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This content was published: April 3, 2018. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

Rock Creek’s ‘Crucial Conversations’ designed to bring people together

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Beginning in this month, the Rock Creek Campus will host a series of “Crucial Conversations” for all students, faculty, staff and the general public. Rock Creek instructors are especially encouraged to ask students to attend. Entire classes are also welcomed.

In the future, “Crucial Conversations” will be offered every term (fall, winter and spring) at Rock Creek. All events are free and open to the public.

Ann Su.

Ann Su.

This series is sponsored by Don and Bonnie Blish, Oregon Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Oregon Cultural Trust and the PCC Foundation. The funders believe that frank and respectful conversations can lead to common ground and healthier communities.

Oregon Humanities states that the goal of the project is to “connect people to ideas and to each other, not to push an agenda or arrive at consensus. We believe that conversation is a powerful medium to invite diverse perspectives, explore challenging questions and strive for just communities.”

The first conversation, “What’s in a Label? Rethinking Diversity and Racial Categories,” is set for 1:30-3 p.m., Wednesday, April 11, in the Event Center in Building 9. It will be facilitated by Ann Su, a public interest attorney, community activist and social justice advocate for the past 20 years. She is currently a college professor, and leadership and diversity consultant. Her areas of expertise span law, public speaking, women’s studies, and race/racism. She teaches at PCC, Portland State University and Marylhurst University.

Su studied political and social thought at University of Virginia, then focused on public interest law at George Washington University. A self-proclaimed outlier, she has always been interested in how the ambiguity in language can unnecessarily polarize people. Her desire to explore diversity of thought and bridge understanding inspires her facilitation of this conversation on race and labeling.

The second conversation, “Does Higher Education Matter,” is scheduled for 1:30-3 p.m., Monday, June 4, in the Event Center, as well.

The conversation facilitator will be Paul Susi, educator, activist, arts administrator and a performing artist. Susi has worked as a youth counselor and an educator at several Portland nonprofit organizations serving homeless, recovering, post-incarcerated and adjudicated populations. He was recently named artistic director of the Portland Actors Ensemble.