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Otelia Cromwell Day Schedule

Blackapella choral group performing at Otelia Cromwell Day 2016


Otelia Cromwell Day, Thursday, November 2

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

1–2:30 p.m., John M. Greene Hall

Kim Alston, Co-Chair, Otelia Cromwell Day Planning Committee

Musical Selection: “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
Blackappella, the Black Campus Ministries Praise Group (Cai Sherley ’19, musical director), with the Smith College Choirs (Amanda Huntleigh, conductor)

Poetry Reading
“Maven” by Nikky Finney, read by Traci Williams AC ’18J

“The Life and Legacy of Otelia Cromwell”

Remarks and Introduction of Keynote Speaker
Kathleen McCartney, President  

Keynote Address
Author and cultural critic Roxane Gay: “Roxane With One N”

Musical Selection: “There Were No Mirrors in My Nana’s House”

Open Reflection Space

2:45–5:30 p.m., Bodman Lounge, Helen Hills Hills Chapel

Light refreshments will be available.

Afternoon Workshops: 2:45–4 p.m.

Reproductive Injustice, White Supremacy and Feminist Resistance Strategies
This workshop will define reproductive justice, explain the central role of white supremacy in reproductive injustice, describe the status of reproductive rights in the U.S. today and share feminist resistance strategies. Presenters: Carrie Baker, associate professor of the Study of Women and Gender; Loretta Ross, activist.
Graham Hall

Healing Together to End Racism
A society imbued with racism requires our creative efforts to reimagine and remediate it. This workshop will introduce tools that effectively help people understand and heal from the damaging effects of racism and other oppressions. Key among these is something that anyone can learn, and everyone can improve: radical deep listening. It is simple if not easy. Rather than a “safe space” we will reach for a “brave space.” Each participant is invited to explore a slice of their own story and tell it to another. Through an exchange of listening and telling, we can build relationships among people with shared identities, and across differences. As participants learn to take in each other’s stories of how racism has affected our lives, they will be guided through precisely what to listen for and how to promote healing, clarity and action. Presenters: Benita Jackson, associate professor of psychology; Romina Pacheco, program coordinator, Fairfield University; Bliss (Building Leadership for Inclusive, Sustainable Smith) Program Graduates.
Seelye 206

Algorithmic Accountability
Data is often thought of as neutral, but humans are always involved in data generation. This means data can easily bring with it longstanding biases, and has the potential to reify structures of inequity. With the rise of "big data," governments and corporations use data-driven algorithms to make decisions that impact our lives in many ways. Some states use algorithms to determine who gets jail time and who is given parole. Uber has come under fire for offering better service in white neighborhoods, and Facebook has been found to target ads based on inferred race. All of these practices came to light through algorithmic accountability efforts by academics and journalists. This workshop will focus on the ways data can be used for good or bad, and how we can more easily recognize its role in our lives. Presenter: Amelia McNamara, visiting assistant professor of statistical and data sciences.
Campus Center 205

Consciousness Raising: Women of Color Feminism and the Project of Self-Care
In this workshop we will read and discuss women of color feminist texts that describe the practice of consciousness-raising. We will then break into small groups to practice this vital feminist community-building technique with a focus on communities on the margins at a women’s college. Together we will work to build strategies for self-care. Presenter: Jennifer DeClue, assistant professor of the study of women and gender.
Campus Center 103–104

Workshop Panel: Race/Ethnicity in the U.S. & Abroad: A Conversation From a Transnational Perspective
This panel aims to expand the conversation about racial/ethnic identity and discrimination to include comparative experiences relevant to Smith’s international student population. The consideration of race and ethnicity in diverse cultures helps inform our understanding of how race is constructed within the U.S. The transnational perspectives can reveal ways in which the history of racism is a shared, globalized history, while also distinguishing the unique ways in which discrimination is practiced in culturally specific locales. Panelists: Payal Banerjee, associate professor of sociology; Joanne Corbin, professor, School for Social Work; moderated by Priscilla Takondwa Semphere '18.
Seelye 201

Afternoon Workshops: 4:10–5:30 p.m.

A.R.I.A.: A Community Campaign to Inform Positive Campus Community-Building
Building on the concept of micro-aggressions as a barrier to inclusion, A.R.I.A. (Affirm! Resist! Intervene! Ally!) is a campaign designed to surface ideas and practices of micro-affirmations, micro-resistance, bystander intervention and allyship to normalize positive campus interactions. In light of events like Charlottesville, some may feel that anything "micro" is not enough. We acknowledge the desire for large-scale resistance and explain that micro-level work is still needed for day-to-day survival and relationship building. Presenters: Floyd Cheung, professor of English language and literature and director of the Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning; Dwight Hamilton, associate vice president of equity, Northwestern University; Stacey Steinbach, area coordinator for Residential Life and Student Affairs.
Campus Center 103–104

Weaving Voices Intergenerational Archives: An (Incomplete) History of Students of Color Resistance at Smith and Beyond
The Weaving Voices Archives are an intergenerational, student-led project, started in 2012 in response to a series of racial incidents on campus, to preserve, research and document the histories of Smith student activism, particularly centering the experiences of students of color. This year’s workshop will center on an interactive timeline of racist events that have happened on campus, the resistance to these events by students of color and the way that resistance has impacted the college and pushed it forward. The workshop will shed light on the work done by student activists of color; show the way that the political climate of the country and world as a whole is reflected in our communities on campus; and bring forth important connections and context to contemporary conditions and activism. Presenters: Razi Beresin-Scher ’20; Amy Olson ’20.
Seelye 101

Invocation to Douglass and Baldwin: Contemplating the Heart of the Matter
Powerful literature highlighting the quest of Black Americans for justice, equal rights and citizenship serve as a tool to create open and honest dialogue and new ways of thinking about U.S. history, the enslavement of Black Americans and the role racism plays in national discourse. In this workshop, using contemplative (mindful) attentiveness, participants will communally read and reflect on selected writings by Frederick Douglass and/or James Baldwin. Through a facilitated dialogue, the significance of these writings, given the current political and cultural landscape, will be explored. Presenter: Rose Sackey Milligan, senior program officer and academic director of the Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities.
Campus Center 205

Police and Social Control
This workshop will view the police as extensions of state policy where physical, sexual, and psychological assaults are tolerated and considered necessary. The discussion of the use of police for social control will use encounters from the Jim Crow past and present to illustrate how law enforcement officials have assaulted and exploited the poor. Police were expected to keep black, poor and “perverted” people subordinated and confined to segregated neighborhoods and jails. International cases of the use of the police for social control in Russia, Southeast Asia, China, North Korea and Africa will be discussed. Presenter: Albert Mosley, professor of philosophy.
Graham Hall

Activism, Identity and Self Care: Mental and Spiritual Health for the Long Civil Rights Movement
As we enter an era of pronounced political and racial hostility, many of us are geared up for a fight. But being on the front lines often takes its toll. Basic self-care becomes a challenge and so does learning how to put our personal needs first so that we can find the energy to fight another day. As we imagine ourselves as activists, how do we create a mental and spiritual program for long-term success? How do we see ourselves embodying our personal politics? How do we prioritize long-term goals alongside short-term responsibilities? Presenters: Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor, associate professor of history; Valerie Joseph, anthropologist and AEMES mentoring coordinator.
Seelye 201

Contemplative Community Dinner: Connect and Share

Bodman Lounge, Helen Hills Hills Chapel, 5:30–7 p.m.

Over a homemade vegetarian meal, participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the thematic issues raised by Otelia Cromwell Day through a facilitated conversation. Participants invited to bring questions, thoughts and ideas to this discussion. Students, staff, and faculty are welcome. Dinner for first 25 people. Facilitator: Rose Sackey Milligan, senior program officer and academic director of the Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities.