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    ‘Copper Planted Seeds’ Artists to speak at Michigan Tech

    Ashanté Kindle and Khari Turner will come to Michigan Tech next week to discuss their joint exhibit, Copper Planted Seeds, currently on display at Finlandia University. With “Seeds”, Kindle and Turner seek common ground between the history of the Keweenaw Peninsula and their life experiences as Black American artists. The theme of their exhibit is “sisu,” or human grit and determination, in the face of daunting circumstances.

    Photo of artwork featuring nine colored circles laid in a three by three grid.
    New Growth #1-9, 2021, 16″ diameter each, Acrylic on Canvas
    Photo of artwork featuring a large circular copper-colored image with brush strokes that appear pressed and lifted.
    The Center Of A Tree’s Blossom, 2021, 36″ diameter, Acrylic on Canvas

    “Initially when thinking about making work for Copper Planted Seeds, I thought a lot about the history of the area and the role Black people played in that history,” explained Kindle. “I often find myself thinking about the ways our bodies have shaped the land of this country both physically and metaphorically. Those histories are often not recorded but what if we were able to call upon the land to be the true storytellers. What would it reveal?”

    Photo of artwork featuring a young Black man holding two superimposed images of his head. His face is obscured with white and he wears a spiked collar. This image is next to a second black expanse of canvas with no discernable figures.
    Black Alternative 2, 60″ x 96″, Acrylic, oil, ink, charcoal, sand, water from: Pacific Ocean, lower Manhattan Docks, Milwaukee River, Lake Michigan
    Photo of artwork features a young Black man with his chin resting on his hands and his face obscured with white.
    A Moment to Rest, 2021,60″ x 48″, Acrylic, oil, ink, charcoal, sand, water from: Coast of Senegal, lower Manhattan Docks, Milwaukee River, Lake Michigan, Pacific Ocean

    Kindle and Turner discuss life, art and influences

    The event at Michigan Tech will take place on Wednesday, September 29, from 4:00 to 5:15 p.m. in the Electrical Energy Resources Center (EERC) , Room 103. All are invited. The artists will begin with a presentation on their life, art and influences, followed by time for audience questions.

    Join Kindle and Khari again on September 30 for the closing reception of their exhibit, Copper Planted Seeds. The reception begins at 7 p.m. and the artists’ talk is planned for 7:20 p.m. in the Finlandia University Gallery. The gallery is located inside the Finnish American Heritage Center at 435 Quincy Street in Hancock. Copper Planted Seeds will be on display until October 5.

    For further information on the presentation at Michigan Tech, contact For the Finlandia University Gallery, contact

    Diversity Council Reorganization Will Enhance DEIS Communication

    To strengthen Michigan Technological University’s communication on issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging (DEIS), the University’s Diversity Council has been given a new charge. Effective fall 2021, the Diversity Council will serve as a communication hub between the leaders of colleges/major administrative units and the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion (VPDI). This charge was developed with the purpose of coordinating policies and issues that impact goals related to DEIS at Michigan Tech.

    In its revised role as an information exchange among colleges, major administrative units, and the VPDI, the Diversity Council will coordinate policies and address issues that impact DEIS-related goals. Along with the VPDI, the council will comprise one or two MTU faculty, staff, or administrators from each unit, who will be appointed by their dean/unit leader in consultation with the VPDI. The VPDI will convene the Diversity Council and lead its meetings. Diversity Council members will also have a formal communication line to their respective dean/unit head. Meetings will be held monthly throughout the academic year and once in the summer.

    In conjunction with this new focus for the Diversity Council, the President’s Council Task Force for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has also established two new bodies on campus: the Student DEIS Commission and DEIS Alumni Advisory Board. These groups will give students and alumni a forum to express their ideas and concerns to the VPDI in partnership with both the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students and the Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement. Working together toward a shared goal, the groups will establish lines of communication dedicated to DEIS issues and ensure there is opportunity to consistently bring their unique perspectives forward to administration for leverage across the University.

    With these three groups, we look forward to building a communication network that not only heightens DEIS awareness, but fosters collaboration to help make Michigan Tech a more welcoming university for all.

    Why do we Celebrate Pride Month?

    Guest Blog by Erin Matas

    June is recognized as Pride Month—and with the increased visibility of the rainbow flag as a sign of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) pride, it’s hard to miss. But why do we celebrate Pride in June and what’s it all about? What is Stonewall?

    In 1969, The Stonewall Inn was a popular New York City gay bar. Regulars included trans women of color, gay men, queer homeless youth, lesbians, professionals, students, and folks in drag. It was an eclectic and exciting environment for drinking, dancing, and socializing. 

    Historically, gay bars and clubs have been treasured as safe spaces where folks feel acceptance and belonging, where being your true self is applauded and empowering. This nightlife culture was particularly important because, come daylight, many in the LGBTQ+ community lived in the closet. They couldn’t tell anyone about their true sexual orientation or gender identity. For many, then and now, coming out could mean losing employment, being rejected or disowned by family, losing custody of children, losing friends, and other innumerable varieties of loss.

    The Scene

    It’s 1969. Serving alcohol is illegal in disorderly businesses—and the presence of gay folks automatically categorizes your bar or club as disorderly. Although The Stonewall Inn is a private, mafia-owned club, which does offer a little bit of protection from police, raids of gay bars and clubs are common. A raid usually involves harassing, degrading, and arresting staff and patrons, removing cash and alcohol, and shutting the place down. Many arrested are those violating gender norms, including women who aren’t wearing at least three articles of “feminine” clothing and those dressed in drag. Female police officers take those dressed as women into the bathroom to verify their sex and arrest anyone whose clothing don’t match the sex listed on their ID.

    However, the police raid on The Stonewall Inn the night of June 28 is different. 

    Instead of cooperating with police as they raid the club, patrons refuse to show their IDs, refuse to be frisked, and fight back against police officers. The uprising spills into the streets and the public joins the clash. The Stonewall Rebellion lasts for five nights, growing in numbers and strength each night. Marches and demonstrations fill the streets of the Greenwich Village neighborhood.

    About the Author

    Erin Matas

    Interest Areas

    • Academic libraries as integral partners in university initiatives
    • Accessibility of library spaces, services, and resources
    • Student Success
    • Information Seeking Behavior
    • Study of Expertise

    50 Years Later

    While the movement for LGBTQ+ civil rights didn’t begin with Stonewall, the uprising energized the movement both in the United States and internationally. As more LGBTQ+ folks and their allies came out of the closet and into the streets, pride took on a meaning of its own. LGBTQ+ Pride has become something to celebrate—something visible and tangible. Pride Month is celebrated with parades, events, and flags, and honors the courage of those at The Stonewall Inn who asserted their humanity and fought for respect.

    Although gay marriage is now legal in the US and other supportive legislation is in place, many in our community still suffer from discrimination, exclusion, and violence because of who they are and who they love. New legislation attempting to bar transgender youth from playing sports and laws denying hormone support for trans youth are just a couple of examples of current challenges. Right here in Michigan, it remains legal for businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals, and many schools and colleges lack LGBTQ+ anti-bullying policies.

    This is my 27th Pride. I know we’re not there yet, but I believe we will reach true LGBTQ+ equity when every individual has the ability to be their true self and feels belonging in a culture of genuine acceptance.

    To learn more about Stonewall, check out these 12 Books to Commemorate the Stonewall Riots. The Featured Reads book display on the first floor of the Van Pelt and Opie Library highlights selected books in celebration of LGBTQIA+ Pride Month. Check out the Center for Diversity and Inclusion’s lending library for another offering of great titles, too!

    DEIS Alumni Advisory Board Announced

    Alumni house at Michigan Tech.
    The Alumni House at Michigan Tech.

    Michigan Technological University is proud to announce the launch of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Sense of Belonging (DEIS) Alumni Advisory Board in fall 2021. A testament to the University’s continued commitment to enhancing and improving the sense of belonging for all at Michigan Tech, this initiative is the next step in giving our campus community the culturally-responsive resources to succeed.

    The DEIS Alumni Advisory Board will unite committed volunteers of varied backgrounds to support the learning environment at Michigan Tech. This group will assist with supporting the foundation of DEIS campus and alumni initiatives. Specifically, this board will:

    • Offer guidance and feedback to the Michigan Tech President and other University leadership regarding DEIS efforts
    • Use existing networks to cultivate and support diversity initiatives aimed at student body, faculty, and staff
    • Assist in identifying resources (programs, in-kind services and philanthropic) for MTU DEIS efforts
    • Serve as mentors/contacts for incoming, current students and recent graduates
    • Serve as MTU ambassadors and facilitate University branding that promotes DEIS in identified communities and networks
    • Establish, monitor, track and evaluate benchmarks by which to define success
    • Support an inclusive environment in all things Michigan Tech

    The DEIS Alumni Advisory Board will be facilitated and co-chaired by the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and the Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement. Members will consist of committed alumni and friends representing a broad spectrum of talent from various industries. The Board will meet bi-annually for a day and half meeting. We are in the process of identifying and sending out invitations to board members for the inaugural board. Send any questions to More updates to come.

    Student DEIS Commission to be Launched

    Michigan Technological University is committed to enhancing and improving the sense of belonging for all students, and a newly created commission of students aims to reinforce these efforts. With facilitation from the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion (VPDI) and the Dean of Students (DOS), the Student Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Sense of Belonging (DEIS) Commission is set to launch at the beginning of the fall 2021 semester. This initiative will provide an open space for student leaders to engage with and address ongoing issues pertaining to the campus climate and the needs of diverse communities on campus. Specifically, the Student DEIS Commission will provide the opportunity and space for students to:

    • Advance and elevate student DEIS concerns and initiatives
    • Facilitate open discussion and champion progress toward an inclusive and welcoming campus environment for all members of the campus community
    • Engage with University leadership to voice priorities and the pulse of the student body related to DEIS matters
    • Collaborate with other campus organizations, offices, and students, faculty, and staff to further a sense of belonging among all people at Michigan Tech.

    The Student DEIS Commission will provide additional opportunities and compensation for students to take on leadership roles within the commission. Working together with the VPDI and DOS, this commission will meet 2-3 times per semester and will address matters concerning diversity, equity, and inclusion, identify and advocate for marginalized individuals, and provide guidance so that meaningful action can be taken.

    Telemental Health in Support of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    Beginning in the fall 2021 semester, the Center for Student Mental Health and Well-being (CSMHW) will begin offering telemental health services through Morneau Shepell, a well-respected leader among providers of mental health services to college students. Morneau Shepell’s MySSP (Student Support Program) will help Michigan Tech meet the needs of all students and address significant issues that have prevented students from obtaining these services in the past.

    The need for additional options for mental health services has long been documented at Michigan Tech, both anecdotally and through instruments such as the 2017-18 Climate Survey. In reporting the climate survey results, the Diversity Council recognized the importance of providing accommodations and services to students. The climate survey reports—and anecdotal evidence supports—that our underrepresented minority students lack a sense of belonging and are frustrated with the lack of diversity at Michigan Tech.

    Despite our best efforts, this lack of diversity also appears among clinical staff in the Center for Student Mental Health and Well-being. According to Morneau Shepell, research reported by the World Health Organization and in the Journal of American College Health shows that race, gender, orientation, and lack of diversity among clinicians are all barriers to seeking mental health support. Meeting with a therapist who shares their identity will help students break through these barriers.

    Morneau Shepell’s MySSP works to pair students with clinicians who have self-identified as having experiences or specializations associated with gender, religion, ethnicity, geography, age, and more. MySSP also offers services in many languages—students have access to English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, and Cantonese, and can schedule appointments in 150 other languages. In addition, the MySSP Care Access Center offers accessible services for students with hearing impairments.

    MySSP works to pair students with clinicians who have self-identified as having experiences or specializations associated with gender, religion, ethnicity, geography, age, and more.

    Finally, one of the greatest benefits of MySSP: Students have uninterrupted access to crisis assistance and can schedule appointments at any time—day or night. Students can choose phone, video, or in-person services to meet their time demands, regardless of their physical location. Co-op? Study abroad? No problem. Where on-campus appointments might be limited on a given day, MySSP appointments are always available to Michigan Tech students. This is an excellent complement to our existing services and an important resource for students.

    Students have uninterrupted access to crisis assistance and can schedule appointments at any time—day or night.

    Morneau Shepell’s MySSP will help Michigan Tech meet the needs of all Huskies and help them feel a greater sense of belonging.