COCC Hosts Scholar john a. powell as part of “Season of Nonviolence” Talks

To honor the work of nonviolent social justice advocates advocates during the Season of Nonviolence, the Central Oregon Community College Foundation’s Nancy R. Chandler Visiting Scholar Program and the college’s Multicultural Activities program are sponsoring two talks by john a. powell on Wednesday, Jan. 27, in Wille Hall, Coats Campus Center, on the COCC Bend Campus. Both events are free and open to the public.

powell is an internationally recognized expert and author in the areas of civil rights, race and structural racism, ethnicity, housing, poverty and democracy. He is a professor of law and professor of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies at the University of California/Berkeley. Also, powell is the executive director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, which supports research to generate specific changes in policy and practice that address disparities related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability and socioeconomics nationwide. Formerly, he directed the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University and the Institute for Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. He led the development of an “opportunity-based” model that connects affordable housing to racialized spaces in education, health, health care and employment.

From noon to 1:30 p.m., powell will present “Expanding the Circle of Human Concern.” This conversation and discussion will focus on respect and care for all people, not for all their ideas and beliefs, but for their humanity.

From 6:30 to 8 p.m., he will present “Opening the Question of Race to the Question of Belonging.” During this talk, powell will discuss his recent work related to the global movement of Othering & Belonging and will share his insights to help us understand the issue of race in our society. He will talk about the new science that reveals that race is relational and plays out in the unconscious mind.

powell is the author of “Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.” He regularly consults with philanthropic organizations seeking to create agendas for racial equity and inclusion across multiple dimensions of difference. As part of this work, he serves on the board of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE), the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC), and the TIDES Foundation. powell also founded the American Values Institute, now the Perception Institute, which was one of the first consortiums to focus on implicit bias and the mind science outside the academy. More recently, he has been focusing on issues of marginality through the lens of othering and belonging.

Since 2009 COCC has been recognizing the international commemoration of the Season of Nonviolence that honors the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. COCC also honors the work of Cesar Chavez and Chief Wilma Mankiller during this time. The annual series of events highlights the work being done globally as well as locally to foster equity and justice for everyone. The aim is to inspire campus and community participants to become involved in their communities to make Central Oregon a safe and respectful place to live, work and learn.

Additional sponsors include the Deschutes Cultural Coalition, Deschutes Brewery, The Oregon Community Foundation, Old Mill District, the OSU-Cascades Diversity Committee, the COCC Social Sciences department, the Associated Students of COCC and the OSU-Cascades Student Fee Committee.

Please RSVP to the events at For information, call 541-383-7257.

In advance of college events, persons needing accommodation or transportation because of a physical or mobility disability, contact Joe Viola: 541-383-7775. For accommodation because of other disability such as hearing impairment, contact Anne Jenkins: 541-383-7743.


john a. powell spells his name in lowercase in the belief that we should be “part of the universe, not over it, as capitals signify.”

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