Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

November 7, 2006

Whitworth Cultural Awareness Week Nov. 12-17 to Address Racial, Diversity Issues

Events include film screening, lectures by community leaders, multicultural dance and vocal performances, and Whitworth's 21st annual International Banquet

The new, student-formed Multicultural Advocacy Council at Whitworth College is sponsoring Whitworth's first Cultural Awareness Week, "The Beginning of a New Community." The six-day event will focus on raising awareness of racial and diversity issues both at Whitworth and in the surrounding community. All events are free unless otherwise noted.

 "Cultural Awareness Week is vitally important for the Whitworth community because it is the beginning of long journey that welcomes differences across cultures, lifestyles and communities," says Delia Orosco, cultural-events coordinator for Associated Students of Whitworth College, and chair of the Multicultural Advocacy Council. "Our aim is to challenge students, staff, and faculty to step out of their comfort zones and learn more about their neighbors here on campus, in the community and ultimately around the world."

On Sunday, Nov. 12, the Exceptional Praise Gospel Choir, directed by Whitworth senior Sha'Nay McQuirter, will perform in the Hixson Union Building dining hall from noon-1 p.m. From 6-9 p.m. in Weyerhaeuser Hall's Robinson Teaching Theatre, the Latin American Club will sponsor a panel of students who will speak about their experiences on the Central America Study Program. The evening discussion will be led by Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Le Roy.

On Monday, Nov. 13, the Four Directions Native Club will sponsor an interactive lecture, "The Importance of Home Language and Culture on Learning," from noon-1 p.m. in the HUB Conference Rooms ABC. The lecture will be presented by Joan Johnston, an English-as-a-second-language specialist for District 81 elementary schools. Johnston teaches a course, "Refugee and Immigrant Perspectives," at Gonzaga University. She has also been a teacher and co-director for the Gonzaga Summer Language Camp and is the founder and director of Spokane's African Tutoring Project.

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, ASWC will sponsor a screening of the documentary Skin Deep in the fourth-floor Duvall Hall lounge from 7-9 p.m., followed by a discussion about the film led by Professor of History Arlin Migliazzo and Assistant Dean for Programming in International Student Affairs Esther Louie. Skin Deep focuses on a diverse group of students from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Texas A&M and UC Berkeley and their dialogue about racial injustice in American communities and institutions.

A show featuring performances by step groups from EWU and WSU fraternities will be performed on Wednesday, Nov.15, from 6:30-8 p.m. in Cowles Auditorium. The performance is sponsored by the Black Student Union.

On Thursday, Nov.16, the Bonner Leaders Program will unveil its MyTown project that includes a "What is Racism?" panel and a discussion about how students of color experience comments about their differences that may indicate both covert and overt racism. These events will take place from noon-1 p.m. in the HUB Catering Rooms. That evening, Raymond Reyes, associate vice president for diversity at Gonzaga University, will speak about the importance of diversity in colleges and universities. Reyes' presentation is at 7 p.m. in the HUB Multipurpose Room.

Cultural Awareness Week will conclude on Friday, Nov. 17, with Whitworth's 21st annual International Banquet, "Seeking Shalom: To the Ends of the Earth," sponsored by the Whitworth International Club and cultural-diversity advocates. Dinner will be served from 5-7 p.m. in the Hixson Union Building, and an entertainment program will follow at 7:30 p.m. During the dinner, multicultural groups from the college and the community will hold a bazaar with crafts and free-trade products.

The dinner menu will feature specialties from countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, France, Thailand, Spain, Mexico, Cambodia, the U.S.A., Austria, Sweden, Chile and Honduras. The entertainment portion of the program will feature Middle-Eastern dancing, Thai classical and folk dancing, flamenco-inspired music and dance, the Exceptional Praise Gospel Choir, and Native American storytelling.

"This event will be the grand finale of the entire week," says Sreyla Rim, president of the Whitworth International Club. "It is based on the theme of 'Shalom,' or peace and unity, and brings together little pieces of the world in the form of food, music, and a variety of unique cultural traditions. The International Banquet serves as an occasion to consolidate the topics that have been explored throughout the week and to celebrate all of the different backgrounds and perspectives in our community.""

Tickets for the banquet are $10 general admission and can be purchased starting Nov. 6 at the Whitworth Information Desk in the HUB (information-desk staff can be contacted by calling 509-777-3796). Tickets will also be on sale each day in the HUB at the International Banquet ticket table from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 5-6:30 p.m. For more information, please call (509) 777-4509 or e-mail lgonzalez@whitworth.edu.

The Multicultural Advocacy Council was established to emphasize Whitworth's cultural activities and events, and to support and be a voice for the cultural clubs already established on campus. Currently, the MAC comprises presidents of the Black Student Union, the International Club, the Latin America Club, Whitworth Catholic Fellowship, The Artist Guild, Unity and Action, and the Four Directions Native American Club. The MAC also has representatives from the Exceptional Praise Gospel Choir, Act Six, Cultural Diversity Advocates, Women in Society Everywhere, the Hawaiian Club, and includes a number of independent students.

According to its mission statement, the MAC strives to produce cultural awareness through unity and creative collaboration, and to provide and facilitate open dialogue concerning issues on race relations, diversity and under-represented voices on campus.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college, which has an enrollment of 2,500 students, offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Delia Orosco, ASWC Cultural Events Coordinator and MAC Chair, 509-777-4790 or dorosco07@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle , public information officer , Whitworth College , (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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