Contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Programs

Director: Yantee Slobert
Office: 117 Basil Hall
Phone: (585) 385-8378

News Detail

St. John Fisher College Marks Annual "Four Freedoms Week"


Students and faculty at St. John Fisher College will spend next 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 October 31-November 4, will include a week full of events that all focus on understanding immigration issues and how they are relevant to our country today. The week-long event is sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Programs, and features scheduled speakers, interactive programs, and exhibits that are free and open to students, faculty, staff, and the general public.

The full schedule of events is as follows:

Monday, October 31

10:10-11:05 a.m. - 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.

The Clothesline Project*

Clothesline ProjectThis program started in Cape Cod, MA, in 1990 to address the issue of domestic violence against women. It is a vehicle for those affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt that is then hung on a clothesline so others can read their testimonies.
*This project will be displayed throughout the entire Four Freedoms Week in LeChase Commons

Tuesday, November 1

Warren Heilbronner11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Keynote: Warren Heilbronner, “Escaping to the United States and Thriving”
COP Conference Room, Campus Life Center

As a young child, Warren Heilbronner lived comfortably with his parents and brother in Stuttgart, Germany until Kristallnacht – which is when the Gestapo took his father and grandfather to Dachau. The only way out of Dachau was to get an exit Visa and the only way to obtain one was to have a sponsor in another country. Heilbronner’s uncle, who was in the U.S., became their sponsor, but the family had to overcome a number of obstacles. When they finally had the necessary papers, they learned that their sponsor and family member had died, and they had to lie to the U.S. consulate so they believed the family still had a living sponsor. The family settled in Perry, New York, and Heilbronner’s father found work in a textile factory. As a family from Germany, moving to a rural area on the eve of World War II, they continued to experience discrimination. Heilbronner’s early experiences with how a free society can become a dictatorship had a deep impact on his life. He will share his story and answer questions during this session.

Safe Zone6:00 p.m.-8:00 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.”

Wednesday, November 2

The Muslims I Know11:15 a.m.-12:10 p.m. AND 6:15 p.m.-7:15 p.m. - Film: “The Muslims I Know”
Basil 135

The tragic events on 9/11 created a lot of interest in Islam and Muslims. As a result, the mainstream media responded to the demand for information by airing sweeping generalizations and assumptive stereotypes. America’s small community of Muslims longs to change people’s preconceived notions about them and their culture. This documentary gives them a chance to be heard and understood, through a dialogue with non-Muslim Americans. Director, producer, writer, and editor, Mara Ahmed, will facilitate this session and answers audience questions.

Service Learning4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. - Opening Reception for “Three Generations, One Vision: A Student Photography Service-Learning Exhibit”
Lavery Library – Main Floor

A photography exhibit showcasing St. John Fisher College’s commitment to service-learning. “Three Generations, One Vision: A Student Photography Service-Learning Exhibit” features photos documenting three unique service-learning courses that were taught in the spring 2011 semester in Environmental Science, English, and Education. Students in each course collaborated with generations of Rochester residents, including elementary students, high school teenagers, and elders. The exhibit will be on display in the library’s first floor gallery through December 3.

Thursday, November 3

12:30 p.m.-1:40 p.m. - Safe Zone Advanced Training
Golisano Gateway Midlevel
PREREQUISITE: Participants must have completed the basic Safe Zone Training before they can attend this workshop.

Safe Zone allies are important resources in schools, colleges and companies. They serve as a friendly face or kind ear for LGBT students and staff around a variety of issues. This workshop is designed to prepare Safe Zone allies to act as resources to people who are experiencing anti-LGBT discrimination, harassment or violence. Participants will explore the continuum of violence from homophobic jokes to hate crimes through various case studies. The workshop will also touch briefly on domestic violence in LGBT relationships and sexual assault in the LGBT community.

Women Speak Out1:45 p.m.-3:05 p.m. - Presenter: Rape Crisis Center of Rochester, “Speaking Out Against Sexual Violence”
Wilson Formal

After I Pick The Fruit6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. - Film: “After I Pick the Fruit”
Basil 135

This film follows the lives of five immigrant farm worker women as they labor in the apple orchards and fields of rural western New York over a ten-year period. The Bush Administration’s post-9/11 crackdown on illegal immigration is a pivotal event in the film, which documents the fear and sadness that two of the women experience after their husbands were picked up in a raid and deported. This screening will mark the film’s debut – right here at St. John Fisher College! Filmmaker Nancy Ghertner will serve as the session facilitator, and will answer questions from the audience.

Friday, November 4

hunger banquet6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. - Hunger Banquet
Cleary Auditorium

The Hunger Banquet focuses on worldwide 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: SWAV and The Office of Multicultural Affairs & Diversity Programs

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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