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Gannon’s Fall 2020 CHESS Speaker Series Continues

Gannon University is presenting its Fall 2020 CHESS Speaker Series

Gannon University is presenting its Fall 2020 CHESS Speaker Series


Gannon University’s College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences is presenting its Fall 2020 CHESS Speaker Series, which continues the conversation around today’s racial injustices and offers insight into bringing meaningful change using a virtual platform.


This year’s series is titled Racial Justice: Be the Change. Racial justice remained at the center of widespread protests and advocacy earlier this year. Some of those protests were right here in Erie. The College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences offers you the opportunity to become a part of the conversation through our speaker series. We can all work to be the change through this year-long examination of the issues and their possible solutions.


The next event in this series is titled, “Walking with Pope Francis: Encouraging Dialogue and Friendship at Gannon” and will be held at 7 p.m. today via livestream. Gannon faculty, staff students, and alumni are invited to join three Gannon leaders for a discussion of justice, diversity and inclusion at Gannon in the context of Catholic Social Teaching from Fratelli Tutti. Panelists include:


>Lori Lindley, Ph.D., dean of the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences

>Rebecca Perry, director of the Center for Social Concerns

            -Co-chairs of Gannon’s Justice, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee

>Eric Dart, Ph.D., chair of theology and the Liberal Studies Task Force


This event is part of the annual St. Albert the Great Lecture, which is sponsored by Gannon’s Department of Philosophy and invites Gannon colleagues to present their current research in the spirit of interdisciplinary learning and exploration in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.


The final event for this semester is titled “Building an Equitable Community: A Discussion on Inclusive Programming in the Arts,” and will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29. This virtual roundtable event is part of an initiative by Erie Arts & Culture to promote an equitable community and offer space for open discussion on inclusive programming and diversity in the arts.


Megan Woller, Ph.D., assistant professor of fine arts at Gannon, said the roundtable will launch broader discussions around building an intentional culture of inclusion and equity within Erie.


As part of this, signs will be posted on Gannon’s campus and at locations of partner organizations and feature questions that are designed to promote conversations surrounding these issues. Community members can respond to the questions via an identified website and social media platforms, Woller said.


According to the project statement, these conversations will help position Erie as a “great mid-sized modern city and a community of choice” by assessing the service and accessibility of amenities in downtown Erie for individuals of all races, as well as evaluating whether Erie programming opportunities reflect the racial and cultural diversity of the city.


Patrick Fisher, director of Erie Arts & Culture, spoke to the significance of these efforts.


“Erie Arts & Culture is pleased to partner with Gannon University and the College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences to plan and launch this initiative. It's important that organizations and institutions, such as Erie Arts & Culture and Gannon University don't shy away from the difficult conversations and lean into the work that rests ahead, so that we can collectively build a future that equitably leverages our community assets and resources,” Fisher said.

The initial roundtable discussion will be moderated by William Steadman, concert band director at Gannon, and features a panel from the artistic community throughout the city of Erie and the broader region. These members include:


> Rob Deemer, professor of music composition at the State University of New York at Fredonia and director for the Institute for Composer Diversity

> Patrick Fisher, executive director of Erie Arts & Culture

> Kate Neubert-Lechner, executive director of the Erie Playhouse

> Ceasar Westbrook, freelance/teaching artist and art teacher at Erie School District

> Bill Williams, president of the Erie Playhouse and vice president of the Martin Luther King Center


This event is free and will be live-streamed for public viewing. Register at:


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