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Sylvania diversity event scores big with students and staff

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More than 200 students, faculty and staff at the Sylvania Campus recently stopped by the cafeteria during the lunch hour to hear a presentation about racism given by a locally-based artist, author and public speaker.Damali Ayo speaks to Sylvania.

Damali Ayo, whose popular book, “How to Rent a Negro,” served as the foundation of the talk, used humorous stories and creative visuals to highlight methods to create healthier, more productive racial interactions. Her presentation served as the kick-off for a long list of events and activities taking place during the college’s spring term, planned by PCC Sylvania’s diversity committee.

“Diversity is an integral component of what Sylvania is, in terms of our student body, our faculty and staff, and the programs and classes we offer,” said Linda Gerber, Sylvania Campus president, as part of the introduction. “With this in mind, our spring term events enable us to embrace and celebrate the richness diversity brings to our community.”

Entitled “I Can Fix It!: Racism,”Ayo’s presentation addressed the need for races to acknowledge and identify themselves. Through a step-by-step process, individuals of all colors need to listen, learn, broaden personal experiences, speak out and take action. “I Can Fix It!: Racism” can be found online at

After the presentation, Ayo engaged in an hour-long discussion about racism and diversity within Portland, with PCC faculty and staff at the college Learning Center.

“We are delighted that Damali could join us this year,” says Claire Oliveros, coordinator of the Sylvania Multicultural Center and a member of the campus diversity committee who helped to plan the event. “She’s a phenomenal speaker and someone we had hoped to invite to Sylvania for a long time now.

“As expected, her presentation was thought-provoking and well-received by our student body and staff,” she said.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »


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