Community Stands Together Against Hate during Diversity Issues in Higher Education Conference at Berkeley College

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2017
Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
973-278-5400, ext. 1-5122
igl@BerkeleyCollege.edu
 

COMMUNITY STANDS TOGETHER AGAINST HATE DURING
DIVERSITY ISSUES IN HIGHER EDUCATION CONFERENCE
AT BERKELEY COLLEGE

Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy Delivers
Keynote Address on the Power of Love and Change

Photo Caption A: Wes Bellamy, EdD, Vice Mayor of Charlottesville, VA, delivered the keynote address at the 17th annual Diversity Issues in Higher Education Conference, hosted by Berkeley College at its campus in Woodland Park, NJ, in partnership with the American Conference on Diversity, on November 17, 2017.

Leaders of the higher education community stood together at Berkeley College to make meaning of today’s cultural climate at the 17th annual Diversity Issues in Higher Education Conference on November 17, 2017. The event was hosted by Berkeley College at its campus in Woodland Park, NJ, in partnership with the American Conference on Diversity. More than 100 educators, civil rights advocates, and students from more than 20 institutions and organizations participated in panel discussions and breakout sessions to address critical diversity challenges in academia, the workplace, and the community.

“We know the important work in making a change for the better is action,” said Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College, during his opening remarks. “It is taking these discussions, taking what we hear now, and putting it into action.”

Wes Bellamy, EdD, Vice Mayor of Charlottesville, VA, delivered the keynote address at the Conference. The youngest individual ever to be elected to the Charlottesville City Council, Dr. Bellamy acknowledged how the tragic events of August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville exemplify the issues of hate and bigotry plaguing the nation. However, he challenged the audience and students to take a stand against hate, and emphasized how love and change is more powerful than anything else.

“Are you using your skills, your resources, your talent or your treasure to encourage and empower others, or are you standing idle while you see injustice, while you see bigotry, while you see all of the negative, evil things going on?” Dr. Bellamy said.

Photo Caption B: Wes Bellamy, EdD, Vice Mayor of Charlottesville, VA, delivered the keynote address at the 17th annual Diversity Issues in Higher Education Conference, hosted by Berkeley College at its campus in Woodland Park, NJ, in partnership with the American Conference on Diversity, on November 17, 2017. Pictured above with Dr. Bellamy (left) is Elizabeth Williams-Riley, President and CEO, American Conference on Diversity.

Click here read more about Dr. Bellamy’s keynote address in a story published by The Record / NorthJersey.com.

“Dr. Bellamy rejects deficit thinking, and embraces the reality that we all have obstacles to overcome and work together on,” said Elizabeth Williams-Riley, President and CEO, American Conference on Diversity, in her opening remarks. “The key is not to sit on the sidelines, but to engage and to get active.”

“Hearing Dr. Bellamy speak was encouraging,” said Berkeley College student Melody Rivera of Perth Amboy, NJ. “It was amazing to be in a room where what’s occurring in our society was being discussed and exposed.” 

Ms. Rivera participated in a panel discussion with seven students from Seton Hall, Stockton University, and the College of Saint University. Each student openly shared how issues of diversity have been handled at their respected colleges, and in what ways they themselves are working to enhance equality in their communities.

Ms. Rivera is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting at Berkeley College. She serves as President of the National Society of Leadership Success, Alpha Sigma Phi New Jersey chapter at Berkeley College, is a student ambassador and a member of the Student Government Association at the Woodbridge, NJ, campus.

“My greatest contribution is my platform,” Ms. Rivera said. “Not only have I done a lot of networking; I have helped other students along the way. That alone is my platform, and I am going to continue using it.” 

Photo Caption C: Berkeley College student Melody Rivera of Perth Amboy, NJ, participates in a student panel discussion at the 17th annual Diversity Issues in Higher Education Conference, hosted by Berkeley College at its campus in Woodland Park, NJ, in partnership with the American Conference on Diversity, on November 17, 2017.

Dr. Bellamy’s keynote address was followed by a panel discussion moderated by James Harris, Past President, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), New Jersey. Many of the panelists echoed Dr. Bellamy’s challenge to encourage and empower others to overcome adversity. “Every single day you have the opportunity to make a difference,” said Kavita Mehra, Executive Director, Sakhi for South Asian Women. “You can literally change the trajectory of somebody else’s life.”

Topics of breakout sessions that followed the first panel discussion included “History of Activism and Resistance: Tools & Strategies,” “How Do We Create Inclusive Communities? Diversity, Immigration, and Interfaith Showcase,” and “Transforming Traditional Activism: Allyship & Solidarity.” Among those in attendance during the sessions were Charlane Brown-Wyands, JD, and Gary Krulish, Co-Chairs, Justice Studies, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies.

“The panelists emphasized that there is power in numbers, and you are never alone if you make the right moral or ethical decision,” Mr. Krulish said. “During times of need, anyone can be a leader by influencing someone’s life through compassion or empathy.”

“It was inspiring to be a part of a dialogue that challenged everyone in the room to examine their commitment to taking a stand against adversity,” Dr. Brown-Wyands said. “I hope our students left the Conference motivated, ready to assess what lengths they are willing to take to make a difference, and empower others to do the same.”

Photo Caption D: Berkeley College hosts the 17th annual Diversity Issues in Higher Education Conference at its campus in Woodland Park, NJ, on November 17, 2017, in partnership with the American Conference on Diversity. Pictured above from left to right are Kevin L. Luing, Board Chairman, Berkeley College; Wes Bellamy, EdD, Vice Mayor of Charlottesville, VA; James Harris, Past President, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), New Jersey; Eileen Gale Kugler, author of Innovative Voices in Education; Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College; Elizabeth Williams-Riley, President and CEO, American Conference on Diversity; Kavita Mehra, Executive Director, Sakhi for South Asian Women; Mary Chayko, Professor and Director of Interdisciplinary Studies, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University; and Lawrence Hamm, Chairman, People’s Organization for Progress.

About Berkeley College
A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 7,100 students – including more than 440 international students – in its Master’s, Bachelor’s and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies, and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers an MBA in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ. Berkeley College has five New Jersey campuses – Dover, Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. In New York there are three campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.

About the American Conference on Diversity
The American Conference on Diversity is dedicated to building just and inclusive schools, workplaces, and communities through awareness, education, and advocacy. The nonprofit organization was founded in 1948 as the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Today the programs, services, and initiatives of the American Conference on Diversity are among the most important work focused on creating a more inclusive society. It is the unfinished business of living in a highly diverse nation: educating and empowering our next generation of leaders, enhancing our workplaces, and helping to create inclusive communities. Visit www.AmericanConferenceOnDiversity.org to learn more.

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