Who’s making this happen?

From Chairperson Angela Tang:


When I applied to be Chairperson of the Power & Privilege Symposium, I was quite hesitant to accept the position. From working on the Symposium the year previous, I knew that there was a lot more work behind the scenes than I could ever fathom or had the skills to do. Fast forward eight months later, and we are only two weeks away from the Symposium. We have a fantastic keynote (Shakti Butler!!) , sponsors, kick ass marketing material, and 52 workshop sessions (all organized and placed in their respective times). I could not be happier. This however, was anything but a one womyn feat.

This year’s process started the second I was appointed the position in May. Genevieve Jones, the previous Logistics Chair, and I created a timeline for all tasks to be done from May of 2014, up to the few months following the Symposium 15’.

In the fall, we formed the Power & Privilege Symposium leadership.

Fun fact: We took the StrengthsQuest strength assessment quiz and I discovered that we had hit the jackpot. Natalie Shaw, the Marketing and Communication Director’s strengths fell into the relationship building category. Dennis Young, the Logistics Director had strengths focused in execution. Annie Want, the Content Director’s strengths lay in development and intellect. My strengths were primarily in strategic thinking. Each of our top leadership strengths directly correlated with our respective roles. Check mate.

Next, students interested in Symposium development were encouraged to apply to be on a planning committee. From there, we formed three separate committees – Content, Logistics, and Marketing.  The Content committee started off right away with developing workshops. Campus involvement is integral to the mission of the Symposium, so workshop development was open to the whole Whitman community – a whopping 32 proposals were submitted by early November!

The Logistics committee were placed in charge of coordinating lunch for over 1000 people with Bon Appetit, volunteer recruitment and training, as well as the tedious task of placing 52 workshops each into rooms. Each workshop not only needed rooms that met their AV needs but also rooms that fit size preferences and times that did not conflict with folks who hosted more than one workshop.

Meanwhile, the Marketing and Communications committee were creating awesome designs, tweaks to our logo and branding, managing our website including blogs, creating a promotional video, making posters, sending emails all day every day, designing T-shirts and much much more. Hopefully you’ve been enjoying their posts on our Facebook community and in just a few days you’ll start seeing posters popping up on campus.

It might surprise you, but this Symposium thing costs money! However, we had excellent help from students, staff, and faculty in the fundraising process. We had help from Tim Reed as Budget Officer and Jack Percival as Faculty Liaison. I don’t know what I would have done without these two in the fundraising process. ‘Nuff said.

The support and guidance we received from the Whitman Events Board, ASWC, Dean of Student’s Office, and Katharine Curles & Leann Adams tied this whole project together. Over this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Symposium team cumulatively spent 100+ hours in Katharine & Leann’s offices.

So all in all the behind the scenes experience can be summed up in three hashtags:

  1. #Reid110/KatharinesOffice
  2. #GoogleMailMergeDocsSheetsDriveCalendar
  3. #NoJusticeNoPeace


My best to you,


Angela Tang

Chairperson | Power & Privilege Symposium 2015 |

The Past is Ever Present

As many of you know, this year’s theme and title for the Symposium is “The Past is Ever Present: Unmasking Systems of Oppression and Inequality”. What was the thought process behind this theme? How was it chosen? What does it mean?

Coming up with a theme is a weighty task, which was spread across board meetings in fall semester. We would brainstorm names and themes, then come back to debate them a week later after we had time to mull them over. We needed a name that could encapsulate a variety of discussions related to social justice while still guiding and framing the Symposium. Last year’s focus was on identity, and how individuals define themselves and find their own spaces. As we considered the events of the past year, we chose to take on the hierarchies and systems that act out oppression. In the news we’ve seen protests for racial justice in the face of police brutality, we’ve seen protests for better handling of sexual assault on college campus – here at Whitman and throughout the country – we’ve seen protests for action on climate change and raising the minimum wage, and so many more. So many of these protests are challenging real systems and bureaucracies that would prefer they stay silent and we wanted to bring that to the forefront for this year’s Symposium. While these protests are recent and ongoing, the issues they call attention to are nothing new. The issues of the past continue to affect us today and we wanted to engage the Whitman community through discussion of how manifestations of oppression and inequality from the past continue to take its power through structural, institutional, and systemic oppression in the present.

I’ll leave this post with a story from this morning’s New York Times, where an injustice of the past came to kinder resolution – this morning the nine men of the ‘Friendship Nine’ had their trespassing charges thrown out for a sit-in they staged in South Carolina in 1961. The judge who vacated their charges stated “We cannot rewrite history, but we can right history… Now, as to the Friendship Nine, is the time and opportunity to do so. Now is the time to recognize that justice is not temporal, but is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.”  Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/29/us/south-carolina-court-clears-friendship-nine-in-1961-sit-in.html?ref=us

Because Class is Cancelled!

Have you guys noticed that we don’t have class this Thursday? Is that a wonderful coincidence? No, it is not! The faculty specifically voted to cancel a precious day of in-class learning so that all of you would have the chance to do learning of a different kind at the Power and Privilege Symposium. Take advantage of the faculty support and free day, go to the workshops, panels and lectures!

Did I mention the super sweet schedule? You can click on each and every title to get more information about the where, the what and the who. Read it, learn it, know it, do it. Whip out that planner and find the four sessions that speak to you. Class was cancelled for a reason, and that reason was not for you to binge watch House of Cards or sleep for 20 straight hours!! Go to the Power and Privilege Symposium. We will see you there!

Also, Tricia Rose TONIGHT!! 7 pm in Cordiner Hall.


What makes you you?

Written by Leda Zakarison

“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”

- Patrick Rothfuss

This year, the theme of the Power and Privilege symposium is “Understanding Identity.” Identity means so many different things – who you parents are, what you look like, where you were born, what you wear, what you believe, who you love – but I love Patrick Rothfuss’ image of an identity made up of a story. I would add, though, that we’re made up of not just one story, but of many, all intertwining, coming into conflict, and working with one another to make up our unique experiences of the world.

One of the types of events that will be taking place during the Symposium are panels. This panels will basically opportunities for students, faculty, and community members to share their own stories and explore how their identities have transformed, have been transformed, and are being transformed by them. During session two alone, you can hear students talk about how their religious identity and queer identities or thoughts on LGBTQ issues have influenced one anther in “Religion and Queer Identity”;  discuss how students’ identities as women have affected their experience at Whitman in “Women of Whitman”; or explore how students’ identities as part of racial or ethnic minorities has impacted their Whitman story in “Life in the 20%.” I’m so excited for all of us in the Whitman community to have this opportunity to listen to and discuss the stories of our peers. Hopefully, listening to the stories of others will help us to  consider how our own stories have impacted – and continue to impact – our lived identities. This chance to engage with other people’s stories is one of my favorite parts of the symposium, and I hope you’ll engage in these explorations with us.

Who loves Cheerios?!


Wondering what the big deal was with this cheerios commercial? You might notice that the comments section was disabled, read this article to learn why.

Learn more about what this all means at the Power & Privilege symposium. Come hear Sociology Professor Helen Kim explain and explore the politics of interracial dating, listen to the faculty of the Race and Ethnic Studies Department dissect the concept of intersectionality and much more.

Being Informed is Important

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Watch some Ted Talks and get inspired by the amazing things people all over the world are doing. Because of their passion for social change and commitment to a cause they managed to transform their communities, countries and the world as we know it.
From the Arab Spring to the emerging democracies of Eastern Europe, a new generation of freedom fighters — entrepreneurs, journalists, activists — shares powerful stories of resistance against dictatorships and oppression.

Or check out this article on the importance of social activism.

Just 9 days until the symposium is here!

ASWC and P&P: How They Relate


Are you curious about what role the Associated Students of Whitman College plays in the Power and Privilege Symposium? Or maybe you don’t quite know why the symposium is happening in the first place. Check out this article on the ASWC website to learn more about it all.

Who plans the Power and Privilege Symposium?

This event is run by a group of dedicated Whitman students who meet every Friday in Reid to touch base and discuss plans. Three committees have been formed- logistics, content and publicity, which deal with everything from raising funds to organizing workshops.

Thank you to all of the committed students!


Yana Vasquez-Crede, Jackie Bonilla, Genny Jones, Erin Slomski-Pritz, Tim Reed, Jack Percival, Katie Steen, Jess Faunt, Molly Dubrovsky, Angela Tang, Beverly Li, Leda Zakarison, Corinne Vandagriff, Anna von Clemm, Alisha Agard, Paige Joki, Luis Alba Sanchez, Erica Nkwocha, Annie Want, Sean Mulloy, Kristen Wiseman and Nate Higby.

Tricia Rose on Justice

Tricia Rose talks about Creating Conversations on Justice.

“We have some work to do in thinking about questions of community and equality and justice.”

And read this interview with Time Magazine about one of her many amazing books.

“In her new book, The Hip Hop Wars, Rose takes on all sides, arguing that fans and detractors alike have advanced illogical, dishonest and offensive arguments about why the genre is bad and why it’s great. She spoke to TIME about how radio is killing hip-hop, why artists need to take more responsibility and what the music used to be like.”

That’s right, this insightful lady is going to be at Whitman College the evening of February 19th. You don’t want to miss this.