’Deis Impact 2020 seeks event ideas from students

February 7, 2020

The Brandeis University Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) is looking for event ideas from students for the annual ’Deis Impact program, according to an email from ODEI Director Allyson Livingstone and Program Administrator Lydia Casmier. 

In an email sent to the student body on Jan. 31, ODEI “[invited] all members of the Brandeis community” to propose events for this year’s ’Deis Impact, which it said would take place on March 23-25. This year, ODEI has selected “Reflections on Im/Migration” as its theme for the event. In the email, ODEI said that it wants the content of the events to focus on topics such as “immigration, migration, asylum seeking, refugee experiences, political ideology, xenophobia, citizenship, and/or nationality and the intersections of identities, power, privilege, and oppression.” 

“Each of us, directly or through our family members and ancestors, have experienced international and intranational movement,” reads the email. “Some of these movements are voluntary and engaged with honor, while others are coerced, fueled by, and often met with, violence. Many of us have experienced a combination of all of these conditions. Deis Impact 2020 will focus on our collective lived experiences as we navigate the dynamics of power, privilege, and exclusion contained within them.”

’Deis Impact, according to ODEI’s website, is a “festival of social justice” which was first conceived of in 2011. The event was managed by the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life until 2018, but in 2019 the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion took over management.

ODEI’s website gives the following examples of the types of events it plans on having: “academic courses, art and artistic performances, displays, facilitated discussions, panel presentations, reflection opportunities, speakers, [and] workshops.” The aforementioned email lists February 17 as the final date to submit proposals for events. In the email, ODEI wrote that this year’s ’Deis Impact will include “a Community Engagement and Activism Bazaar, thematic partner events, and social activism education.” On its website, ODEI names events such as “Keynote Event Featuring Angela Davis ’65,” “Justice for All: The Ongoing Fight for Reform of the Justice System and Prisoner Rights” and “From Protest to Politics: The Ferguson Uprising; Challenging Longstanding Injustices” as highlights of last year’s ’Deis Impact.

In 2019, the first year that ODEI managed ’Deis Impact, ODEI wrote a Letter to the Editor of The Brandeis Hoot in which it apologized “to students, faculty and staff negatively impacted by the ‘deis IMPACT! ‘Immigration Court: An Experiential Program’ proposal process.” In the letter, ODEI promised that as a result of this incident, it would “[engage] in a systematic review and evaluation of all ‘deis IMPACT! processes, including program and Impacter [sic] selection, development and support” over the summer of 2019.

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