Walter Ziffer presented a lecture on November 19 at UNC Asheville about the scholarly speculation of the origins of evil.Dr. Walter Ziffer Presented "From Mozart to Murder: A Holocaust Survivor Muses About Radical Evil"
Tuesday, November 19, 2013

In his talk "From Mozart to Murder: A Holocaust Survivor Muses About Radical Evil," Dr. Ziffer related his personal encounters with "evil" such as genocide to a  number of attempts by scholars to explain how such monstrosities come into being, considering our human genetic potentials for such behavior, as well as situations that trigger these potentialities to transform into acted atrocities.

Ziffer, a native of Czechoslovakia, is the author of The Teaching of Disdain: An Examination of Christology and New Testament Attitudes Toward Jews, (Orrington, 1990) and The Birth of Christianity from the Matrix of Judaism (AuthorHouse, 2006).

Ziffer has taught classes in Judaism, early Christian history, Biblical Hebrew and comparative religion. He received a doctorate in theology from the University of Strasbourg, France, and has taught at the University of Maine in Orono, Mars Hill University and UNC Asheville and in theological seminaries in France, Belgium and Washington, D.C.

This event was sponsored by UNC Asheville Hillel, UNC Asheville’s Center for Jewish Studies and Center for Diversity Education.  For more information, contact the Center for Jewish Studies at 828. 232. 5027.

The talk was held Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM in UNC Asheville's Lipinsky Auditorium and was free and open to the public.

Chad Smith, Former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Presented at UNC Asheville
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Native American Speaker & Performance Series

Chad Smith, former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, presented a lecture in November as part of UNC Asheville's Native American Speaker and Performance Series.

Chad Smith, the former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, gave a presentation discussing the principle-based leadership organization and "Point A to Point B" leadership model used during his tenure.

From 1999-2011, Smith served as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, one of three federally recognized Cherokee tribes. During Smith’s tenure, the Cherokee Nation grew its assets, increased healthcare services, created jobs and advanced education, language and cultural preservation. Smith is the author of Leadership Lessons from the Cherokee Nation: Learn from All I Observe (McGraw-Hill, 2013).

Smith’s lecture was part of UNC Asheville’s Native American Speaker and Performance Series. The series provides the opportunity to engage in dialogue and deconstruct and challenge popular stereotypes of American Indians, and includes speakers and performers from various tribes across the United States. All events in the series are free and open to the public.

The presentation was held at 12:30pm on Tuesday, November 12 in UNC Asheville's Sherrill Center, Mountain View Room.

For more information, visit www.chadsmith.comcesap.unca.edu or call 828. 251. 6674.

The Native American Speaker & Performance Series is co-sponsored by UNC Asheville Office of the Associate Provost, Education Department, American Indian Outreach, Arts & Ideas Program, Humanities Program, NEH Distinguished Professor, Cultural Events & Special Academic Programs.


Dr. Cornel West presented at UNC Asheville on November 6, 2013.

Dr. Cornel West at UNC Asheville
Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dr. Cornel West, author of Race Matters andDemocracy Matters, gave a lecture to a packed house of students, faculty and staff, and community members on the role of race, gender and class in American society at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 6 in the Kimmel Arena at UNC Asheville's Sherrill Center.  The event was  free and open to the public. 

A leading political commentator, progressive activist and public intellectual, West is professor of philosophy and Christian practice at Union Theological Seminary, and professor emeritus at Princeton University. He graduated from Harvard University in three years and was the first African-American to earn a Ph.D in philosophy from Princeton.

West appears often on news networks including CNN, on the political comedy programs, Colbert Report and Bill Maher Show, and he is co-host of the public radio program, Smiley & West. West appeared in and provided commentary for the Matrix films, has guest-starred on 30 Rock, and he was once named MTV “Artist of the Week” for his contributions to spoken word and hip-hop albums.

Join us for a reading circle/book group series for Dr. West's Democracy MattersWest’s most recent book, co-authored with Tavis Smiley, is The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto (SmileyBooks, 2012).  He has written or contributed to more than 20 books and is an American Book Award winner.

When Dr. Samer Traboulsi, of UNC Asheville's History Department and Humanities Program, asked which of his books Dr. West should recommend for our students to read before he came, he suggested Democracy Matters (1993).  Many on our campus will be familiar with Race Matters (re-issued in 1994), as well as The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto.

Dr. West’s visit was sponsored by UNC Asheville's Department of History, National Endowment fo the Humanities Distinguished Professor, Thomas Howerton Distinguished Professor of Humanities, Dean of Humanities, and Office of Multicultural Student Programs.

More information:
For the media: Steve Plever, UNC Asheville News & PR, 828. 251. 6526 or news@unca.edu
For general information: UNC Asheville Cultural Events & Special Academic Programs, 828. 251. 6674 


Disability Awareness Week at UNC Asheville
Monday, October 28 - Friday, November 1, 2013

UNC Asheville celebrated its second annual Disability Awareness Week (DAW) throughout the week of October 28, 2013.  All events were free and open to members of the UNC Asheville campus community.

A free screening of The Sessions (2012) will be hosted in the Grotto at UNC Asheville during Disability Awareness Week.

The keynote speaker for Disability Awareness Week was Bobby McMullen, an extreme athlete , who has remained competitive after being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 12 and the subsequent loss of his vision, years of dialysis, two double transplants, heart surgery, cancer, and multiple broken bones. He is a tenacious athlete who competes alongside fully able racers. He embraces life with optimism and humor that is contagious, and imparts that enthusiasm to audiences worldwide.

  • Monday, October 28 — 7:00 PM

    Film Screening of The Sessions
    The Sessions is a 2012 film based on the life and writings of Mark O’Brien.  In the film, Mark is a writer and poet who has paralysis from the neck down, uses an iron lung and wishes to lose his virginity.  He contacts a professional sex surrogate with the help of his therapist and priest. The film features a star-studded cast (John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood) and has been praised as “[arguing] in favor of living a full life, whatever one's personal constraints, of not being intimidated by societal or religious dogma or, most of all, by one's fears…” (The Hollywood Reporter). 

  • Tuesday, October 29 — 6:30 PM

    Guest Lecture and Movie Screening of The Way Bobby Sees It
    A gripping documentary about Bobby McMullen, a competitive mountain biker on a mission to race the most demanding downhill course in the country. Adding to the difficulty, Bobby is blind. This special showing included audio description for people with visual impairments and closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing. 

    The film was followed by conversation with special guest Bobby McMullen. 
    Bobby McMullen will be present to discuss the documentary The Way Bobby Sees It during UNC Asheville's Disability Awareness Week.

    Silent Auction
    A silent auction was held in Alumni Hall approximately 30 minutes before the viewing of The Way Bobby Sees It. Items included items donated and autographed by Bobby McMullen, as well as items donated by local area bike shops. All proceeds of the silent auction went to the Asheville division of the non-profit organization Industries for the Blind.
  • Thursday, October 31 — 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM

    Workshop: “Industries for the Blind”
    Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind provided various stations to give attendees the ability to experience visual impairment or blindness. Stations included a guide dog etiquette station, braille activity, cane and blindfold practice, blind audio darts, video stations, and blind/blindfolded golf. 

    The workshop was open to all students, staff and faculty on a drop in basis.

  • Running exhibit, October 21 - November 1

    Challenging Our Perceptions

    Disability Services partnered with Asheville's own BPM Fabrications for this event. BPM is a local prosthetic and orthopedic device manufacturer who ran an exhibit that blended art and technology in ways that allow orthopedic and prosthetic wearers to express their imaginations and personalities through unique, one of a kind devices.  

    The exhibit was located across from the Circulation Desk in the entrance of Ramsey Library from October 21 - November 1. 

Disability Awareness Week was made possible by UNC Asheville’s Office of Disability Services, SAIL, the Department of Psychology, the North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness, and the Asheville Division of Industries for the Blind.



Education scholar Lisa Delpit will present a lecture on education reform and diversity at UNC Asheville on October 24.Education Reformer Lisa Delpit at UNC Asheville
Thursday, October 24, 2013

Nationally acclaimed education scholar Lisa Delpit spoke about issues in education reform and diversity in a talk at 7:00 PM on Thursday, October 24 in UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center, Mountain View Room.

Delpit has won accolades for her work on teaching and learning in urban schools and in diverse cultural settings. She is the author of Multiplication is for White People: Raising Expectations for Other People’s Children (New Press, 2013), Other People’s Children (New Press, 2006) and co-editor of Quality Education as a Constitutional Right (Beacon Press, 2010), The Skin That We Speak (New Press, 2008) and The Real Ebonics Debate (Beacon Press, 1998).

Delpit won a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 1990 and three years later received the award for Outstanding Contribution to Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, which hailed her as a “visionary scholar and woman of courage.” She is currently the executive director for the Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Education and Innovation at Florida International University.

This event was sponsored by UNC Asheville’s Office of the Provost, Office of Teacher Recruitment, Teaching Fellows Programs, Department of Education Diversity Committee and Center for Diversity Education, as well as Asheville City Schools and Asheville City Schools Foundation. For more information, email teach@unca.edu.


Demographer Dr. Jim Johnson Presented "Disruptive Demographics" at UNC Asheville
Thursday, October 24, 2013

Demographer Dr. Jim Johnson will present a lecture on "disruptive" demographic trends at UNC Asheville on October 24.The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) and UNC Asheville were pleased to announce that Dr. Jim Johnson, William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School, would present a lecture entitled "Disruptive Demographics" at UNC Asheville on October 24, 2013.  

Jim Johnson has been described as “… a demographer with an uncanny knack for linking population trends to the economy, to you and me, to our grandparents and kids, and to our collective future.”  He shared insights on six "disruptive" demographic trends, their far-reaching implications for our region and his ideas for leveraging them into a future economic advantage.  These trends include "The Browning of America," "The End of Men?" and "The Silver Tsunami is About to Hit."

“We are pleased to partner with UNC Asheville to bring Dr. Johnson to Asheville,” said CFWNC President Elizabeth Brazas. “His work on population trends is important to everyone who cares about the future of our state and region. The Community Foundation is a permanent philanthropic resource, and anticipating, thinking about and planning for changes to our region is crucial for our success.”

The talk took place in the Humanities Lecture Hall on the UNC Asheville campus  from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM on Thursday, October 24, 2013, and was open to the public.  For more information, visit www.cfwnc.org.



Dr. Maura Cullen delivered two workshop/presentations at UNC Asheville on October 17.Dr. Maura Cullen, Expert on Diversity on College Campuses, at UNC Asheville
Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dr. Maura Cullen, widely considered one of the nation's foremost authorities on diversity issues on college campuses today, led two presentations at UNC Asheville on Thursday, October 17.

With over 25 years of experience as a trainer and keynote speaker, Dr. Cullen received her doctorate in Social Justice and Diversity Education from the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Cullen is the founder of the Diversity Student Summit, a founding faculty member of the Social Justice Training Institute and author of 35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say.

  • Training workshop: 12:30pm - 1:30pm (The Grotto)
    A more intimate diversity training with selected student leaders within the division of student affairs, along with key faculty and staff members from our university community.
  • Evening session:  8:00pm -9:30pm (Alumni Hall)
    Open to all members of our university community, with special emphasis on our UNC Asheville students. Dr. Cullen presented a "skill-set" oriented presentation based off her book 35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say.

If you have any questions, call or email Lamar Hylton or Courtney King in Student Activities, Involvement, and Leadership (SAIL).

Calendar of Events for Hispanic Heritage Month at UNC AshevilleUNC Asheville Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 - October 15, 2013

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from September 15 - October 15 each year.

UNC Asheville celebrates this month with a variety of programming happening on our campus, made possible by the Intercultural Center and Multicultural Student Programs, which oversees the development of designated Heritage months that celebrate the rich culture and varied histories of diverse groups in our society.

For more information, please visit the Multicultural Student Programs website and the Multicultural Student Programs Calendar of Events

Expert on First-Generation College Students at UNC Asheville

Tuesday, October 1 - Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lee Ward, author of "First Generation College Students: Understanding and Improving the Experience from Recruitment to Commencement" (2012, Jossey-Bass)Lee Ward was himself a first-generation student. However, it was only when he looked back on his undergraduate days from an adult perspective that he became conscious of this status. Because he was just one of many undergraduates in his class to be the first in their families to attend college, he did not feel different from his classmates. Today, however, Ward thinks that many college students are in the opposite situation. Because many of their classmates' parents attended college, current first-generation students do not likely have the same sense of belonging that he was fortunate to experience as an undergraduate.

Recognizing the challenges faced by first-generation students, and finding a scarcity of resources in the area, Ward was inspired to write, "First-Generation College Students: Understanding and Improving the Experience from Recruitment to Commencement" (2012, Jossey-Bass). Ward and his two co-authors review challenges faced by first-generation students and offer strategies to encourage and support student success.

The book created an extraordinary amount of interest among UNC Asheville faculty and staff, who joined together in a learning circle at the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) to read and discuss its contents.

Ward was at UNC Asheville October 1-3, 2013 for the events listed below. His visit was sponsored by the Dean's Faculty Development Fund, Residential Education, and the Center for Teaching & Learning, and organized by a steering committee consisting of Melanie Fox (Director of Residential Education), Stephanie Franklin (Director of Transition & Parent Programs), Tracey Rizzo (history professor and organizer of a group of faculty and staff interested in reaching out to first-generation students), and Melissa Himelein (psychology professor and Director of the CTL).

Lee Ward's book "First Generation College Students"

Wednesday, October 2nd, 5:30pm - 7:00pm

Dinner with Dr. Ward and others

Wednesday, October 2nd, 7:30pm - 9:00pm

Campus presentation: “Transition 101: How to Succeed in College as a First-Generation College Student” (Highsmith Union 221)
As more and more of the college-going population is made up of those who are the first in their families to attend college, universities are searching for ways to help these students succeed and reach graduation. A presentation by Lee Ward, a renowned researcher and author on this particular subject, was followed by a panel and interactive discussion with some first-generation UNC Asheville students.

Thursday, October 3rd, 10:30am - 11:30am

Drop-in hours in the Center for Teaching & Learning (Lipinsky 201)

Thursday, October 3rd, 12:30pm - 1:30pm

First Thursday lunch presentation to faculty & staff  (Lipinsky 201)
“Invisible Minority: First-Generation Students at UNC Asheville”
First-generation college students often experience unique challenges in higher education, and yet, as a group they are frequently overlooked.  In this presentation, Dr. Ward examined the expectations and perceptions of first generation students, explore strategies for creating more effective learning environments, and expand understanding of how to pursue change on a university campus.  The focus was on shaping the UNC Asheville experience so that first generation students thrive.

For more information, visit the original article at the Center for Teaching and Learning website.



Comanche author Paul Chaat Smith will present at UNC Asheville on September 20, 2013.Paul Chaat Smith — Comanche Author, Essayist and Curator 
(Native American Speaker & Performance Series)
Friday, September 20, 2013

As part of the Native American Speaker & Performance Series, Comanche author and essayist Paul Chat Smith gave a free lecture on the contemporary landscape of American Indian politics and culture.

Smith's most recent book, Everything You Know About Indians is Wrong, is a collection of essays— funny and painful— about the ways Indian stereotypes infiltrate culture.  He is an associate curator at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.

The free lecture was held Friday, September 20, 2013 at 12:45pm in the Highsmith Union Grotto.

For more information, visit the Cultural Events & Special Academic Programs website or visit Paul Chaat Smith's website.

This event was sponsored by UNC Asheville Office of the Associate Provost, Education Department, American Indian Outreach, Arts & Ideas Program, NEH Distinguished Professor of Humanities, Humanities Program, and Cultural Events & Special Academic Programs.


Appalachia: Power and Place NEH Summer Institute

Power of Place: Land and Peoples in Appalachia
July 8-26, 2013

Sponsored by the James Agee Film Project and the University of North Carolina Asheville; provided by support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The acclaimed PBS Series APPALACHIA: A History of Mountains and People will introduce topics and give a framework for the activities.The three-week NEH Summer Institute for K-12 teachers will use insights from the study of environmental history to examine the role of landscape in the shaping of culture and history, with the Southern Appalachians as a case study. The content will be the complex history and culture of the Southern Appalachians. The method will be to employ the perspectives of environmental history to tell the story of the region from a fresh and compelling perspective.

Using the story of Appalachia as an example, we will see how an environmental history approach encourages an interdisciplinary approach to a subject and presents an excellent opportunity for team teaching in the classroom.

Dan Pierce and Erica Abrams Locklear of UNC Asheville’s faculty, and Jamie Ross, producer of the PBS series, Appalachia: A History of Mountains and People, are core faculty for the institute. Crystal Wilkinson, Ron Rash and Rob Amberg are visiting authors.

Please email any questions to powerofplace@appalachiafilm.org


Poet Nikki Giovanni Delivered UNC Asheville Commencement Address at May 11, 2013 Ceremony

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Nikki GiovanniNikki Giovanni, the renowned poet, activist and educator, delivered the commencement address and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree when UNC Asheville held its May 2013 Commencement. Warren Haynes, the rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, and creator of Asheville's annual Christmas Jam, also received an honorary degree. The ceremony began at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 11.

Nikki Giovanni

Giovanni, the author of some 30 books for both children and adults, is one of America's most widely read poets and is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech. Her many honors include the 1996 Langston Hughes Medal from The City College of New York, a medal also awarded to Chinua Achebe, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. In 2007, Giovanni became the first poet to win the Carl Sandburg Literary Award, bestowed by the Chicago Public Library and its foundation.2013 UNC Asheville Honorary Degree recipient Nikki Giovanni delivers the Commencement Speech

Giovanni first spoke at UNC Asheville in 1973 as the keynote presenter at a Black Arts Festival organized by the university's Black Student Association. Audrey Byrd Mosley, then a UNC Asheville student, performed at that same festival in a one-act play. Mosley went on to become general counsel for the National Academy of Sciences and is a member of UNC Asheville's Board of Trustees. Giovanni became a leading figure in American culture, named Woman of the Year by Mademoiselle, Ladies' Home Journal and Ebony magazines, and one of Oprah Winfrey's 25 "Living Legends."

Known for her outspoken advocacy for civil rights, Giovanni was the first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award, bestowed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Troy University in Montgomery, Ala. Many of her books have been honored with NAACP Image Awards, including Love Poems, Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea, Acolytes, and Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat.


Nikki Giovanni receives an honorary degreeRenowned poet, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni greets Chancellor Ponder at the 2013 Commencement





Previously on display at the Intercultural Gallery

The "Forever Free: Slave Deeds of Buncombe County" exhibit is on display at the Intercultural Gallery from January 13 to February 28, 2013."Forever Free: Slave Deeds of Buncombe County" Exhibit
January 13 - February 28 (Opening Reception: February 5, 5:00 p.m.)

The Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office presents this exhibit to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and to honor those who were enslaved for their immeasurable contributions to our community.

Contained in these handwritten files from the 1800s are deeds documenting the acquisition and trading of slaves as property, and the Last Wills and Testaments of slave owners.

This exhibit is made possible by The Center for Diversity Education, the Intercultural Center, Buncombe County Public Libraries, Buncombe County Clerk of Court, the Register of Deeds office, and Cataldo Perrone.



Reading Dick and Jane with Me

Clarissa Sligh: Reading Dick and Jane with Me
September 20, 2013 - October 21, 2013

From the 1930s -1970s, Dick and Jane books were widely used to teach reading. The books represented a white upper middle class suburban family as the norm. As a young girl, Clarissa Sligh thought these depictions meant that her family must be an aberration.

Reading Dick and Jane with Me was created to interrupt the authority of the Dick and Jane books. Children from Sligh’s old neighborhood stand in for the young people whose experience of family was excluded.

  • Opening reception — Friday, September 20, 5:00pm - 7:00pm
  • Clarissa Sligh lecture: "Power, Privilege, Visibility" - Thursday, September 26, 7:00pm, Highsmith Grotto





Under Construction exhibit at the Intercultural Gallery through September 13

Under Construction: Gender, Body and Society
A Student Led Participatory Exhibit
August 19, 2013 - September 13, 2013

Under Construction: Gender, Body and Society was an interactive installation that invited participants to explore and expand the social construction of gender.

Through interacting with three different projects, including the "I Need Feminism Because…" campaign, participants were encouraged to respond to traditional models and forge distinctly new ones in a comfortable and open space.



Previous Lunch-n-Learns & Watch-n-Learns 

Lunch-n-Learn Series

Find out more about the Lunch-n-Learn series, organized by the Intercultural Center and Multicultural Student Programs.

Lunch-n-Learn - Tuesday, February 11, 2014: Ain't I A Woman


  • Tuesday, January 21Social Justice - What Does That Mean to You?
    As we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. we are reminded of his pursuit of social justice for mankind.  This informal and interactive discussion focused on what social justice is and was facilitated by our very own, Dr. Jill Moffitt, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. 
  • Tuesday, February 11: Ain't I a Woman
    In the height of reality television popularity, we have witnessed the effects of the media’s portrayal of women of color (Capers, Rawlinson, & Sims, 2013).  Attendees discussed how these portrayals affect our female students of color here at UNC Asheville.  This Lunch-n-Learn was facilitated by Mirlesna Azor, Community Director (Residential Education).
  • Lunch-n-Learn - Tuesday, February 18, 2014: My Brother's KeeperTuesday, February 18My Brother's Keeper - Understanding the Voice of UNC Asheville’s Black Males
    This powerful panel discussion explored the student experiences of Black males on UNC Asheville’s campus. Black male students had the opportunity to express what their experiences have been like at UNC Asheville. 
  • Tuesday, April 15What's in a Name


Lunch-n-Learn on Tuesday, September 17 2013: The Role of Race in the Trayvon Martin Case


  • Tuesday, September 17The Role of Race in the Trayvon Martin Case
  • Tuesday, October 15Understanding the Impact of the DOMA Decision
  • Tuesday, November 19Voting Rights Act - Where Do We Go From Here? 



Watch-n-Learn Series

Find out more about the Watch-n-Learn series, organized by the Intercultural Center and Multicultural Student Programs.


  • Thursday, January 30Selma, Lord Selma (1999)Watch-n-Learn film for Thursday, January 30: Selma, Lord Selma (1999)
    Selma, Lord, Selma is a 1999 American film based on true events that happened in March 1965, known as Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. 

    In 1965 Alabama, Sheyann Webb, an 11-year-old-girl (Jurnee Smollett) is touched by a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. (Clifton Powell) and becomes a devout follower. But her resolution is tested when she joins others in the famed march from Selma to Montgomery.

  • Thursday, February 20: 4 Little Girls (1997)
    This fascinating 1997 documentary tells the story of the notorious racial terrorist bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, a historic African American church in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement. Directed by Spike Lee.
    Watch-n-Learn film for Thursday, February 20: 4 Little Girls (1997)
    The film recounts the people and events leading up to the one of the most despicable hate-crimes during the height of the civil-rights movement, the bombing of the 16th Street Church in Birmingham, Alabama. In that attack, four little African-American girls lost their lives and a nation was simultaneously revolted, angered and galvanized to push the fight for equality and justice on. 
  • Thursday, March 20The Help (2011)
    An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
  • Thursday, April 10: Transamerica (2005)Watch-n-Learn film for Thursday, March 20: The Help (2011)
    A pre-operative male-to-female transsexual takes an unexpected journey when she learns that she fathered a son, now a teenage runaway hustling on the streets of New York.
  • Thursday, April 17The Color of Fear (1994)
    Eight North American men, two African American, two Latinos, two Asian American and two Caucasian were gathered by director Lee Mun Wah, for a dialog about the state of race relations in America as seen through their eyes. The exchanges are sometimes dramatic, and put in plain light the pain caused by racism in North America.



  • Watch-n-Learn film for Thursday, September 19, 2014: Spinning Into ButterThursday, September 19Spinning into Butter 
    Set on a small college campus in Vermont, Spinning into Butter explores the dangers of both racism and political correctness in America today. When one of the few African American students at liberal Belmont College begins receiving hate mail, the campus erupts, first with shock, then with mutual recrimination as faculty and students alike try to prove their own tolerance by condemning one another. At the center of this maelstrom is Sarah Daniels, the dean of students. As the administration sponsors public "race forums" and the students start activist groups, Sarah is forced to explore her own feelings of racism. Her self-examination leads to some surprising discoveries and painful insights, the consequences of which even she can't predict.
  • Thursday, October 17White Like Me

    With a new preface and updated chapters, White Like Me is one-part memoir, one-part polemical essay collection. It is a personal examination of the way in which racial privilege shapes the daily lives of white Americans in every realm: employment, education, housing, criminal justice, and elsewhere.

    Watch-n-Learn film for Thursday, October 17, 2014: White Like MeUsing stories from his own life, Tim Wise demonstrates the ways in which racism not only burdens people of color, but also benefits, in relative terms, those who are “white like him.” He discusses how racial privilege can harm whites in the long run and make progressive social change less likely. He explores the ways in which whites can challenge their unjust privileges, and explains in clear and convincing language why it is in the best interest of whites themselves to do so. Using anecdotes instead of stale statistics, Wise weaves a narrative that is at once readable and yet scholarly, analytical and yet accessible.


 Professional Development 

Teaching and Learning Strategies for Deconstructing Race and Institutional Racism — May 20, 2013

The workshop featured discussions of activities and resources to help faculty and staff engage UNC Asheville students in understanding how the concept of race is social constructed, exploring the history of institutional racism and its impact in the United States, and addressing racism in today’s society.

Discussions around race and racism take place in classrooms and other venues all over campus throughout the year. However, many faculty and staff feel under-equipped to manage conversations around these critical issues. This workshop served campus personnel directly by providing useful activities and resources, as well as an opportunity to share and reflect in a safe environment, to build our capacity to facilitate productive discussions in classrooms, residential halls, and other campus spaces.

Facilitated by Liz Castillo, M.D., Ph.D. (Medical Director, Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement; former MAHEC Geriatrics Fellowship Director), Dr. Jim Pitts (also of the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement), and colleagues from the Institute for Dismantling Racism.

This workshop was conceived by Dr. Ameena Batada (Health and Wellness Promotion), who was awarded an on-campus faculty development grant from the Center for Teaching & Learning.

Dr. Karyn Trader-LeighKaryn Trader-Leigh — May 15, 2013

Dr. Karyn Trader-Leigh, with the National Multicultural Institute (NMCI), provided professional development to 100 faculty and staff on May 15, 2013.  This session was part of the Diversity Action Council initiative to provide basic diversity education to 75% of our employees by 2016.  
The session covered unconscious bias and stereotyping in the work place and included developing action plans for teams and departments.

Dr. Gertrude A. FraserDr. Gertrude A. Fraser — April 22, 2013

Dr. Gertrude A. Fraser, Associate Provost at the University of Virginia, presented on her work on diversifying the faculty on her campus and ideas for linking recruitment efforts among all of the major employers in our City and County.  She met with members of the Diversity Action Council and with Academic Affairs department chairs and program directors.

In her presentation "Understanding the Candidate's Perspective: Dual-Career as a Dimension of Decision-Making," Dr. Fraser focused on interviews with the finalist candidates who turned down offered positions at UVA based on family formation, careers for spouses, schools for children, and social networks. She describes the challenges and solutions UVA has put into place to address hiring of underrepresented individuals from a community wide perspective including more cooperation between regional organizations.

Dr. Robert LivingstonDr. Robert Livingston — April 25, 2013

Dr. Robert Livingston was the keynote speaker of the Diversity and Inclusion Conference held April 25, 2013 and sponsored by UNC Asheville, the City of Asheville and Buncombe County.  The conference theme was "Realizing the Benefits of a Diverse & Inclusive Workforce", and the event that brought around 240 participants from 50 organizations to UNC Asheville.
In his presentation, Livingston touched on the unique challenges confronting women and minorities in upper management in the workplace, as well as the conscious and non-conscious processes underlying leader selection. Regional economist Tom Tveidt joined Livingston to provide an analysis of the current and future demography of the state and region.
Individuals brought forth knowledge and experience in the service of professional development for all participants.  All organizations were able to sketch a pathway to cultivate a more diverse and inclusive management.  Dr. Livingston also spoke as part of the YWCA's Stand Against Racism.  

Dr. Yvonne Ortiz-Prince — February 2013

Dr. Yvonne Ortiz-Prince, the National Director for AVID Higher Education (a college retention Program for first generation college students), consulted with members of the Diversity Action Council in February 2013 on the possibility of UNC Asheville becoming an AVID (stands for Advancing Via Individual Determination) campus in higher education. We  explored with her the possibility of offering a UNC Asheville scholarship to an AVID high school student.  
As part of the AVID Program, students visit the UNC Asheville campus to catch a glimpse of college life.Dr. Ortiz-Prince also gave a talk on "The Road Not Taken: A Story of Challenges, Resilience and Hope for College Students," which Breanna Wright organized for students on Class and First Generation College Students.  The lecture addressed the challenges and opportunities that students from low wealth families encounter in and out of the college classroom and how all faculty, students and staff can be more supportive.  It also included reflections on the 
role that economic class plays in the classroom, along with the best practices for retention and persevering through graduation and beyond.  She also met with members of the Education Department.  
Dr. Ortiz-Prince's visit was sponsored by the Center for Diversity Education and the UNC Asheville Education Department.  AVID tutoring program is a long standing partnership between UNC Asheville and local schools.  Contact Kim Kessaris in the Department of Education for more information.

Dr. Frances E. KendallFrances E. Kendall — Fall 2012

Dr. Frances E. Kendall presented "Being Clueless is No Longer an Option:  Infusing 'the Work' into Everyday Practices," a reprise of her session at the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity.  
Faculty, staff, students and community members were invited to participate in this exploration of white privilege and institutional racism.

Dr. I. King Jordan — October 23, 2012Dr. I. King Jordan

Dr. I. King Jordan presented "The Deaf Community at a Crossroads" as part of UNC Asheville's first-ever Disability Awareness Week.  An audience of 300 faculty, staff. students and community members gathered to learn from the first deaf president of Gallaudet University in Washington, DC.  

The Deaf Community at a Crossroads:

The convergence of competing social forces -- technology (videophones, Internet, cochlear implants), language and culture (ASL/Deaf Culture and the hearing world/auditory languages) and diversity (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, age, religion) and diversity specific to deaf people (Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, deaf of deaf parents, deaf of hearing parents, ASL, cued speech, total communication, public school, deaf school, oral, and so on) are converging and decisions the community makes about who is "in" and who is "out," will have far-reaching implications for the future.