Looking for the "North Star" by Nani Chacon
Looking for the “North Star” by Nani Chacon, photograph by Ted Wong. Courtesy of Wall Therapy


Friday, October 23, 2020

4:00 pm
Social Hour

All are welcome to come in to the Zoom lounge and socialize before the 5:00pm keynote address.

5:00 pm
Keynote Address

Michelle Schenandoah, JD
Oneida Nation Wolf Clan

Michelle Schenandoah

“Why the Haudenosaunee Women’s Voice Matters, Even More So Today” 

An inspirational writer, speaker, and thought leader, Michelle Schenandoah, JD, LL.M., MS, is a traditional member of the Oneida Nation Wolf Clan of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. She is the founder of Rematriation Magazine, a new Indigenous women’s online multimedia platform. She is focused on leadership development and the reclaiming of Indigenous women’s traditional roles among their nations.  Her speech will share a Haudenosaunee worldview that came to influence the early Suffragists, how this history was buried, and why the Haudenosaunee women’s voice is crucial to our world’s rapidly changing political, social, spiritual and environmental landscape. 

6:30 pm
Musical Performance

Danielle Ponder, JD
With accompaniment by Avis Reese

Danielle Ponder’s pipes soar with soul, affection, and conviction. It’s both gut-wrenching and exhilarating. This Rochester, NY native has spent the past years rendering goose bumps by perfecting her style and charismatic performance. Beyond Danielle’s musical talent, she is a former Public Defender and Tedx speaker. At Northeastern University, where she received her Juris Doctorate, Danielle was awarded the prestigious Public Interest Law scholarship. Danielle has dedicated the past 15 years to organizing and speaking up for marginalized communities.

 Saturday, October 24, 2020

9:00 – 10:00 am
Session 1

Dialogue 1a
Activism in the Archives: New Approaches to Stewardship, Access, and Representation

Autumn Haag, Assistant Director, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester
Miranda Mims, Director, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester
Evelyn Bailey, Chair of the Shoulders to Stand on Program

The Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation at the University of Rochester has remarkable archival material that speaks to Rochester’s long history of activism, human rights, and social justice. However, a shift in practice is needed to respond to growing concerns around access and collection building in the 21st century. In this session, we will explore new models and methods in which archives can work collaboratively with activists to ensure the preservation of their work for research, instruction, and for their own legacies. After a moderated discussion about how activists can preserve the legacy of their work, the audience will participate in one of three facilitated breakout rooms to discuss the below questions.

What records do you create or steward that relate to activism or other work? How are they kept or preserved? Are they shared with others? How might the records of activists disrupt the past, question the present, and build the future? What records or archives do you wish you had access to now? How might they inform your work?

Dialogue 1b
A Dialogue on Race and Ethnicity: The Pursuit of Becoming Whole

Easton Davis, Cultural Foundations of Education, Syracuse University
Aicha Sacko, Syracuse University
Stefany Lema, Syracuse University

This session will focus on aspects of identity formation by encouraging participants to reflect on past racialized and gendered experiences and their connections to embodied knowledges. The co-facilitators, two students and a co-instructor will share their specific past experiences from an Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) course on race and ethnicity. We will address the impacts of racial narratives and dialogue around contentious issues and its effects on the mind and body. This session will focus on embodied vulnerability as one aspect of racial embodiment as a pedagogical tool and its meaning-making process. This session will include guided prompts, a small breakout group and time for questions at the end. That being said, this session will be truncated, and the expectation is that folks connecting online already know most, if not all of this content. This session should particularly benefit those who are looking for more complex ways to understand racial embodiment and interested in strengthening their pedagogical approach to supporting minoritized students at predominately white institutions.

Dialogue 1c
Influencing Public Opinion: Activist Public Relations and the Arrest of Susan B. Anthony

Arien Rozelle, Communication Department, St. John Fisher College

This session will ask participants to consider the role of public relations in activism and social movements. Attendees will participate in an interactive public relations strategy session for their agency’s newest client, Susan B. Anthony, who has just been arrested for voting illegally. As professional communicators, your objective is to use her arrest and upcoming trial as an opportunity to influence public opinion in an effort to win women the right to vote.

10:30 – 11:30 am
Session 2

Dialogue 2a
Suffragist Search Party & Election Day 2016 Screening

Linda Moroney, Low to the Ground Productions
Lorraine Woerner-MacGowan, Four Cats Creative
Laura Chekow, film educator and community project coordinator
Carol White Llewellyn, owner of CommuniVision Studio and award-winning producer of Conversations with Creatives

Women And The Vote NYS (WATVNYS) has launched a mobile-friendly, interactive website and map that celebrates historic New York State suffragists. https://www.womenandthevotenys.com

WATVNYS is a dynamic way to connect the past and the present, and bring suffrage stories to life. Through our research, we’ve discovered many fascinating stories about amazing women and men who fought tirelessly to bring about the vote for women, at a time when suffragists were often persecuted for their mission. It also provides an opportunity for citizens who know of family members or community residents who were active in the movement, to celebrate them by including their information. Our goal is to shine a light on New York State’s rich suffragist legacy, as inclusively as possible. We are cataloguing both well-known champions for equality under the law as well as individuals whose contributions may be all but lost to history. During our session at Seneca Falls Dialogues we will train attendees through a “Suffragist Search Party” how to research, fact check, and enter confirmed suffragist submissions into our platform.  In addition we will be presenting our documentary short- the film “Election Day 2016” (running time 15 minutes). This film offers the context of our project and provides a “time capsule” reminding us that the energy and emotion at that time is still present, accessible, and clearly relevant today. 

Dialogue 2b
Teaching Teachers to Radically Listen

Alyssa Haymore, Syracuse City School District

The session focus includes decolonizing pedagogy. The goal of this presentation is to provide strategies and tools to educators to become facilitators of discussions around race. This presentation is also providing students with an education that is culturally relevant.

Historically the education system in the United State has been White centered. Students from varying cultures have been ignored in curriculum and conversations. Diversity has been defined as White as the norm and BIPOC as the diverse. However, true diversity includes all people and all cultures. In an attempt to move away from White centered education, teachers are seeking to become Culturally Relevant Educators.

In this facilitated session, participants will be presented with Culturally Relevant methods and strategies to inform Culturally Relevant education. Participants will also have access to curriculum resources for Culturally Relevant Education.

Discussion facilitators will bring focus to the importance of developing a diverse curriculum in order to facilitate discussions amongst students around complex issues of race, religion, ethnicity, poverty, and extreme capitalism.

Dialogue 2c
National Football League Teams’ Rationales for NOT having Cheerleaders: A Scholarly and Artistic Exploration

Melanie Kelly, Syracuse University
Colby A. Murphy, Syracuse University
Mary E. Graham, Department of Sport Management, Syracuse University

Professional cheerleaders in the NFL are almost all women, and often they are required to wear outfits that highlight their sexuality and gender. Moreover, recent lawsuits by cheerleaders reveal instances of alleged degrading and sexist treatment by their team employers. Session presenters will review literature on business strategy and empirically examine NFL team rationales for using professional cheerleaders as part of organizations’ competitive strategies. We will consider the interplay of gender, race/ethnicity, and ability status in the entertainment provided at men’s professional football in the United States, focusing on a comparison of the six NFL teams that do not utilize professional cheerleaders with those that do. Interactive attendee participation is encouraged in a visual, thought-provoking display of select NFL team cheerleading rosters.

Dialogue 2d
Mad Activism in the Global Feminist Movement: A Dialogue on and of Dissent

Jessica Lowell Mason, Global Gender and Sexuality Studies, U. at Buffalo
Connor Walter, School of Social Work, University at Buffalo
Tanja Aho, American Studies, American University
Delphine Brody, Trans and Non-Binary Housing Collective
Allilsa Fernandez, Inspirational Mental Health
Vesper Moore, Kiva Centers
Maria Rovito, Penn State University

This dialogue invites mad feminist activists and a broader community of feminist activists to come together to discuss old and new directions in mad feminist activism. Our dialogue will center around the question of mad activism’s role within a larger feminist agenda. It will also touch on the rights of women and gender-non-conforming people living with psychiatric labels, those fighting for their rights from unique locations within larger social justice efforts. The dialogue will consider non-normative activism and elicit discourse on what mad feminist activism has been and is becoming, considering the ways that mad feminist activism deals with identity, erased histories, and contested activist and advocacy tendencies and trajectories.

12:00 – 1:00 pm
Musical Performance

University of Rochester Women’s Chorus
(The Eastman School of Music)

Philip Silvey, University of Rochester

The University of Rochester Women’s Chorus, directed by Philip Silvey, is a choral ensemble of women from across the U of R campus. The Chorus boasts a broad repertoire from chant to Broadway.  Philip and the U of R Women’s Chorus has partnered with the Seneca Falls Dialogues in the past, bringing new life to old suffrage tunes, and performing original works written, by Philip, specifically for the Dialogues.    

1:30 – 2:30 pm
Session 3

Dialogue 3a
Black Women’s Voting Rights and Elections in Historical and Contemporary Perspective

Alison M. Parker, Department of History, University of Delaware
Valeria Sinclair-Chapman, Department of Political Science, Purdue University
Naomi R Williams, School of Management & Labor Relations, Rutgers University

As the United States arrives at the brink of the 2020 election, the three discussants, Alison M. Parker, Valeria Sinclair-Chapman, and Naomi R. Williams, will hold a dialogue about how and why African American women of all classes have been at the forefront of movements for civil rights and economic justice. The discussants specialize in race, gender, class, and politics from their disciplinary perspectives in history, political science, and labor relations. They will each provide a brief overview of their perspective on the critical role of black women in simultaneously fighting for the right to vote while protesting the disenfranchisement of all African Americans from the Reconstruction era to the present. They will then engage the audience in a discussion of why and how previously marginalized groups have struggled to gain inclusion in the American political system and why it matters if we are going to build a more democratic nation.

Dialogue 3b
Interrogating and Navigating Feminist Leadership Initiatives in the Academy

Angela Clark-Taylor, Director Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, Case Western Reserve University
Susan Iverson, School of Education, Manhattanville College
Cassandra Pegg-Kirby, Director Women’s Center, Kent State University

Using Wakefield’s (2017) work on feminist leadership developed in transnational context, this dialogue will focus on the role of women’s centers in promoting women’s leadership in the academia that seeks to foster feminist praxis and structural change within the higher education system that advances anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and decolonial epistemologies. Participants will be invited to share examples of feminist leadership development within organizations and engage in dialogue about strategies to interrupt dominant constructions of leadership and facilitate feminist praxis.

Dialogue 3c
Witnesses from Beyond the Grave: How the Murder of Kitty Genovese reflects our culture’s penchant for soundbites, fake news, revisionism, and morbid curiosity

J.R. Teeter, Bread & Water Theatre

Kitty Genovese was famously murdered in Kew Gardens, Queens on March 13th, 1964 while 38 witnesses looked on and did nothing. Since her death, her story has evolved, been deconstructed and dismissed as tabloid journalism.

The session will cover the following:
-How a lack of activism caused the story of Kitty’s murder to be adapted and stolen by those seeking to profit off its notoriety. Activism and active participation in the systems of justice, journalism and public perception demonstrate the ability to shift the focus back onto meaningful narratives that are respectful of the victim while also establishing significant societal change.

-How Kitty’s identity has shifted over time to the perennial victim of urban apathy to a symbol of lesbian iconography. As a lesbian woman living with her partner during a time where GLBTIQ people could not be open about their sexuality, Kitty’s identity represents a milestone in GLBTIQ culture and provides understanding of a typical lesbian couple during horrific circumstances.
-JR Teeter is the author of The Witnesses of Kitty Genovese, a play on the murder and subsequent sensationalism of it. There will be a discussion of the genesis of the play, how it was constructed from first person source material and how theatre can bring about social change while staying true to the real-life inspirations

3:00 – 4:00 pm
Session 4

Dialogue 4a
Disrupters: The Democratic Activism of Women of Color

Denise Harrison, Department of English/PAS, Kent State University
Yuko Kurahashi, School of Theatre & Dance, Kent State University
Dulce Marίa Gray, English/WGS, West Valley College

This presentation will interrogate how women of color (Asian, Black and Latinx) have acted as disrupters in building a more democratic union. We will create a dialogue which shows the trajectory of where grassroots activists, such as Stacy Abrams, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Etsuko Abe are grounded. All three presenters will show a 5 minute pre-recorded presentation that will then be opened up for discussion. Denise Harrison will focus on the first wave of Black suffragists. Yuko Kurahashi’s presentation will focus on Raicho Hiratsuka and Fusae Ichikawa, both Japanese activists in the suffrage movement and peace movement. Dulce Maria Gray will focus on Latinas women’s involvement in the suffrage movement. We will discuss how we can act as agents at the local, national and global level to build political justice for all people. We will begin our presentation with the audience identifying disruptors and end with a community roll call.

Dialogue 4b
Indigequeering Land Pedagogy: Wesakecahk (Trickster) Consciousness in Dialogues Across Difference

Ionah M. Elaine Scully, Cree-Metis of the Michel First Nation, Cultural Foundations of Education, Syracuse University

This session focuses on employing trickster consciousness in dialogues between Native and non-Native participants. Trickster consciousness is an intentional form of consciousness that emerges from sharing stories that ask participants to imagine alternative ontologies or worldviews, rely on the trickster’s playful as a companion for navigating power dynamics associated with dialoguing across difference, and rely on the trickster’s humor as a form of learning and embracing the unknown. In particular, in the Nehiyaw (Cree) tradition of my nation, the Michel First Nation, Wesakecahk has been (re)membered from the past to embody Indigequeer/Two Spirit liberation now and map us into the future by reminding us our relationships to the land, which in turn remind our relationships and subsequent responsibilities we have to these bodies (of humans, lands, and waters) most impacted by colonization. In this session, we will engage with visualizations (that include accessibility options) of different types of landscapes and stories of relationships to place to foster dialogue among us using a set of critical questions that help us employ a trickster consciousness and (re)create our own narratives that account for and are responsible to the relations we have to one another.

Dialogue 4c
Covid-19 and the Rise of Mutual Aid

Dina Giovanelli, AHPS, Monroe Community College
Natasha Christensen, AHPS, Monroe Community College
Co-founders of “Hey Rochester, NY: What Do You Need? What Do You Got?” a Facebook, mutual aid group

The global pandemic of COVID-19 highlighted already stark disparities in the ways that social institutions and safety nets provide for individual people. Using social media during a time of social distancing and uncertainty, a large network of Rochesterians came together to meet their community members basic needs. It is the organizers’ hope that once the pandemic is over, the solidarity fostered in the group will continue to facilitate our interconnectedness as community members. Mutual aid groups are inherently gendered in the populations they serve. Much of the labor of providing basic needs to families, including children, partners, and elders, is gendered.  Our primary role in hosting the group is to provide food to insecure families.  Other needs like clothing children, finding childcare, providing for household needs, and paying for housing and utilities are often things that fall on women and mothers. The majority of our members, both those giving, and receiving, are female identified people.

4:30 pm
Closing Address

Inspirational Activism:
What To Do When the Sky is Falling

Reverend Jacqui Lewis
Alyson Palmer

The Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis, Ph.D. is Senior Minister at Middle Collegiate Church, a 1,300-member multiethnic, welcoming, and inclusive congregation in New York City. She is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and earned her Ph.D. in Religion and Society/Psychology and Religion at Drew University. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Dr. Lewis hosted “Just Faith,” an on-demand television program on MSNBC.com and is a frequent media commentator. Her books include The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leaders in Multi-racial, Multi-cultural Congregations, Ten Strategies for Becoming a Multiracial Congregation, and the children’s book, You Are So Wonderful! She is currently at work on a book on how to heal souls and our world. 

Alyson Palmer is a singer/songwriter/artist/activist best known for her ongoing work with the award-winning vocal trio, BETTY. For over three decades, she has toured internationally and recorded with BETTY, whose music has been featured on dozens of musical collaborations, films, ads and television series, including The L Word, Ugly Betty, Weeds and more. Aly is the creator and director of 1@1, the women’s equality action organization.  1@1 became a weekly online action plan designed to inspire sustained activism through small, easy tasks asked by a different feminist changemaker each week. In this way, created offscreen dialogues on a community level, supported neighborhood action and national leadership, and encouraged communication “beyond the bubble” to advance women’s equality.