(Worcester, Mass.) — The Worcester State University Diversity Lecture Series begins with the presentation, “Genocide of LGBT: An International Epidemic, Tuesday, September 27, at 11:30 a.m. in the Student Center Blue Lounge. A group of representatives from the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgendered (LGBT) Asylum Support Task Force, including LGBT political asylees and Pastor Judy Hanlon from Hadwen Park Church, UCC, will be discussing the genocide of LGBT around the world, the particular difficulties they face when seeking asylum, and what they are doing to help. This panel discussion will feature asylees who have fled from their native lands to seek asylum in the United States.
The second lecture in the series will feature Marc Elliot and his presentation. “What Makes You Tic?,” Wednesday October 12 at 11:30 a.m. in the Student Center Blue Lounge. Two days after Elliot was born, he was diagnosed with a rare birth defect called Hirschsprung’s disease. His doctors discovered that he had barely any working intestines. Dr. Jessie Ternberg treated Elliot, he had seven experimental surgeries and was hospitalized off and on for four years. His medical challenges did not end there. By the age of nine, he was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes him to make involuntary motor and vocal tics. As Elliot grew older, his tics manifested in all different forms, ranging from ‘ticcing’ inappropriate words to head convulsions, and blurting out random noises. In high school, he was a talented thespian, played sports, and was elected student body president of his high school. After graduating from high school, Elliot attended Washington University in St. Louis where he majored in biology, actively participated in a fraternity, and took the premed requirements in hopes to follow in the footsteps of his pediatric surgeon. After he graduated in May of 2008, Elliot embarked upon a speaking tour around the nation about tolerance. With his presentation, “What Makes You Tic?” Within his first year, he traveled to almost 25 states, internationally, and spoken to over 20,000 individuals across the country.
The third lecture in the series will feature Daryl Davis: One Man’s Journey to Infiltrate the KKK, Wednesday, February 22 at 11:30 a.m. in the Student Center Blue Lounge. Davis is an African American who has come in closer contact with members of the Ku Klux Klan than most white non-members. Over the last ten years, Davis, who authored the book, “Klan-destine Relationships,” became the recipient of robes and hoods from Klan members who came to him to rescind their beliefs. Davis earned his Bachelor of Music Degree from Howard University. An accomplished blues and R&B musician, he performs regularly with his own Daryl Davis Band. He has toured extensively with Muddy Water's Legendary Blues Band and Chuck Berry, among others.
As a race relations expert, Daryl Davis has received acclaim for his book, Klan-Destine Relationships and his work in race relations from many respected sources including: CNN, CNBC, Good Morning America, The Learning Channel, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Baltimore Sun, The American Ethical Union and The Washington Ethical Society.
The final lecture in the series features Dave Stevens and his presentation, “Impossible Dream, Tuesday March 6 at 11:30 a.m. in the Student Center Blue Lounge. Stevens was born in 1966 without legs. He attended Wickenburg High School in Arizona where he was a three-sport athlete (Football, Baseball and Wrestling). While in high school, he set three Arizona State Records, most takedowns in a single wrestling season (118), most career Baseball Walks (96) previously held by Bob Horner, and also the Season Record for Walks (46). After high school, Stevens went on to attend Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he was a varsity letterman in Football from 87-90. He was also a varsity letterman in Baseball in 87, in which his team went to the Division III national tournament. He is the only congenital amputee to ever play college football or Minor League Baseball. He is the winner of seven Emmy Awards for contributions to many ESPN shows such as Baseball Tonight, Sports Center and Sunday NFL Countdown. Stevens played for the St. Paul Saints minor league independent team in 1996.
The Worcester State University Diversity Lecture Series is sponsored by the Student Center/Student Activities Office and Disability Services.