BluePrint Roundtable For Men of Color, Saturday, April 13

Question Bridge is an innovative transmedia art project that facilitates a dialogue between a critical mass of Black men from diverse and contending backgrounds, and creates a platform for them to represent and redefine the black male identity in America.

When filming Question Bridge, the artists encountered a compelling question and answer exchange between a younger participant and an older Civil Rights Activist. The Question: “Why didn’t you leave us a blueprint?” sparked an attempt for multi-generational roundtable discussions.

Hence, the Blueprint Roundtable was born. The Invisible Men BluePrint Roundtable invites established black and latino male leaders and emerging black and latino male leaders in the local community to discuss the question of a “blueprint” in an attempt to dismantle boundaries between black and latino males across generations. The program aims to identify communication barriers and facilitate the transfer of information between men; and to isolate local issues that require leadership from the next generation and lessons learned and principles that can be passed from the older generations.

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WesDEF (the Wesleyan Diversity Education Facilitation Program) is a student group founded in 2005 that leads anti-oppression conversation workshops.  WesDEFs train throughout the year for their roles as community facilitators and educators.  Every first year residential hall has WesDEF facilitators who will lead monthly workshops on social justice issues.  

WesDEF workshops could include a discussion of classism and the Anonymous Confession Board or a poetry exercise about the meaning of home or an activity exploring the presence of institutional racism in our community.   All workshops provide an opportunity for critical dialogue about the impact of oppression at Wesleyan and in society. 

The purpose of WesDEF workshops is not to provide answers but to incite questions and to provide participants with the knowledge and tools for further personal exploration and social awareness.  The WesDEF program aims to act as a resource for the Wesleyan community, developing space for social justice work, dialogue and understanding.  Support, guidance and funding come from the Offices of Residential Life, Student Activities and Leadership Development, and Diversity and Strategic Partnerships.

Sonia BasSheva Mañjon: Vice President for Diversity and Strategic Partnerships

Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, Vice President for Diversity and Strategic Partnerships, came to Wesleyan from California College for the Arts <> in July, 2008. At CCA, Mañjon served as a member of the president’s cabinet, director for CCA’s Center for Art in Public Life, chair of its community art major and Diversity Studies Program, co-chair of campus diversity initiatives, and a member of the faculty. Mañjon developed the country’s first bachelor of fine arts program in community arts, which stresses student civic engagement and diversity issues. In addition to her positions at CCA, Mañjon also served as executive director of the City of Oakland’s Craft and Cultural Arts Department <> , director of the Community Arts and Education Program for the San Francisco Art Commission <> , and executive director of the San Francisco National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences <> . Mañjon earned a Ph.D. in humanities, transformative learning and change in human systems and an M.A. in cultural anthropology and social transformation from the California Institute of Integral Studies <> , and received a B.A. in world arts and cultures with a dance emphasis from the University of California, Los Angeles <> .

The Office of Diversity and Strategic Partnerships was created to provide leadership on civic engagement and cooperation with private and public organizations and to collaborate with Wesleyan’s administrative and academic offices and departments to develop programs to attract, retain and inspire students, faculty and staff from groups currently under-represented on campus. As Wesleyan’s vice president for diversity and strategic partnerships, Mañjon is charged with enhancing the university’s outreach and engagement with the greater Middletown community. As Wesleyan’s chief affirmative action officer, Mañjon directs the Office of Affirmative Action and serves as an advocate for the interests of students in such areas as recruitment, curriculum development, campus culture and career planning.

In her free time, Mañjon enjoys spending time with her sons Zyan, 11, and Ezra, 8. A true soccer mom, she can be found cheering them on at basketball, football, soccer and baseball games. At home, she enjoy singing and dancing with her boys around the house and playing basketball in the back yard. During mommy-free times, she enjoys salsa dancing and reading a good book in front of the fireplace — which she will have lots of time to do when the snow comes.