Diversity Series

Diversity Series Logo YVCWhat is the Diversity Series?

The series benefits the college and the greater community by extending the concept of education beyond the classroom.

Since 2005 Yakima Valley College has partnered with several local area organizations to host events and lectures through the annual Diversity Series.

The events provide YVC the opportunity to bring diverse perspectives to everyday topics and push the boundaries of the term beyond race, gender, social class, and sexuality.

Theme for 2020-2021: DISMANTLE RACISM

racism written on a black board
Rena Priest

Washington State Poet Laureate: Rena Priest

Public Reading and Talk

May 21, 2021 from 11:30-1:00 PM
Join the reading on Zoom.

The American Book Award-winning poet and member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation is the first Indigenous poet to assume the role.

Priest’s literary debut, Patriarchy Blues, was honored with the 2018 American Book Award, and her most recent work is Sublime Subliminal. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Western Washington University and a master’s of fine arts in writing from Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville, N.Y.). Priest has received the Allied Arts Foundation 2020 Professional Poets Award and fellowships from Hawthornden Castle, Hedgebrook, Mineral School and the Vadon Foundation. Her work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Pontoon Poetry, Verse Daily, Poem-a-Day at Poets.org and elsewhere, and she has taught cultural studies and Native American literature at Western Washington University and Northwest Indian College. Her most recent poetry collection is “Sublime Subliminal.”

Poets laureate work to build awareness and appreciation of poetry—including the state’s legacy of poetry—through public readings, workshops, lectures, and presentations in communities throughout the state. Each laureate puts their own unique focus on the position, and Priest will focus on two primary goals during her term: celebrating poetry in Washington’s tribal communities, and using poetry to increase appreciation of the natural world and the threats facing it. Priest’s term will run from April 14, 2021, to March 31, 2023.

For more information contact YVC English Instructor Mark Fuzie or 509.574.6800 x 3160.

From her latest book: Sublime Subliminal

Real to Reel
Indistinct Features
Canadian Tuxedo

Diversity Series Film Series

2020-2021 Diversity Series will present a special film series that will explore dismantling racism in society. Each event will provide one week of free access to viewing a film, followed by a virtual discussion on that film. See the following details for a complete look at the upcoming film series.

Upcoming Films

I Am Not Your Negro

Watch the Film then Join the Discussion: May 20, 2021, at 5:00 pm

Film Description: “I Am Not Your Negro” is a 2016 documentary film directed by Raoul Peck, based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House. The film explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin’s reminiscences of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as his personal observations of American history.


For more information contact Vicente Lopez at vlopez@yvcc.edu.

Previous Films

Watch the Film then Join the Discussion: October 22, 2020 at 5:00 pm

Film Description: “Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement” is an original documentary film that chronicles the evolution of the Black Lives Matter movement through the first-person accounts of local activists, protesters, scholars, journalists and others. Dubbed the new “civil rights movement,” #BlackLivesMatter launched a transformative grassroots movement that moved from social media to the streets across America. From scheduled marches to assembled sit-ins and to heated rallies across the country, protesters and communities pushed the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter into a worldwide rallying cry.

Watch the Film then Join the Discussion: November 19, 2020 at 5:00 pm

Film Description: The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars this film examination the U.S. prison system and looks at how the country’s history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America.

Watch the Film then Join the Discussion: Rescheduled to January 21, 2021 at 5:00 pm

Film Description: “Selma” is a historical drama directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Paul Webb. It is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches initiated and directed by James Bevel and led by Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams, and John Lewis. “Selma premiered at the American Film Institute Festival in November 2014 and expanded into a wide theatrical release in January  2015, two months before the 50th anniversary of the march. The film was re-released on March 20, 2015, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the historical march.

Available for viewing on Hulu, Sling, YouTube, Prime, Google Play, Vudu, and iTunes.

(Students and staff: Selma is available on the Swank Digital Campus database.  Watch on Kanopy.  Students will need to authenticate with their SID and password. Employees will need to authenticate with their network login (sans @) and their network password.)

Watch the Film then Join the Discussion February 25, 2021, at 5:00 pm

Film Description: “Freedom Riders” is the powerful, harrowing, and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives — and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment — for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws in order to test and challenge a segregated interstate travel system, the Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence along the way, sorely testing their belief in nonviolent activism. From award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, “Freedom Riders” features testimony from a fascinating cast of central characters: the Riders themselves, state and federal government officials, and journalists who witnessed the Rides firsthand.

Watch the Film then Join the DiscussionApril 15, 2021, at 5:00 pm

Film Description: The film follows a young woman who, with her family’s support, seeks to clear the name of her wrongly charged lover and prove his innocence before the birth of their child.

Race, Power, & Privilege E-Course

SpeakOut’s new e-course, “Race, Power, and Privilege,” offers a creative and relevant introductory curriculum that provides students with the fundamentals of how interpersonal and systemic racism function, and how we might begin to imagine a safe and equitable world for all.

The modules:

  • unpack prejudice, discrimination, and oppression
  • cover key definitions essential to anti-racism education
  • offer activities to assess and evaluate one’s own identity and responsibility
  • outline steps to practice solidarity

A powerfully-packaged experience essential for every student, SpeakOut’s “Race, Power, and Privilege” e-course will help all students tap into their radical imagination, and grow and thrive in a diverse campus setting.

Register today for free!

  1. Click the registration link.
  2. Create an account (username and password).
  3. Complete the “purchase” and click “EnrollNow” (note: under “purchase,” it will say $0 due).
  4. They will receive an email with instructions and will then have access to the e-course

Additional events will be hosted throughout the academic year. For more information: visit 509.574.6800 ext. 4965/ diversityseries@yvcc.edu