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Otelia Cromwell Day Schedule

Blackapella choral group performing at Otelia Cromwell Day 2016


Otelia Cromwell Day, Thursday, November 7

All Otelia Cromwell Day events are free, open to the public and wheelchair-accessible. Attendees who need disability accommodations or sign language interpretation should call 413-585-2071 (voice or TTY) or send email to

Special appreciation for funding from the Mary H. Collett 1925 Symposium Fund. 

Ceremony and Keynote Address

1:30–3 p.m., John M. Greene Hall

Kathleen McCartney, President; Floyd Cheung, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion

Musical Selection: “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
Blackappella, the Black Campus Ministries Praise Group

The Life and Legacy of Otelia Cromwell, Ph.D.
Andrea Hairston ’74, Louise Wolff Kahn Professor of Theatre and Professor of Africana Studies

Poetry Reading
“Maven” by Nikky Finney, read by Camille Ollivierre ’20

Tribute to Adelaide Cromwell
Kim Alston, Program Coordinator, Center for Religious and Spiritual Life; Ginetta Candelario ’90, Professor of Sociology and of Latin American and Latino/a Studies

Introduction of Keynote Speaker
Denise Materre ‘74, Vice President for Alumnae Relations

Keynote Address
Deborah N. Archer ’93: From “Living While Black” to the Fight Against Affirmative Action: Contextualizing, Understanding and Fighting the Movement to Reclaim “White Spaces”

Musical Selection

Afternoon Workshops: 3:15–4:45 p.m.

A Conversation With Deborah Archer
Moderated by Floyd Cheung
Stoddard Auditorium

Why Is It So Difficult for White People to See and Understand Racism and White Supremacy? 
Joshua Miller, professor of social work
The United States was founded on a racial contract that included genocide, ethnic cleansing and enslavement; white supremacy is in the DNA of the country. It continues to be manifested in many ways—structurally, institutionally, culturally, interpersonally, politically and in the ways that people internalize beliefs, feelings and ways of seeing the world. People of color are all too familiar with the many manifestations of white supremacy, but white people are often unaware of the extent and depth of modern-day racism and their white racial privileges, or are in denial, defensive or even believe that they are victims of "reverse racism." How is this possible, why does it occur and what can be done to help white people to fully engage as antiracism activists?
Leo Weinstein Auditorium

If I Commit a Racial Microaggression, Does That Mean I’m a Racist?
Shannon Audley, associate professor of education and child study; Nnamdi Pole, professor of psychology
Through discussion and exercises, this workshop will help faculty identify when they commit racial microaggressions and determine how best to respond to them in various contexts. Considering microaggressions from an individualist approach, this workshop will center around power and racial microaggressions within institutional roles with professors. We will use a framework that forgoes the placing of blame on racist identities and instead examine the behavior itself and its outcomes, regardless of intention. This will allow us to focus more broadly on the various institutions at play when microaggressions are committed and to explore the various power roles that professors and students negotiate within these structures.
Seelye Hall 106

Documenting Discrimination and Protest (Smith College Archives) 
Madison Whiten and Nanci Young, archivists
The Smith College Archives is looking for student and community input about how we document protest on campus. Share your ideas about what we should collect, how we should document hate speech and discrimination on campus, strategies for documenting social justice and protest communities, and ways we can continue to use protest history for accountability and further change. We will also display some archive materials about past Smithie protests, so come take a look!
Seelye Hall 110

Can VR and Video Games Foster Empathy? Hands-on Demo 
Dan Bennett, Yasmin Eisenhauer, Travis Grandy, Mario Valdebenito—Information Technology Services; Andrew Maurer—art department; Arris Moise ’22 and Rebecca Wolf ’20
Virtual reality is a powerful and emerging medium that enables viewers to step into real and imagined worlds, including those that feature stories of culture and identity. In 2015, VR was characterized as “the ultimate empathy machine.” Embodying the bodies, lives and spaces of others can be compelling, but can it really foster empathy? Drop in and explore interactive gaming; 360° videos; and 1000 Cut Journey, an immersive virtual reality film. Curated content centers the stories of people of color, trans people and people with disabilities. (Bring your mobile phones and headsets to download/experience mobile VR content; a limited number of devices will be available.)
Campus Center 103/104

Calling In Otelia: What Creating an Inclusive Campus Can Look Like a Century Later 
Loretta Ross, visiting associate professor of the study of women and gender 
Otelia Cromwell faced both support and discrimination at Smith College. What can we learn and share 100 years later about erasing the vestiges of white supremacy at Smith? This workshop will discuss the politics of inclusion through a calling-in lens to create a beloved community for everyone.
Graham Hall

Race and the Environment: To What Extent Can Building Resilience to Climate Change Help Establish Environmental Justice?
Camille Washington-Ottombre, assistant professor of environmental science and policy
Forty years after the birth of the environmental justice movement, minorities continue to be marginalized and are exposed to polluted neighborhoods, food deserts and exploitative jobs in the fossil fuel industry among other injustices. While extreme weather events become more frequent, the environmental injustices of communities of color are only projected to worsen. Yet for the first time, local planning and policy efforts to combat and mitigate climate change seem to be working to address those injustices. How are building resilience to climate change and issues of environmental justice related? 
McConnell Hall 103

Promoting Inclusion, Justice and Anti-Racism at Smith and in the Larger Community: An Honest Dialogue With Three POC Alums
Three distinguished alums of color will discuss intersectionality, anti-racism and life after Smith. The panel will feature Arianne Abela ’08, director of the choral music program at Amherst College; Gabriela Acosta ’12, co-host of the podcast “The Way We Lead”; and Camille O’Bryant ’83, associate dean for student success at California Polytechnic State University. The work of each of these alums approaches anti-racism and inclusion from a different perspective. Arianne Abela uses music as a tool for social justice. Gabriela Acosta explores the depths of how leadership can raise people up through dialogue. Camille O’Bryant not only delves into the intersectionality of race, gender and physical activity, she also supports student success through empowerment. After the discussion, students will have the opportunity to connect with the panelists over tea and refreshments.
Conference Center Oak Room

Black in Latin America 
The Latin American Students' Organization (LASO)
This workshop aims to address anti-Blackness in Latin American communities by acknowledging that non-Black Latinx folks perpetuate anti-Black racism. Through the screening of the first episode of the PBS documentary series Black in Latin America and a discussion afterwards, we aim to create a space in which we are able to name that the Latinx community is not monolithic and challenge mainstream stereotypes of what it means to be Latinx in the United States. This workshop will also encourage non-Black Latinx folks to think critically about internalized racism, prejudice, discrimination and violence perpetuated against Black folks. This workshop is designed for students, faculty and staff of color. 
Mwangi Cultural Center

Reflecting On Our Legacy: 3:15–6 p.m.

The Black Students' Alliance (BSA)
Based on My Mothering Aunt: Otelia Cromwell by Adelaide Cromwell ’40,  students of color will thoughtfully capture their Smith College experience by engaging in a reflective letter-writing process around identity, current events and aspirations.
Mwangi Cultural Center 

Inclusion in Action Update: 4:50–6 p.m.

Floyd Cheung and the Action Teams
Leo Weinstein Auditorium

Contemplative Reflection Open Space

4:50–6 p.m.