Mission Statement

Since its inception in 2018, Susquehanna University’s day of teaching and learning during MLK Week is an effort to model civil discourse and to promote the work of justice, affirming the rights of all to dignity, equity and inclusion. The event is also meant to cultivate brave spaces: spaces in which conflict or disagreement can emerge but these moments are treated as opportunities to share authentically, listen actively and engage respectfully without putting up harmful defenses, issuing dangerous generalizations or creating us/them barriers that prevent learning. In accordance with the university’s Statement on Diversity and Inclusiveness, we include sessions that represent the breadth of human experiences and that demonstrate the critical awareness “of the ways power and privilege influence practices, processes, and relationships.” Each session is intended to be participatory, committed to fostering engagement and open dialogue.


Feb. 3, 2022

Hope and Regeneration, Collaborative Roundtables 

On the Cusp of a Cure for Sickle Cell Disease, but for Whom?

10:30–11:30 a.m.  |  Stretansky Concert Hall, Cunningham Center for Music and Art

Peggy Peeler, professor of biology; Tom Peeler, associate professor of biology; and Antonio Rockwell, assistant professor of biology

This session focuses on the hopeful progress that is being made in treating sickle cell disease. This genetic disorder affects all ethnic groups, but the majority of those affected are in sub-Saharan Africa, or whose descendants are from that area. There is significant hope for effective new treatments for sickle cell, but those treatments come with their own ethical and social issues. The panel will address the following topics: Are the new treatments safe as well as effective? Will everyone who needs treatment have equal access to it in the U.S. and globally? Why are screening programs for newborns that clearly improve survival not funded by governments? Why is the severe pain associated with sickle cell disease often not effectively treated?

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What Is Identity? Where Do I Belong? Answers in Music

1–2 p.m.  |  Stretansky Concert Hall, Cunningham Center for Music and Art

Naomi Niskala, associate professor of music; and An-Lin Bardin, cellist

Figuring out who we are and where and how we belong is often an ongoing search for those of us who are minorities, bi-racial or bi-cultural. The Bardin-Niskala Duo (cello/piano) explores how we address, explore and begin to answer these questions through music. They will present three works by ALAANA composers, two of which have been commissioned and written for them: Taiwanese American Yiheng Yvonne Wu’s Three Adaptations interweaves folk songs from Taiwan, China and Japan; Indian American Reena Esmail’s Juhla Juhle and the world-premiere of a brand-new work by Navajo Juantio Becenti addresses the forced 300 plus mile walk from the Navajo traditional homelands to an internment camp in 1864. During this session, we will also hear from the composers as they explain their composition process and how they explore their identity, culture and sense of belonging in their pieces.

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Athlete Activism: Hope for Social Change

3-4 p.m.  |  Stretansky Concert Hall, Cunningham Center for Music and Art

Danielle Lynch, associate director of athletics for compliance; Sharief Hashim, director of athletics; and Craig Stark, chair and associate professor of communications

With a focus on athlete activism, we will facilitate a roundtable discussion surrounding the history of athlete activism within the U.S. from Jack Johnson to present-day athlete activists. This interactive session will explore the origins of activism through the civil rights era. Participants will gain knowledge and skills that are applicable throughout life and are truly timely with the global awakening regarding equity and social justice concerns.

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Multilingual reading of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s The World House

4:15–5:15 p.m.

Students, faculty and staff will read in their native language or language of study.

Lyudmyla Ardan, assistant professor of economics—Ukrainian

Hojin Chang, assistant professor of math and computer science—Korean

Samit Barua Chowdhury ’24—Bengali

Li E, assistant professor of Chinese studies—Mandarin

Emma Fleck, chair and associate professor of management and marketing—English

Anjee Gorkhali, assistant professor of finance and analytics—Nepali

Jie Hao, assistant professor of accounting—Mandarin

Alisar Jalal ’23—Arabic

Katarina Keller, associate professor of economics—Swedish

Marcos Krieger, associate professor of music—Xerente

Aisulu Lawton, academic assistant—Kyrgyz

Paloma Morcillo Ortega, visiting language fellow—Spanish

Francia Moyer, administrative assistant—Tagalog

Lynn Palermo, associate professor of French studies—French

Daniel Perez ’22—Spanish

Li Schultz student support specialist—Malay

Annemieke Stassel, ELL instructor—Dutch

Mirta Suquet, assistant professor of Spanish studies—Spanish

Matteo Tondo, visiting language fellow—Italian

Tersis Wolle ’23—Amharic

Robel Wondwossen ’23—French

Samya Zain, professor of physics—Urdu

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