PIQUA — Because minority faces are few in the three-county area served by Edison State Community College, the school’s Diversity Committee is committed to showing people worlds that exist outside their own.
“The tendency is to believe that what we don’t see doesn’t exist,” said Dr. Vivian Blevins, who teaches communications, ethics, humanities and literature at Edison, and is an outspoken advocate for diversity and racial equality.
“Our world has changed dramatically and is no longer insular. We, therefore, have an obligation to our students and our communities to introduce them to a world that is often beyond their experience.”
To that end, the Diversity Committee will present a program Blevins calls her “baby” that serves a twofold purpose: paying tribute to girls and women, as well as showcasing performers of various races and ethnicities.
“Women’s Untold Stories: An Evening of Music, Dance and Theater” will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, in the Robinson Theater on Edison’s Piqua campus.
Blevins said that the program “features Anglo women, but at least half of the cast stars women of color: African-American, Puerto Rican, Filipino-American, Asian-American. Ages range from the teens to women in their 80s.”
Sponsored by the Diversity Committee as a benefit for the Edison Foundation’s General Scholarship Fund, the program will feature more than a dozen women from the college and the community displaying their talents. Admission is free, and those who would like to contribute to the scholarship fund are encouraged to do so.
Performances will include dancers from the Center Stage Academy in Troy, and the piano music of Brenda Cobbs-Allen.
The evening’s main event will spotlight area college students/employees, community leaders, and teens taking the stage and delivering monologues in answer to poet Muriel Rukeyser’s question, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?”
“This series of original monologues gives voice to issues that women face such as body image, sex trafficking, violence, rape. Humorous monologues are also part of the program and explore topics such as hot flashes, mammograms and other topics that some consider not suitable for polite society,” Blevins said.
Edison’s Diversity Committee was started in 2012 by Sharon Brown, then vice president of the college, and included eight members.
“I was on that original committee, and in 2013, I was appointed chair of the committee,” said Marva Archibald, an assistant professor at Edison. “The committee now has 20 members and includes employees, students and committee members. Edison President Doreen Larson serves on the committee as a way of indicating her support for the initiatives.”
The committee, Archibald explained, is “all about making Edison a more inclusive environment as we raise awareness of multicultural issues.”
“Women’s Untold Stories” also is available for local churches, clubs and organizations, with a request that those groups make a donation to the scholarship fund. The program’s running time can be altered to suit the hosting group’s needs from 25 minutes to an hour.
In addition, Blevins is available to serve as a facilitator if a discussion following the performance is desired. For more information, contact Blevins at [email protected] or (937) 778-3815.
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341.