James Farmer Multicultural Center Cultural Programming and Collaborations Report

Jewish Cultural Celebration – November 2 – 13

  • This was the fifth annual Jewish Cultural Celebration co-sponsored by the Jewish Student Association and the JFMC.  The kick-off celebration was successful with over one hundred individuals attending the special cultural dinner in the University Center, fourth floor.  There are several other programs throughout this two-week celebration including a film and discussion event, a Shabbat dinner, and a Havdalah Ceremony, etc. The keynote speaker for this celebration is Rabbi Charles Feinberg, a Rabbi of 42 years and supporter of social action and social justice issues. Currently, he is the executive director of Interfaith Action for Human Rights, a nonprofit that educates Mid-Atlantic religious communities about human rights issues and does advocacy on the state level.


Native American Cultural Celebration – November 16 – November 20

  • The theme was “Moving with Courage: The Voice of Yesterday and Tomorrow.” This week-long celebration included a Native American exhibit of Dance and Drumming Performance, authentic Native American cuisine featured in the University 4th floor,  a film and discussion, and concluded with an outstanding keynote lecture featuring Dr. Kevin Gover.   Gover is a citizen of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and, director of the National Museum of American Indian.  He served as a law clerk in the chambers of the Honorable Juan G. Burciaga, was a United States District Judge for the District of New Mexico, and is a Former Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the United States Department of the Interior.  The audience was treated to a stimulating and informative keynote presentation that evening


Kwanzaa Celebration – December 3

  • Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration that takes place in the United States. It is observed from December 26 thru January 1. This year, the James Farmer Multicultural Center along with the Black Student Association, held Kwanzaa on December 3, 2015 at 6 pm in the Faculty/Staff Dining Room in Seacobeck Hall. The purpose of Kwanzaa is to educate and entertain the members of the University of Mary Washington community about the culture of Kwanzaa.  During the Kwanzaa event, attendees are informed about Kwanzaa’s seven principles, libations, and Zawadi (gift giving).  Kwanzaa allows for an opportunity to focus on the importance of family and community.

Like previous years, Kwanzaa is geared to all members of the UMW community. This year we had a good attendance by students, faculty, and administration as well as community members within Fredericksburg.  Each year the faculty, staff, and administration are invited to serve as an Elder in the program in order to foster a more diverse community and emphasize the importance of Kwanzaa’s culture. Their presence is an essential part of the program because it symbolizes the significance of Kwanzaa. The UMW Praise Dance Ministries, Voices of Praise singing group, and Alter Egos step team performed during the program.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Week Celebration – January 17 – 23

  • In collaboration with the Office of the President, Office of the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Service, and the MLK Planning Committee, the JFMC assisted in coordinating a series of programs to celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy. The campus and local community were invited to journey and reflect during this celebration on how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has affected your life, your community, and your future.  This is the fourth year we implemented the MLK, Jr. Kids’ Day activities.  It was held off campus at the James Monroe High School in collaboration with the community-based Partnership for Excellence organization and their city-wide MLK program.  The MLK keynote presentation featuring Donzaleigh Abernathy on Wednesday, January 20th was successful.  Abernathy delivered an inspiring and enlightening speech as she shared her journey and involvement with many civil rights movements and causes, beginning with her relationship with “Uncle Martin” and how her father, along with Dr. King, helped keep the civil rights movement achieving significant accomplishments along the way.  Also, there was a roundtable discussion program on race relations entitled, “Trading Spaces:  A Discussion of Race Relations” on Thursday, January 21st.  The Day of Service activities scheduled for Saturday, January 23rd were canceled due to inclement weather.


Academic Collaborations

  • Ceremony performed by Rabbi Bruce Aft entitled, “Havdalah Ceremony” on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 5 pm at Ball Circle.
  • Co-sponsored program with Rabbi Bruce Aft as the panel moderator entitled, “Campus and Culture: Enhancing the Inclusive Environment” on Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 7 pm in Lee Hall, room 414.


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