Diversity Week

Blackhawk Technical College’s annual Diversity Week is scheduled for the week of Nov. 11 and will spotlight four areas of interest to BTC students, staff and friends from the general public.       

BTC’s Diversity Advancement Committee is sponsoring programs that will focus on autism, religious diversity, cultural relationships and anti-poverty activism by four nationally recognized speakers.

All four events are free of charge and will be held in the Triangle Room on BTC’s Central Campus.

Monday, Nov. 11, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Brian King, a licensed clinical social worker and prolific writer, will address new ways of dealing with autism as he wrote about in “Let’s Relate: Strategies for Building Meaningful Relationships with People on the Autism Spectrum.”          

King, who lives in DeKalb, Ill., is the husband of a woman and father of three sons on the Autism Spectrum. King, a cancer survivor, personally deals with with Asperger’s Syndrome and Attention Deficit Disorder. He will actively engage his audience on methods to develop and implement customized communication strategies with those on the Autism Spectrum.

Tuesday, Nov. 12, 4:30-7:30 p.m.

Susan O’Halloran, a keynote speaker and featured teller at the National Storytelling Festival, will delve into the issues of religious tolerance.

The Evanston, Ill., resident is the author of “More Alike Than Not: Stories of Three Americans – Catholic, Jewish and Muslim.” O’Halloran’s journey to understanding began as a high school student when she worked with an interracial youth group and studied with adults who were working with Dr. Martin Luther King in Chicago. O’Halloran “has mastered the Irish art of telling stories that are funny and heart-wrenching at the same time,” The Chicago Reader reports.

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Andre Koen, the one-time cultural diversity officer for Anoka County, Minn., who now operates his own diversity consulting firm, will examine bias, stereotypes and prejudices.

The session will involve how to take responsibility in promoting justice and thinking critically about racial issues. “I don’t have a rulebook and I don’t have a checklist,’’ he once told an interviewer. “I’m trying to create new ways of having people think.’’

Thursday, Nov. 14, 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Paul Gorski, a professor at George Mason University in Virginia with scholarly focus on anti-poverty activism and education, will address how to turn simple awareness of a problem into social activism.

Gorski, who also will spend time making classroom visits at BTC, is the founder of EdChange, a coalition of educators and activists who develop social justice resources for educators and activists. He is the author of three books and more than 30 articles on diversity issues.