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Feb. 23, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab


‘Diversity, Inclusion’ series kicks-off Monday    


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – The list of keynote speakers and presenters for Slippery Rock University’s three-day “Diversity and Inclusion” series, Feb. 27-28 and March 1, clearly demonstrates a diversity of talents.

           All members of the University and community are invited to participate in the free program. In addition to the keynote speakers, the series will offer a number of panel discussions and other presentations. A complete schedule is available at:

           In organizing this year's series, we coordinated workshops, presentations and performers proposed by faculty and staff representing all academic disciplines and divisions,” said Jessamine Montero, senior officer for diversity and inclusion.


Series keynoters are:

·      Venus Fly Trap Crew, an all-female U.S. street-dance troupe;

·      Kip Fulbeck, a pioneering artist, spoken word performer and filmmaker who is also a professor of art at the University of California, Santa Barbara;

·      Debra Davis, executive director of the Gender Education Center, a Minnesota-based advocacy and education organization working toward understanding, acceptance and support for the GLBT communities with an emphasis on transgender issues; and

·      Josh Blue, a nationally known comedian and the winner of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” competition. A segment of his comedy is based on dealing with his own cerebral palsy.

·      The series will also make use of the documentary “ TELL,” directed by Tom Murray, which examines how the government’s former policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” worked and the struggles it created, and

·      InterPlay, an active, creative way of unlocking the wisdom of the body.

Programs will run 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Feb. 27; 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Feb. 28; and 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., March 1. All sessions will be in the University Union.


Venus Fly Trap Crew:

Venus Fly Trap Crew opens the series’ major performances at 11 a.m., Feb. 27. The dance crew represents all of the original styles of hip-hop dance.

The dancers are Pringlz and Evil Lynn, both of Fort Wayne, Ind., Pandora of Los Angeles, Kadance of Dayton, Ohio, and T-Marie of Pittsburgh.

Each member specializes in one or more styles, including popping, locking, breaking or house.

Their most recent project was a dance theater production performed in 2007 at B.Supreme in London. The project was based on their shared experiences as women in hip-hop, their passion and love for the art form and their drive to innovate.



Fulbeck will offer an “Identity 101: Seeing Others, Projecting Ourselves” workshop at 3 p.m., Feb. 27 and a 6 p.m. keynote address titled “Who Are You?” He is described as a “pioneering artist” and has been featured on CNN, MTV, PBS and “The Today Show.” He has lectured across the U.S. and in more than 20 countries.

Fulbeck is the author of “Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids; Part Asian, 100% Hapa” and “Permanence: Tattoo Portraits.” His film directorial works include a dozen short films, including “Banana Split” and “Lilo & Me.”

He received the UC Distinguished Teaching Award and has been named an outstanding faculty member five times in recognition for his work in promoting multiracial awareness. He was awarded the inaugural Loving Prize at the 2009 Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival and has been named a “Cultural Pioneer” by Harvard University.

Fulbeck, who is half-Chinese, is an avid surfer, guitar player, ocean lifeguard and pug enthusiast.

A California native, he earned his degrees at the University of California, Los Angeles and San Diego, and at Dartmouth College. He is an Asian-American Studies affiliate faculty member and is involved in film and media studies.

            He is a member of the board of the 24 Foundation, Crossing Boarders, 4 Bridging Generations and a member
of Friends of Visual Communications. He is also a member of the Solana Beach Lifeguard Association
and the U.S. Lifesaving Association.



Davis will deliver a 3:30 p.m., Feb. 28, address titled “New Frontiers in Diversity: Transgender, The New Face on Campus” and a 6 p.m. address titled “Reading Rainbows: An Evening with Debra Davis: Transgender High School Librarian.”

           As head of the Minnesota-based advocacy and education organization GEC, which works toward understanding, acceptance and support for the GLBT communities with an emphasis on transgender issues, Davis has presented more than 1,100 workshops and presentations.  

           GEC is the only transgender, non-profit organization doing this kind of work in the Upper Midwest.

         Davis came out in 1998 as a transgender woman at her media specialist job in the Minneapolis Public Schools. The highly publicized transition was one of the first in the nation for a transgender person working with children in secondary education.

She tells of leaving school on a Friday as David and returning Monday as Debra.

Davis has been an out as a proud and visible transgender person working for human rights for more than two decades.

        She is the recipient of the 2001 Brian Coyle Leadership Award, presented by the Human Rights Campaign. She was chosen as the 2000 Twin Cities Pride grand marshal. The 35-year-old parade draws more than 400,000 people during its two day-run. In 1999, she was named Lavender Magazine’s Person of the Year.

         Family, friends, co-workers and allies supported Davis when she came out. The Minneapolis school district and her school itself were unwavering in their support for her. She attributes the success of her transition to the many who supported her.



Blue, who recently debuted a new comedy TV special titled “Comedy Central Presents: Josh Blue,” has established himself as sought-after comic on the college circuit and uses the tagline of putting “cerebral in cerebral palsy.”

            He will host a workshop titled “Putting Cerebral in Cerebral Palsy” at 3:30 p.m., March 1, before delivering his comedy routine at 7 p.m.

Blue has said he uses his comedy to help break down stereotypes of people with disabilities  – one laugh at a time. His routine and off-the-cuff improvisational skills ensure no two shows are exactly alike.  

Blue has been seen as a regular guest on Comedy Central’s “Mind of Mencia” and his story has been featured on Fox, CBS, ABC and MSNBC. He has performed on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and was named Best Winning Reality Show Guest for his appearance on “Live with Regis and Kelly.”

He has also appeared on “Comics Unleashed” and in the movie “7 More Days in the Tank.” His act has been shown on the Bravo Network and he has been a guest on such nationally syndicated radio programs as NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” and “The Mancow Show.”

His story has been told in People Magazine and The New York Times

Blue has performed at the HBO-Aspen Comedy Festival, Comedy Central’s South Beach Comedy Festival and The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas and his work on two YouTube videos is approaching 2 million hits.

He is active on the U.S. Paralympic Soccer Team and competed in Athens.



Murray’s “TELL” documentary, which will be shown at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 28, was designed to add a human face to the debate about the government’s former “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Murray traveled the U.S. to talk with gay and lesbian veterans and their allies about the struggles faced by dedicated and patriotic Americans who want to serve their country, but could only do so while not being honest about who they were.  

Those seen in the film vary widely by age and experiences as they offer their candid and personal stories.

Murray studied filmmaking in his college years and was a long-time fan of documentary films. He began tackling feature firm work well after reaching age 50 and said he was inspired by his upbringing on a dairy farm in northern Illinois to create the film “Farm Search of Gay Life in Rural America.” That film as voted Best Feature Length Documentary at the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in 2004 and has been acquired by Viacom as part of the initial acquisitions for LOGO TV, the new gay and lesbian cable television channel.  

In 2005 he completed his second feature “Fish Can’t Fly,” which examines the way gay people of faith go about putting their spirituality and sexuality in harmony.



InterPlay, an active, creative way to unlock the wisdom of the body, will be the focus at 9:30 a.m., March 1. The program is based in a series of incremental “forms” that lead participants to movement and stories, silence and song, ease and amusement. In the process, participants discover the wisdom in themselves and their communities.

The program integrates body, mind, heart and spirit and helps pull everything back together. Program promoters say InterPlay is devoted to fun and teaches the language and ethic of play in a deep and powerful way.

InterPlay is firmly based in affirmation and looking for the good and is seen as an antidote to stress and cynicism.

Cynthia Winton-Henry and Phil Porter developed the program over the last 20 years.


The Diversity and Inclusion Office, the Presidential Commissions on LGTQI, Disability, Race and Ethnic Diversity, and Women, and numerous academic departments, University divisions, and student clubs and organizations are sponsoring the diversity series.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.