Fall 2017

For Multi-racial Democracy: White Privilege, Racism and Why Racial Justice Means We All Get Free

Chris Crass


Tuesday September 26th
6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Penn State Scranton
Student Learning Center
K Bruce Sherbine Lounge

There is a fight for the soul of white America. The Alt-Right (a loose coalition promoting racist, neo-nazi, and white supremacist ideologies)  appear to want white people to live in fear, resentment, and isolation and to blame their pain and loss of economic security and hope for the future on people of color, women, Jews, Muslims, LGBTQ people and immigrants. Chris Crass is a longtime white anti-racist who has been working in white communities to challenge how racism turns white people away from democracy, and away from the humanity of people of color and ultimately their own humanity. Join us for this highly engaging and inspirational talk about how anti-racism and racial justice are at the heart of an expansive democracy rooted in an affirmation of, and commitment to, the worth and dignity of all people. Chris Crass believes that white people must reject racism and work against the violence and poison of it causes. This presentation helps people to embrace anti-racism and racial justice as catalysts to reclaim their own humanity, create healthy communities, restore hope, and work for just multiracial democracy.

Let’s All Get Free: Toxic Masculinity, Ending Rape Culture, and Why Men Need Feminism Too


Wednesday September 27th
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Penn State Hazleton, Kostos 1

Boys are raised to “act like a man,” suppressing all emotions other than anger, and taught to take control, which often means dominating others. Men are encouraged in a sexist society to possess and disrespect women and treat anything feminine as inferior to a masculine standard. There must be a critical examination of these aspects of social conditioning which have resulted in the epidemic of sexual assault and sexism in our communities and on our campuses. Institutionalized gender inequity must end, and men must take up the work to establish gender equity in our society. To engage in this work helps create healthier communities and relationships, and demands skill and courage. Gender equity frees everyone from the damage and pain that toxic masculinity creates.

Chris Crass is a longtime organizer, educator, and writer working to build powerful working class, feminist, and multiracial movements for collective liberation. He is one of the leading voices in the country calling for white people to work for racial justice. Chris gives talks and leads workshops on campuses, at community events, and for religious organizations in the United States and abroad.

Chris is the author of two books. His latest, Towards the “Other America: “Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter, is both a call to end white silence and a manual on how to do it. His other book, Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building Strategy, draws from nearly 30 years of experience as an organizer and educator. It offers a firsthand look at the challenges and opportunities of anti-racist work in white communities, feminist work with men, and bringing women of color feminism into the heart of social justice. Chris’s essays have been translated into half a dozen languages, taught in hundreds of classrooms, and included in over a dozen anthologies.

Chris co-founded the anti-racist movement building center, the Catalyst Project, which combines political education and organizing support to develop and support anti-racist politics, leadership, and organizing in white communities, helping to build dynamic multiracial alliances locally and nationally. Through Catalyst Project, where he was the co-director for more than a decade, Chris worked with tens of thousands of activists working on a wide range of issues in their communities and on their campuses.

He joined with white anti-racist leaders around the country to help launch the national anti-racist network Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), which works in white communities to build support for racial justice initiatives. Rooted in his Unitarian Universalist faith, he works with congregations, seminaries, and religious and spiritual leaders to build up the Religious Left.

He lives in Louisville, KY with his partner, and their two kids. You can learn more about his work at www.chriscrass.org.


Crime, Culture and The Economics Of Immigration: Myths vs. Facts

Alex Norwrasteh

October 5th, 2017
11:15 am-1:00 pm
Luzerne County Community College
Educational Conference Center, Room 131

This presentation will counter popular negative stereotypes about immigrants on the issues of terrorism and national security, crime, cultural assimilation and integration, and economics. Most Americans think that immigrants are grave threats to our safety, are not becoming Americans, and make us poorer. However, there is a vast empirical and theoretical research literature on each of these topics that are at odds with those common negative stereotypes. He will explore those findings and then conclude my presentation with a discussion of why natives currently blame immigrants for so many problems.

Alex Nowrasteh is an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute. His popular publications have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, and most other major publications in the United States. His academic publications have appeared in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Economic Affairs, the Fletcher Security Review, and Public Choice. Alex regularly appears on Fox News, MSNBC, Bloomberg, and numerous television and radio stations across the United States. He is a coauthor of the booklet Open Immigration: Yea and Nay (Encounter Broadsides, 2014).

He is a native of Southern California and received a Bachelor of Arts in economics from George Mason University and a Master of Science in economic history from the London School of Economics.


“That’s Classy!”: A Workshop Exploring The Influence Of Social Class

Tanya O. Williams, Ed.D.

November 7, 2017
Penn State Worthington-Scranton, 2:00pm-5:00pm
Study Learning Center Room 29 (SLC 29)

The “That’s Classy!” workshop is designed to raise awareness of social class as a diversity factor. Compared to race and gender, social class is a less visible form of diversity. Yet, social class background influences many aspects of a person’s life, including the way people speak, the foods they eat, where they grocery shop, and even the hobbies they enjoy. Stereotypes about members of specific social class groups (e.g. rich people are snobby) influence people’s perception of and treatment towards those of that class group. Cross-class encounters (i.e. interacting with people from another class background) are common in businesses and on a college campus, and are shaped by differences in social class background. The purpose of this workshop is to reduce prejudice by enhancing participants’ understanding of the social class groups in the United States, the stereotypes that surround these groups, and how social class background shapes classist attitudes and interpersonal interactions. The workshop includes activities that are based on themes related to social class: What is Social Class? The Myth of Meritocracy and Exploring How Social Class and Classism Operate in Society.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Dr. Tanya O. Williams has found a second home on the East coast currently residing in New York City and previously in Western Massachusetts. With over 20 years of diversity, inclusion, and social justice teaching, programming and facilitation experience in higher education including professional roles at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Southwestern University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Mount Holyoke College, and most recently, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York as the Deputy Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Community Engagement. She has taught courses such as Social Diversity in Education, Exploring Differences and Common Ground through Intergroup Dialogue, and the Psychology of Racism and facilitated workshops and presentations at the National Conference of Race and Ethnicity (NCORE), the White Privilege Conference (WPC) as well as National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and American College Personnel Administrators (ACPA) conferences.

Additionally, she is a co-lead facilitator for the LeaderShape Institute, a national organization committed to creating leaders with integrity, and as a Senior Trainer with Class Action, a national organization committed to ending classism. She has served as a mentor for the Posse Foundation for Mt. Holyoke College Posse 1 and am currently a Retreat Facilitator for the Posse Plus Retreats (PPR) held at their partner schools. She holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and my dissertation, entitled A Process of Becoming: U.S. Born African American and Black Women in a Process of Liberation from Internalized Racism, focused on internalized oppression and liberation. She also holds an Master of Science in Educational Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and English from Texas A&M University.


Identifying and Addressing Microaggressions and Bias

Diane Goodman, Ph.D.

November 13, 2017 
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
525 Pine Street Scranton, Room 2025

Audience: Student/General

Despite our best of intentions, we may unconsciously do or say things that are hurtful and offensive to people from marginalized groups. These actions can impede relationships and trust, and create an unwelcoming environment. In this interactive workshop, we will examine how people from various marginalized groups experience microaggressions (commonplace, often unconscious negative slights and insults) and their impact. We will discuss a variety of ways to address microaggressioins, both as the receiver and the by-stander. Participants will be able to practice a range of practical strategies they can use in a variety of contexts.

Addressing Microaggressions to Create Equitable and Inclusive Classrooms

November 13, 2017


Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, 525 Pine Street Scranton, Room 3079

Audience: Faculty Members

Faculty as well as students often unintentionally do or say things that are hurtful and offensive to people from marginalized groups. These actions can impede relationships and trust, and create an unwelcoming environment. In this interactive workshop, we will examine how people from various marginalized groups experience microaggressions (commonplace, often unconscious negative slights and insults), especially in the classroom. We will discuss and practice a range of responses faculty can use to effectively address microaggressions so all student feel respected, valued and can learn.

Dr. Diane Goodman has been educating about diversity and social justice issues for over 30 years. She speaks, trains, and consults nationally and internationally with a wide range of organizations, community groups, schools and universities. Diane has been a professor at several universities in the areas of education, psychology, social work, and women’s studies. In addition, she was the Director of Human Relations Education and the Interim Affirmative Action Officer at the University of Rhode Island. Diane is the author of the book Promoting Diversity and Social Justice: Educating People from Privileged Groups, 2nd ed. and co-editor of and contributor to Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, 3rd ed., as well as other publications. Her website is www.dianegoodman.com.


Chuck Collins

Sunday, December 3rd (Open to the public)
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Wyoming Valley

20 Church Road
Wyoming, PA 
12:00 pm

Monday, December 4th
Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Science 101
Lehman, PA 18627
12:00 PM-1:30 PM

These presentations are Co-sponsored by the Ethics Institute at Misericordia University

As inequality grabs headlines, steals the show in presidential debates, and drives deep divides between the ‘haves” and “have nots” in America, class war brews. On one side, the wealthy wield power and advantage, wittingly or not, to keep the system operating in their favor—all while retreating into enclaves that separate them further and further from the poor and working class. On the other side, those who find it increasingly difficult to keep up or get ahead lash out—waging a rhetorical war against the rich and letting anger and resentment, however justifiable, keep us from seeing new potential solutions.

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and directs IPS’s Program on Inequality and the Common Good where he co-edits Inequality.org. He is an expert on U.S. inequality and author of several books, including 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It.

He is co-author with Bill Gates Sr. of Wealth and Our Commonwealth, (Beacon Press, 2003), a case for taxing inherited fortunes. He is co-author with Mary Wright of The Moral Measure of the Economy, a book about Christian ethics and economic life. His book is Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good (Chelsea Green, Fall 2016).

Chuck Collins is also the author of the book Economic Apartheid in America and has studied income inequality extensively. At age 20, growing up as a member of the 1 percent, he gave up the inheritance he received from the estate of his great grandfather, Oscar Mayer. Joins us to talk about the country’s wealth gap how society is moving towards what he calls “economic apartheid”, and offers his insight and suggestions on how both the wealthy and non-wealthy can work together. Collins’s national and local solutions not only challenge inequality but also respond to climate change and offer an unexpected, fresh take on one of our most intransigent problems. Collins’s national and local solutions not only challenge inequality but also respond to climate change and offer an unexpected, fresh take on one of our most intransigent problems.


NEPDEC’s mission is to create a more inclusive, dynamic culture in our region and to prepare for increasingly complex and diverse communities and workplaces. To achieve these goals, we:
* provide educational programming/consultation,
* support member’s diversity initiatives,
* organize networking and social events for relaxed interaction and sharing, and
* build alliances among historically isolated groups.

Through cooperation, we address regional diversity issues with greater impact and economies of scale.