Social justice educator to speak as part of DelVal’s LGBTQ week

Mar 01, 2012

Renowned social justice educator, Jessica Pettitt, will present, “LGBTQ and Social Justice Issues: Inclusion, Advocacy and Empowerment,” at Delaware Valley College’s biannual multicultural forum March 5 in the Moumgis Auditorium at the Student Center.

The event, which begins at 4:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public, is being sponsored by the Liberal Arts department, Student Affairs and Students for Diversity, a campus club. It is part of the college’s LGBTQ Week, which runs March 5-8.

LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning.

The event is part of a college effort to make LGBTQ issues more visible and part of DelVal’s proactive effort to create a campus culture that is welcoming and inclusive.

Dr. Audrey Ervin, a DelVal counseling psychology faculty member and licensed psychologist, said Pettitt’s approach takes the focus away from guilt and shows people how they can create positive change.

“She is funny, upbeat and really proactive and engaging about sending messages about social justice and really thoughtful ways of making a campus a safe place for everybody,” said Dr. Ervin. “I think she is going to be able to create a really exciting, fun environment.”

Pettitt earned a bachelor’s in sociology with secondary education certification from Hendrix College and a master’s in higher education administration from the University of South Carolina.

She is a renowned diversity educator and has been nominated for two years by Campus Activities Magazines for Best Diversity Artist.  She is a certified Mediator from Humboldt Mediation Services. 

She attended the Social Justice Training Institute  and has served as a lead facilitator for LeaderShape Inc. She brings 10-plus years in student affairs, five-plus years of national consulting work and two-plus years of stand up comedy experience to her presentations.

LGBTQ Week at the college will focus on the same topics Pettitt will discuss, “inclusion, advocacy, and empowerment.”

Recommended Readings for Pettitt’s presentation:

Available online at

(1) Jessica Pettitt, “Showing Up White,” October 2007.

(2) Andrea Smith, “Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy: Rethinking Women of Color Organizing,” “The Color of Violence: the Incite! Anthology, ed. INCITE! Women for Color Against Violence” (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2006), 66-73.

DelVal LGBTQ Week Schedule: March 5-8
“Inclusion, advocacy and empowerment”

March 5: Presentation by Jessica Pettitt on inclusion, advocacy and empowerment (Moumgis Auditorium, 4:30 p.m.)

March 6: Student Government Board Bias Incident Forum (Rosenfeld, 4:30 p.m.) -- presentation by Dr. Audrey Ervin and John Brown.
2nd Annual Drag Show (Moumgis, 6:30 p.m., presented by G.L.O.W., a student club).

March 7: Learn about healthy relationships in the LGBTQ community with Alison Bellavance, director of Education and Training at Planned Parenthood Bucks County and Planned Parenthood Northeast and Mid-Penn.

March 8: Fellowship and ice cream (Levin Dining Hall, 6:00 p.m.). Join the campus community in reflection of the week’s events.