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Celebrating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 22–26, 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr. Week

The campus community celebrates the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. each year.
Picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Schedule of Events

2018 Keynote Speakers

Loretta Ross

Loretta Ross
Loretta Ross is an expert on women’s issues, racism, and human rights. Her work emphasizes the intersectionality of social justice issues and how this transforms social change. She is a nationally recognized women’s rights and human rights leader. She was a co-founder and the national coordinator (2005­–2012) of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, a network that organizes women of color in the reproductive justice movement. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, she holds an honorary doctorate of civil law degree from Arcadia University (2003) and a second honorary doctorate degree from Smith College (2013). She is pursuing a PhD in women’s studies at Emory University. She is a mother, grandmother, and a great-grandmother.

Chinyere Okogeri '18

Chinyere Okogeri '18
Chinyere Okogeri ’18 is studying behavioral neuroscience and women’s studies. Throughout her Colgate career she has served on the executive board of multiple organizations and initiatives including but not limited to: Sisters of the Round Table, Let’s Get Ready, and Impulse. She has also traveled to Selma, Ala., to learn about the history of the Civil Rights Movement and uses her passion for social justice to address injustices and build community.

Speaker Biographies

Thomas Bennett ’72, P’06’09

BiographyA member of the Cabinet of Freedom, the governing board of the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, Thomas Bennett ’72, P’06, P’09 is a retired social studies teacher from Jamesville-DeWitt High School (N.Y.). He is a recipient of the Outstanding Social Studies Educator Award from the CNY New York Council for the Social Studies and the Distinguished Educator Award from the NYS Council for the Social Studies. For a 10-year period, he served as an educational adviser and faculty member to former New York State Senator Nancy Larraine Hoffman’s Civil Rights Connection Program, in which high school juniors from central New York traveled to Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia to study the historic Civil Rights Movement and to take part in related community service experiences.

Denise M. Contreras

BiographyDenise Contreras, assistant director, Survivor Support Services, joined Colgate’s counseling staff in 2015. She received bachelor’s (2006) and master’s (2007) degrees in social work from Texas State University after serving as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. Her focus includes trauma and PTSD, alcohol and substance misuse, life transitions, grief/loss, relationships, identity, and trans/queer mental health and healing. Her therapeutic approach involves a strengths-based perspective using cognitive behavioral techniques with trauma-informed clinical care. In her practice, she explores decolonizing health and wellness and use of ancestral healing work as a source of self-healing. She has extensive experience working on issues related to prevention, education, and crisis intervention in young adults.

Tamala Flack

BiographyTamala Flack is the executive director for equity and inclusion and equal opportunity and affirmative action at Colgate. Her work focuses on equal opportunity, affirmative action, ADA, discrimination and harassment, Title IX, and diversity and inclusion. She promotes the valuing of diversity and inclusion through building the awareness, knowledge, and skills necessary to live, work, and learn in our diverse society. She has planned, developed, and implemented equal employment opportunity programs and affirmative action plans; developed and delivered a broad array of training programs; designed recruitment and retention strategies; and worked to align policies, practices, strategic initiatives, and education and outreach efforts in order to create more inclusive and equitable communities aligned with institutions’ missions and core aspirations. She received her BA in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her law degree from Campbell University.  

Kerra Hunter

BiographyKerra Hunter is the assistant dean and director of International Student Services at Colgate University. She earned her MEd in post-secondary education from Salisbury University and her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, where she studied journalism and geology. Hunter was born and raised on the island of Jamaica.

Paula C. Johnson

BiographyPaula C. Johnson is a professor at Syracuse University College of Law. She also serves as co-president of the Society of American Law Teachers. She received her BA from the University of Maryland, College Park; her JD from Temple University School of Law; and her LLM from Georgetown University Law Center. At Syracuse, she teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, voting rights, professional responsibility, and a seminar on women in the criminal justice system. She also has taught at the University of Arizona, the University of Baltimore, and Northern Illinois University.

Reagan P. Mitchell

BiographyReagan Mitchell is a visiting assistant professor in Colgate’s Department of Educational Studies. Born in Nashville, Tenn., he received his bachelor’s of music from Middle Tennessee State University, his master’s of music from the University of Northern Colorado, and his educational specialist degree as well as his doctor of philosophy from Louisiana State University. The merger of Mitchell’s formal training and performance as a musician and pedagogical training as a curriculum theorist has an intrinsically interdisciplinary feel. Through his expanded course of study, he has laid the foundation for a program of research on the cultural and historical influences of race, space, gentrification, auditory architecture, and communal wisdom on education. Mitchell’s scholarship brings together curriculum theory, ethnic studies, critical race theory, critical geography, and sound studies.

Suzanne B. Spring

BiographySuzanne Spring, PhD, is currently the faculty director of Colgate’s Office of Undergraduate Studies.