There are many dreaded “-isms” and related words which some students have never heard.

Rise Above “-Isms,” a series of events that will take place across campus next week , aims to educate students and staff about the “-isms” that people are subjected to internationally, and are often widely ignored.

These events are not conventional, and boring lectures are not what the Rise Above “-Isms” week seeks to provide. Food will even be provided at many of the events.

“We wanted the events to be a little weird,” Dr. Beth Douthirt Cohen said, the Director of Education and Training programs in the office of Diversity and Inclusion.

“[It’s] not your typical panel in front of the room academic event,” she said.

Listed is a feature of five of the events that are available next week, but there will be more offered.

#ITooAmMaryland, and we belong here together

#ITooAmMaryland is the second event of the week, and takes place in the Atrium of Stamp on Monday from 4 to 6 p.m. According to Dr. Cohen, this is one of the more interactive events and relies heavily on activities.

“Monday starts off with conversations about  discrimination and prejudice that exist,” she said.

#ITooAmMaryland seeks to do just that.

#ITooAmMaryland was inspired by an event at Rise Above Week that was held last year, where students discussed microaggressions different people face on campus. It offers a way for the University of Maryland to respond to these aggressions in order to foster inclusiveness. An ice cream social follows the program.

Trans* Advocacy Training

Trans* advocacy trainings occur throughout the year at this university, but Dr. Beth Douthirt Cohen said that they included a training in this year’s Rise Above week to get more people to come to the program. Rise Above’s Trans* advocacy training will take place in Special Events Room 6137 of Mckeldin Library on Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

This training is the longest event  because it seeks to build solidarity with trans* and non-gender conforming people.

It aims to give those who attend a basic understanding of transgender and gender variant issues like gender theory and gender variance, cisgender privilege, and ways allies of the trans* community can take action.

“[It’s] about understanding the non-gender conforming experience,” said Dr. Cohen. “It’s really about trans* inclusion on our campus, in our communities, and in our lives.”

Those looking to participate can register at

An Afternoon Conversation with Alicia Garza

Alicia Garza, the co-founder of the #BlackLivesMatter movement will discuss the civil rights movement of the 21st century with Professor Nancy Mirabal, of the American Studies department on Tuesday from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of Stamp.

“We’re seeing a civil rights movement right now that’s really heavily grounded in the arts,” Dr. Cohen said. She said that the #BlackLivesMatter movement is a part of that.

#BlackLivesMatter is the movement that began when George Zimmerman, the killer of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was acquitted of murder. It is a chapter-based national organization that works for “the validity of black life,” as said on the #BlackLivesMatter website.

It was a response to the anti-Black racism that permeates our society and also, unfortunately, our movements,” Garza said on the website for #BlackLivesMatter. Its other creators founders Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.

Dr. Cohen said that this is a more traditional event where the most participants are expected.

Who gets to stay & Who is told to leave?: Immigration Stories from Our Community

Conversations at this event will aim to discuss the concept of xenophobia and how to combat it. in Special Events Room 6137 of McKeldin Library at Wednesday from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Xenophobia is defined as the “fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign” by the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Tricia Homer, the assistant director in the Office of Community Engagement and co-facilitator of the event said that there is a lot of problematic language prevalent in society.

“It’s important for us to talk about [this language],” she said. “I think that xenophobia is not spoken about often enough.”

The event will feature a video of stories from university staff and students of different backgrounds. Homer said that the video will be followed by “speed immigration stories” about the different backgrounds of students and small group discussions about how to interrupt xenophobia.

“What it means to be an immigrant is constantly changing,” said Homer. She said that the event is to make sure participants understand that xenophobia is still prevalent in today’s society.

Radical Access, Disability Justice, & Awkward Ableism

Defined as an interactive workshop, this event aims to interrupt instances of ableism and the discrimination of those with disabilities in everyday life.

“I think people don’t think about prejudice against people with disabilities in general,” said Dr. Cohen. “Ableism as a term I think is a new concept, [as] one of the systems of prejudice and discrimination.”

Dr. Cohen said “We have common ways of relating to disability that there are common ways to relate to disabilities, either with charity or pity.” She said that those reactions impact how able bodied individuals interact with those who have disabilities.

“We tend to think it’s such a shame that a person can’t get into that building because there are stairs,” she said.

“Instead [we should think], how is it possible that we can create buildings where certain people can’t get in?”

She said that a lot of disability entrances to buildings are in the backs of buildings, and part of this workshop is to discuss why that is. The point is to help people change their lens and to think about disabilities in new ways.

The workshop on ableism will be Thursday in Special Events Room 6137 of McKeldin Library at 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

WritersBloc_Headshots_23Alex Carolan is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at

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