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Social Justice & Human Rights Dialogues

Upcoming Dialogue

Europe After Pax Americana, Jan Techau

A Conversation about the American Election
discussion on american election

The Middle Eastern War That Destabilized Europe: Syria and Its Consequences
discussion on middle eastern war


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Recent Events

Civil Rights Exhibit

Civil Rights Exhibit posterFew issues have a beleaguered history as the insidiousness of race in America. The hostility of the current social climate now more than ever increase the criticality of bringing attention to civil rights and the resulting struggles associated with African Americans. It is the hope that this exhibit will allow for the teaching of tolerance as well as demonstrating the current difficulties experienced in this country. The exhibit will showcase the challenges connected with hate crimes, hate speech, isms, and general feelings by some who feel empowered to further perpetuate and inflict harm on people of color. It is the opinion, that race relations are worse than they have ever been in the US. The purpose of displaying of the Civil Rights Exhibit is to educate our campus and the community at large.

On behalf of The Center for Diversity & Social Justice, you are cordially invited to the opening reception of the Civil Rights Exhibit in SURC Ballroom D, Monday, January 29, 2018, at 11:00 am. If there are faculty, staff or students that you know, please forward this email. For more information, please contact Michelle Cyrus, at or phone at 509.963.2128. This event is open to the public.

Paul Rucker - Rewind

Gallery One is featuring the work of Guggenheim award recipient Paul Rucker. The show opens this Friday, June 2, with an artist talk from 3:30-4:45 at the Elmira / Raw Space - now Ellensburg Events Hall located at the corner of 4th and Pine. 

“Paul Rucker addresses social, and cultural issues in race, class and power by re-envisioning historical events, and connecting to their relationships with current issues of power and injustice in America. His work is intended to be a powerful catalyst for community dialogue.“

Learn more about Paul's exhibition at

Gallery One is also seeking docents for the exhibition. Docents are asked to monitor visitor interaction with the artworks. Weekends and the opening week of the exhibition are anticipated to be busiest, so those slots would probably be ideal to fill first. This is a great opportunity for students and community members to learn more about Paul Rucker’s work and the museum/ gallery environment; docents are encouraged to attend the pre-opening talk if possible.

Sign up here:


DHC Miniversity - Migration: Rhetoric and Reality

Did you know that despite political rhetoric, immigrants from Mexico have a crime rate as low, and, in some research, lower, than non-immigrants. The U.S. Government has in more recent years treated the civil violations of immigration laws as criminal rather than purely civil. This “crimmigration” has been focused upon the Mexico/U.S. border, not the U.S. /Canada border.  The history of U.S/Mexico border relations is important to understand to address the events and policies of today. Also, while the chaos and migration in the Middle-East is often presented as a consequence of non-state terrorism, nation-states in the Middle-East and elsewhere have been significant in creating the massive migration due to war and conflict.

Join us in understanding these and other issues and possible solutions to these man made problems. Go to to sign up today.

May 9, 16, 23, and 30 at 5:30pm.

May 9
Dr. Susana Flores
"And Some, I Assume, Are Good People: An Immigrant Counterstory"

May 16
Dr. Gilberto Garcia
"Mexico-U.S. Immigration Policy: A Historical View"

May 23
Dr. Chuck Reasons
"Crimmigration: The Criminalizing of Immigrants"

May 30

Dr. Anne Cubilié
"Middle East Migration, War and Chaos"


Picture of Professor Hannes AdomeitGerman-Russian Relations:  How to Cope with Moscow’s New Assertiveness?

Professor Hannes Adomeit

Since 1999, until Moscow’s annexation of the Crimea and its military intervention in eastern Ukraine, German-Russian relations were officially called a “strategic partnership.” A decade later, the “strategic” partnership was to be supplemented by a “partnership for modernization.” The idea was that Russia, despite setbacks and delays, was engaged in “transition” from a communist system with a one-party state and a command economy to a Western-style democracy. The transition was to be fostered by an expansion of trade and investments (Wandel durch Handel). This would give rise in Russia to a liberal, reform-minded middle class as an agent of democratic change. Such hopes and expectations have turned out to be unrealistic. Russia’s internal structure, the “Putin system,” has solidified into an authoritarian political construct sui generis. National-patriotic mobilization has replaced socioeconomic modernization as a goal to be pursued. In the “common European neighborhood,” German-Russian relations are characterized by competition and conflict. Chancellor Merkel has taken the lead in Europe to impose and stick to sanctions on Russia. She has rejected returning to “business as usual” and rapprochement short of a full implementation of the Minsk accords. But how sustainable is that approach? Throughout the electoral campaign and thereafter, Donald Trump had cast Putin in a favorable light, doubted the effectiveness of the sanctions, expressed disinterest in Eastern Europe, and distanced himself from engagement on Ukraine, saying that “rich and powerful Germany” and other countries “directly affected” by the conflict should deal with the problem. The lecture will examine the current state and possible development of Germany’s Ostpolitik and Russia policy in light of transatlantic challenges.

Monday May 8th in the CWU Planetarium, Science 2 at 5pm, reception to follow.

Poster PDF


The Filth of Progress:  Immigrants, Americans, and the building of canals and railroads in the West.

Dr. Ryan Dearinger,  Associate Professor
Eastern Oregon University


Thursday, 13 April 2017
His recent book The Filth of Progress:  Immigrants, Americans, and the Building of Canals and Railroads in the West  salvages stories often omitted from the triumphant narrative of American progress by focusing on the suffering and survival of the workers who were treated as outsiders. Historian Ryan Dearinger examines the moving frontiers of canal and railroad construction workers in the tumultuous years of American expansion, from the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 to the joining of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads in 1869. He tells the story of the immigrants and Americans---the Irish, Chinese, Mormons, and native-born citizens---whose labor created the West's infrastructure and turned the nation's dream of a continental empire into a reality.
Please come join us for a reception and refreshemnts at 5:00p in the Lang & Lit lounge-room 106A followed by his lecture at 5:30p in Lang & Lit room 243.


Hope to see you all there! Flyer



Voices from the Past and Present

Beginning March 8th at 12 (noon), the Yakima Valley Museum's annual “Voices from the Past & Present” series focuses this year on the experience and impact of human migration in world history, as well as how the cultural diversity that results from migration has affected America and Washington State.  This timely subject will first be explored on March 8 with a presentation by David Fenner, who will trace the routes of human migration from human beginnings in Africa through 200,000 years to the present day; he will also touch on the many factors that cause people to migrate.  The series continues on April 5 when Mayumi Tsutakawa examines the history of Japanese Americans in Washington State, from the first immigrants from Japan to subsequent generations born in the U.S., from thriving farms and businesses through internment during World War II and its aftermath.  Turan Kayaoglu concludes on May 3 when he explores how 400 years of Muslim experience in North America have shaped and been shaped by American culture, history, and politics.  All the presentations begin at 12:00 noon. Attendees are welcome to bring a bag lunch; the museum will provide beverages.  “Voices from the Past & Present” is sponsored by Humanities Washington, with additional support from the Fresh Hop Group.

Voices poster 


SPLC Teaching Tolerance event in Washington State

On Saturday, March 11, 2017, Seattle University's Poverty Education Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance project present "Teaching Tolerance: Teaching about Immigration and Migration," a symposium for educators at all levels that connects scholarship, teaching, and action.

As a nation of immigrants, the United States has long struggled with how best to create unity within a pluralistic society, as typified in the motto on the Great Seal of the United States (and the dollar bill): E Pluribus Unum. Especially now, in the atmosphere of nativism and fear that's only intensified since the election, it's essential that we find new ways to lead powerful classroom conversations about this important theme in American history.

To see schedule, location, and register click HERE.


Balancing Act:  How the federal and state constitutions protect freedom and justice


A panel of legal and first amendment experts will address questions about how the state and federal constitutions protect freedom and justice—and ensure that none of three branches of government overwhelms the other. The panelist are as follows:

•   Lisa Manheim, PhD, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law. 
•   Robert Lasnik, Senior Judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Washington
•   Rowland Thompson, Executive Director of the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association
•   Steven Gonzalez, Washington State Supreme Court Justice

This panel will be moderated by Dr. Gaudino. Event occurs on Wednesday 15 February 2017, 10:30am - 12pm, SURC Theatre


Southern Poverty Law Center to Address Central Washington Social Climate Issues

Lecia Brooks, Southern Poverty Law Center
February 13, 2017
12P    - Faculty & Staff Speak Up!
2:30P - Student Real Talk
5:30P - Public Lecture “Building Respectful Communities: Transcending Hate”
             SURC Ballroom

As part of the ongoing effort to strengthen and support respectful communities, Central Washington University students, faculty, and staff, and community members will hear from Lecia Brooks, the outreach director for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). She will come to Ellensburg for a series of campus discussions on Monday, February 13. During her talk, Brooks will provide a historical context of the social climate within Kittitas County. She will also share SPLC data on hate incidents that have occurred post-election and discuss how to navigate this landscape.

Her presentation is sponsored by the university and Not in Our KittCo, a community movement that promotes collaboration to build a safe and inclusive environment. SPLC officials have been in contact with the university and community following recent local distribution of Ku Klux Klan flyers.

For more information.


CWU Big Read Hosts Tim O'Brien

Central Washington University Brooks Library’s Big Read grant award from the National Endowment for the Arts will fund a diverse schedule of events starting January 2017. The grant will support community-wide programming through April centered around the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien—and culminating in a visit from the author.

For more details visit the CWU Big Read Event Calendar.

The Big Read Logo“NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.”

“El proyecto NEA Big Read es una iniciativa del National Endowment for the Arts (el Fondo Nacional para las Artes de Estados Unidos) en cooperación con Arts Midwest.”


The Red Sand Project

Picture of Red Sand Project

January 13 – spring quarter
Throughout CWU Campus

A steady stream of red sand will begin to appear in sidewalk cracks across the Central Washington University campus starting at noon on January 13, outside the west SURC entrance.

Through a methodical campaign called the Red Sand Project, CWU Student Art Club hopes to raise awareness to human trafficking.

“Hundreds of thousands of people are trafficked every day,” said student art club vice president Hailey McGraw. “People tend to think they’re adults and teenagers, but it’s children too.”

Each week more sand-filled cracks will continue to spread throughout campus, while posters that were designed by McGraw are strategically placed. As time progresses and the environmentally-safe sand begins to spread throughout campus, the poster messaging will become more and more impactful.

The project will continue through spring quarter, culminating in a panel discussion about trafficking.

Students from other clubs are invited to join the art club in spreading sand throughout campus. All students are encouraged to join the project by helping in the campaign or researching the topic on their own. To join the project, contact art club advisor Ellen Avitts at


The Things We Carry Exhibit

Picture of CWU Museum The Things we Carry
Opens January 11
January 11 – March 11, 2017
11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Dean Hall - Museum of Culture and Environment

We all have moving stories—personal accounts of our history or that of our family’s journey. The Museum of Culture and Environment at Central Washington University will feature some of these stories—from people living here in Kittitas County—in the exhibit The Things We Carry, this January.

The exhibit runs January 11-March 11, 2017, with an opening reception planned for January 11 at 5:30 p.m. in the Dean Hall lobby.

The Things We Carry takes an intimate look into the movement and migration of local families through their family’s mementos. Whether moving to another country, across the state, or a relatively short distance these moving stories are often associated with memorabilia—an item kept as a treasured memory.

“Family keepsakes give voice to the importance and deep meaning of things that our ancestors or we find important enough to keep,” said director for the Museum of Culture and Environment Mark Auslander.

This exhibit is a part of CWU’s 2017 Big Read program—encouraging the community to read and discuss Tim O’Brien’s novel, The Things They Carried.

If You Plan to Attend
The Museum of Culture and Environment is located on the first floor of Dean Hall. Admission is always free and regular visitation hours, during the academic term, are Wednesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Parking on the CWU campus is free on weekends and after 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Read more about the exhibit in the January 8, 2017, Yakima Herald newspaper article.


MLK Jr Celebration & Remembrance Week

Please join us beginning 6 January 2017 in recognizing and appreciating the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr.

A provisionary schedule of events organized by the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement is offered below. More information can be found HERE

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