12/21/2014 3:54:10 PM
STOP Conference Sparks Thought
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
As the country celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, Siena College helped to ensure that King’s legacy lives on.
During the College’s ninth annual STOP (Students Together Opposing Prejudice) Conference, hundreds of Capital Region middle and high school students were empowered to stand up to intolerance and violence in their schools.
As the anti-bias workshop progressed, students were divided into small groups led by facilitators from the Anti-Defamation League’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute.
“It’s a very powerful experience to see young people from diverse backgrounds come together to have conversations around bias and stereotypes,” said group facilitator Beth Tidd, who is based in the ADL’s Albany Office.
As Tidd’s workshop progressed, students discussed the impact that prejudice has in their schools. Tidd led the students in an exercise that asked them to consider life from another person’s perspective, including those from different races, religions, sexual orientations and abilities.
“If you just stop talking and listen to someone, you can learn so much about them,” said Anna DeLoriea, a freshman at Schuylerville High School.
It was an eye-opening experience for Troy High School student Kristin Connolly.
“I know I judge too quickly sometimes,” Connolly said. The Troy High teen said she would become more willing to help people she sees struggling.
“It really got me to think about other people,” said Wayne Brown, Connolly’s Troy High schoolmate.
According to Martin Luther King Lecture Series Advisory Board Chair Peter Ellard, Ph.D., that’s the point of the STOP Conference.
“It offers these students and their teachers training on how to be allies to support those who are the targets of bias and violence,” Ellard said.
The STOP Conference is sponsored by Siena College’s Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King Lecture Series on Race and Nonviolent Social Change. Organizers hope that as a result of the conference, Siena College sends the students and faculty back to their schools as allies for people in need.
After the conference, Siena’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration continued as the Maloney Great Room transformed into a colorful gallery featuring original art and writing from hundreds of Capital Region students. This year’s theme was, “The time is always right to do what is right.”
The annual MLK Lecture will be held in the Marcelle Athletic Complex on Thursday, April 3 at 7 p.m. This year's speaker is Benjamin Todd Jealous, the former president and CEO of the NAACP.
Contact: Ken Jubie
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