Contact Women and Gender Studies

Program Co-Directors:
Lisa Cunningham
Phone: (585) 899-3723

Pao Vue
Phone: (585) 385-2142

News Detail

St. John Fisher College Marks Annual "Four Freedoms Week" with Presentations, Keynotes, and Interactive Training


Students and faculty at St. John Fisher College will spend this week exploring the meaning of Franklin Roosevelt’s historic pronouncement of four universal freedoms inhered to every global citizen—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

"Four Freedoms Week," which takes place November 8-12, will include a week full of events that all focus on increasing understanding of Roosevelt’s powerful words and their relevance in today’s world. The College has scheduled speakers, interactive programs, and exhibits that are free and open to students, faculty, staff, and the general public.

One exhibit that will be on display the entire week is The Clothesline Project. This program started in Cape Cod, MA, in 1990 as a vehicle for those affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. The shirts were then displayed on a clothesline to be viewed by others as a testimony to the problem of violence against women. The exhibit will be on display in LeChase Common throughout the week.

The full schedule is as follows:

Monday, November 8

10:10-11:05 am
Opening Session, Dr. Carolyn Vacca, Presenter
Lavery Library Lower Level

Dr. Vacca will provide participants with the history of the four freedoms and how they impact our daily lives as citizens of the United States.

4:00-5:30 pm
“Service Immersion at JASY Camp”
Lavery Library

Presentation of the “Jamaican Advantage Thru Sports for Youth” (JASY) Camp Experience at 4:15. Photographs by Stephen Watts, documenting the SJFC community service trip. Hosts: Community Service, the Arts Minor Program, Lavery Library, the SJFC JASY Team

Tuesday, November 9

11:15 am-12:15 pm
Keynote: Henry Silberstern, “Surviving the Holocaust”
Golisano Gateway Midlevel


Henry Silberstern was born in the small town of Teplice, western Czechoslovakia in 1930. In 1942, when he was 12, the Nazis transported Henry and his mother to the Terezin camp. Terezin was a place of starvation and deprivation where people struggled to survive the subhuman conditions created by the Nazis. Later, he and his family were sent “East” – the Nazi’s code word for sending the Jews to concentration camps – to Auschwitz-Birkenau. It was there that Henry became one of 89 Jewish boys who were selected by the infamous “Angel of Death” – Dr. Joseph Mengele. Fortunately, Henry lived to tell others about his family’s ordeal. He is the only survivor in his extended family of 54.

Wednesday, November 10

11:00 am–12:20 pm
Safe Zone Training
Golisano Gateway Midlevel

Participants will learn about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Ally (LGBTQIA) vocabulary, differences between sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity. They will also learn how to be supportive straight allies for the LGBTQIA community. At the end of the session, participants will be eligible to receive a Gay Alliance “Safe Zone Sticker.”

Thursday, November 11

11:00 am–12:20 pm
“Speaking Out Against Sexual Violence”
Presenter: Rape Crisis Center of Rochester,
Wilson Formal Lounge (across from Security)

In this interactive workshop, a representative from Rochester Rape Crisis will lead a discussion on the resources available for survivors of sexual assault. Host: Women and Gender Studies Department

12:30-1:40 pm
“Defending Religious Diversity in Public Schools and Interfaith Discussions”
Facilitator: Dr. Nathan Kollar
Basil 135

Dr. Kollar is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at St. John Fisher College; adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Education, University of Rochester; and co-founder and chair of the Board of the Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue at Nazareth College. The most recent of his books is Defending Religious Diversity in Public Schools: A Practical Guide for Building Our Democracy and Deepening Our Education. He is currently working on a book tentatively titled Distilling Spirits: A Primer for Reviewing, Discovering, Choosing, And Conversing About One’s Spirituality.
Host: Religious Studies Club

6:00 – 7:30 pm
Hunger Banquet
Cleary Auditorium

The Hunger Banquet focuses on world-wide hunger. Participants will randomly receive a ticket which will place them in one of three socio-economic classes. According to “status,” guests will have a specific type of meal. During the Hunger Banquet, information will be provided and discussions will be held about poverty. Hosts: Dr. Wood and the ONE Campaign

Friday, November 12

6:00 – 8:00 pm
Temple B’rith Kodesh Visit
Temple B’rith Kodesh, Rochester

Free transportation is available and will leave the steps of Ward-Haffey at 5:40 pm. Please RSVP by Wednesday, November 10th, at 4:00 pm if you are interested in visiting the temple. Host: Religious Studies Club

For more information regarding Four Freedoms Week, please contact Yantee Slobert in the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Programs at (585) 385-8378 or

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