Events and Adventures … Speakers take on leadership
By Tom Smeeth, Managing editor . . . Two outstanding speakers visited North Seattle Community College talking about visionary leadership and where making an impact intersects in our society with personal choices within three weeks time.
October 21st, Salome Thomas-El, appeared on campus celebrating his birthday, speaking from his personal experience as a member of the media who made the transition from that industry to the profession as principal, teacher, chess coach, and one who walks his talk.
. Suitably scheduled to follow the vote on Referendum 71, this week, Diane Finnerty addressed “the intersection and differences between the struggles for racial and sexual identity equality,” as her Monday talk at the Baxter Center was subtitled. At the founder of the Heartland Center for Critical Democracy, and Coordinator of Faculty Development Programs at the University of Iowa, she leads the mission for social change through effecting community education and building movements around projects that focus on a cause. . Her mission is furthered in a social sense by her expertise in teaching and counseling on discrimination, oppression and diversity. Race, class and gender issue in our culture is made more challenging by the diverse cultures of US society and the effect of global cultures which import their own discriminatory prejudices and blind spots. Her delivery spoke of an open welcome to all people and empowered engagement, even when disparate viewpoints were present.
. For Thomas-El, whose book about his personal and professional choice, “I Choose to Stay,” is being developed into a Walt Disney Studios movie starring Will Smith, his internal processes were also evident in his presentation. His personal stories of dedication to young kids included an ethic of commitment to partnership with his wife, who challenged a trip to the chess finals with his students when being at home would be demonstrating his values as effectively and nourishing his family. A teacher in the Philadelphia School District since 1987, members of the audience were transported by his openness - to be coached by the frankness of the children he taught, allowing them to teach him.
There were post talk examples of him walking his talk. After enjoying a round of birthday-singing with balloons cascading off the Baxter Center stage, and cake-eating that accompanied his question-and-answer session, Thomas-El signed autographs of his books.
. So impressed by his presentation, North student and SAC member Sabina Tomkins invited the guest speaker to extend his stay by accompanying her into a Student Fee Committee meeting to address them on qualities of leadership today. Checking his watch to confirm he had the time before flying off to Chicago, Thomas-El agreed with enthusiasm. Later Tomkins let on that the session was well worth it.
. While Thomas-El intends to return to North Seattle in future, one can currently explore more at www.ichoosetostay.com.
. The Polaris had a film crew present at the Thomas-El presentation. Video and an interview will be posted upcoming . …