Happy New Year! We are fortunate in higher education in that we get to “start over” each semester in striving to accomplish our goals and making things better than they were the semester before. Each of us has the opportunity to help JMU to be a welcoming community. Encouraging a student or colleague, implementing a new strategy or program, or simply being gracious to another person strengthens the culture of JMU that recognizes the value of each individual. We have to be conscious about it, though – intentional.

I hope in this new semester you will think about your contribution that will support our community to explore, share, and recognize how each of us influences the other. Such positive influences will encourage our students to become the enlightened citizens we strive for in our mission statement. Here’s to a productive semester! And do remember to be kind.

Donna Harper

Vice President for Access and Enrollment Management


Severe Brain Injury and Disability Rights: Why the Sciences and the Humanities Must Be in Conversation

Visiting Scholar Joseph Fins, MD, Professor of Medical Ethics, Weill Cornell Medical College. Tuesday, January 15th at 5:30 p.m. Bioscience Building, Room 1007

Shades of Sisterhood Book Club

A book club that center the voices, narratives and art of women of color all of the world. Starting Thursday, January 17th 12:00-1:00 p.m. Continues every other Thursday until April 11th Madison Union Room 306

A.I.M. Dance Company

Kyle Abraham is one of the most original choreographers working today. His company, A.I.M, brings its "lush movement, infectious music and magnetic dancers" (The New York Times) to Forbes Center audiences for the first time. While at James Madison for his 10-day residency, Abraham will create a work titled Continuous Relation for JMU dance students, which they will present as part of this much-anticipated performance. Artist Talk Friday: Jan. 18th 3:30 p.m. Concert Hall - A.I.M. Performances: Saturday, January 19th at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m. Mainstage Theatre, Forbes Center for the Performing Arts
Featuring five artists this exhibit revolves around social connections within the specific communities of Nashville looking uniquely at identity by-way-of paintings, photos, quilts and banners/flags. Now through February 23rd, Duke Hall Gallery

Safe Space: Inclusivity Collaboratory

The Task Force on Inclusion presents Safe Space: Inclusivity Collaboratory. Drop by at any time to discuss inclusion and exclusion at James Madison University. All members of the university community are welcome; faculty are encouraged to bring students, colleagues, or whole classes. The event will feature an array of activities (e.g., art stations, discussion groups, reflection cards, one-on-one conversations) through which ideas, opinions, and visions can be expressed. Refreshments will be available throughout the day.

Tuesday, January 22nd 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Student Success Center, Room 1075

jessica Care moore

jessica Care moore is the CEO of Moore Black Press, executive producer of Black WOMEN Rock!, and founder of the literacy-driven Jess Care Moore Foundation. moore is an internationally renowned poet, playwright, performance artist, and producer. Presented by Furious Flower. Thursday, January 24th 6:00 p.m. open mic, 7:00 p.m. poetry reading The Golden Pony, Downtown Harrisonburg

“Justice too long delayed is justice denied.” – MLK

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Week

MLK Celebration Week Keynote Speaker Brittney Cooper is a writer, teacher, and public speaker. She thinks Black feminism can change the world for the better. Program includes music and candle-lighting ceremony.
  • Monday, January 21st at 6:00 p.m. Formal Program at Memorial Hall Auditorium
  • Tuesday, January 22nd JMU NAACP Student, Faculty and Staff Breakfast: 8:00 a.m. Madison Union Room 256 and Naming the Pain: Addressing the stigmas of therapy in communities of color: 7:00 p.m. Festival Conference Room 8
  • Wednesday, January 23rd MLK Team Time: 4:00 p.m. Madison Union 3rd Floor and DEEP Impact Dialogue: 7:00 p.m. Madison Union Ballroom
  • Thursday, January 24th March & Speak Out: 3:50p.m. Gather at James Madison statue in front of Varner House for a march through campus that ends in Madison Union
  • Friday, January 25th Community Service: 3:30 p.m. Boys & Girls Club of Harrisonburg and MLK Student Gala: 8:00 p.m. Madison Union Ballroom (Registration required)

I Never Saw Another Butterfly: A Holocaust Remembrance

In November of 2005, the United Nations passed Resolution 60/7, which established January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Resolution 60/7 urges every member nation of the U.N. to recognize and commemorate the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War, to honor the memory of Holocaust victims, and to encourage the development of educational programs about Holocaust history to prevent future acts of genocide. JMU’s Madison Singers, invited artists, speakers and guests will mark this day with a special program featuring the poetry and music of Theresienstadt, a Nazi concentration camp and propaganda “artists’ ghetto.” Sunday, January 27th at 2:00 p.m. Concert Hall, Forbes Center

How Research is being Mis(Used) to Support the Marginalization of Transgender People

Brynn Tannehill graduated from the Naval Academy with a B.S. in computer science in 1997. She earned her Naval Aviator wings in 1999 and flew SH-60B helicopters and P-3C maritime patrol aircraft during three deployments between 2000 and 2004. Tannehill is the author of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Trans* (*But Were Afraid to Ask). A book signing will follow. Monday, January 28th at 7:00 p.m. Madison Union Room 256

Memoir, Wemoir, and Imagination

Marianne Boruch Poet and Essayist Professor Emeritus of English, Purdue University Tuesday, January 29 at 6:00 p.m. Madison Union 400

Justice John Charles Thomas

Justice Thomas will discuss the past, present, and future of Virginia’s democracy within the context of his own experience as an attorney and as the first African American Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia. Madison Vision Series. February 7th at 3:30 p.m. Memorial Hall Auditorium

Film Showing

In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, "Remember This House." The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin's death in 1987, he left behind only 30 completed pages of this manuscript. Filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. Discussion facilitated by Dr. Joanne Gabbin Thursday, February 7th showing at 6:00 p.m. The Golden Pony, Downtown Harrisonburg

Shanghai Opera Symphony Orchestra

This spectacular evening features Verdi’s Overture to La forza del destino and Xinghai’s magnificent Yellow River Piano Concerto, composed in the late 1960s during China’s Cultural Revolution. Rounding out the program is Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 (From the New World), the Czech composer’s most popular symphony and the first work he created entirely in the United States. Saturday, February 9th at 8:00 p.m. Concert Hall, Forbes Center

Cross-Currents of Vodu(n) and Orisha: Spirits and Slaves in the African Diaspora

Eric Montgomery, Assistant Director, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies Wayne State University Friday, February 22nd, 12:30 p.m. Madison Hall, Room 1001

Bodies in Motion

9th Annual African, African American, and Diaspora Studies Interdisciplinary Conference: Friday, February 22nd 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Madison Hall

Film Showing

Filmed over the course of two years, Our City Dreams is an invitation to visit the creative spaces of five women artists, each of whom possesses her own energy, drive and passion. Thursday, February 21st at 6:00 p.m. Duke Hall Room 1032

What You May Not See: Mobilizing Social Change through Art and Imagination

Pato Hebert, Department of Art and Public Policy Tisch School of the Arts, New York University Wednesday, February 27th at 2:30 p.m. Madison Hall Room 1001


Combining elements of dance, music and theatre with unbridled creativity and energy, the internationally acclaimed performance troupe from Israel, Mayumana, will take Forbes Center audiences by storm with its “funky moves and cutting-edge blend of movement and technology.” (Time Out New York) Playing specially made instruments, the 11 gifted performers of Mayamuna (from the Hebrew word, “Meyumanut,” which means skill) will bring their diverse talents to Currents, a piece inspired by the rivalry between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, inventors and pioneers in the early days of electrical engineering. Thursday and Friday, February 28th and March 1st, 8:00 p.m. Mainstage Theatre, Forbes Center

Colonial Wounds/ Postcolonial Repair

This exhibition traces the story of French colonialism and colonial violence through the contemporary artwork of Algerian artist Amina Menia and Franco-Algerian artist Kader Attia as contextualized by historical materials from World War I. The curators welcome requests for class visits to discuss the exhibition or tours tailored to the interests of your group. Exhibit dates: March 4th to April 13th Opening Reception: Tuesday, March 12th, 5:00 p.m. Artist’s lecture by Amina Menia: Wednesday, March 13th, 5:00 p.m. Duke Hall Gallery

Jaki Shelton Green

Author of nine books of poetry, Jaki Shelton Green has spent the past 40 years teaching poetry and facilitating creative writing classes extensively at public libraries, universities and community colleges, public/private schools, and literary organizations. Presented by Furious Flower. Thursday, March 14th at 4:00 p.m. Duke Hall Gallery Court


A St. Patrick's Day Celebration! One of the leading ensembles of traditional music in Ireland, Danú returns to the Forbes Center for a high-energy St. Patrick’s Day celebration featuring a mix of ancient Irish music and fresh, new songs. Friday, March 15th at 8:00 p.m. Concert Hall, Forbes Center

JMU Diversity Conference

The Office of the President is pleased to announce the annual Diversity Conference. Lunchtime Keynote Speaker is JMU Visiting Scholar, author, poet, and activist Kevin Powell. Wednesday, March 13th Festival Conference Center

Registration opens mid-February

Student Focused Events

Connect with CMSS for a variety of events

DEEP Impact Diversity Dialogues held at 7:00 p.m. Madison Union Ballroom

Wednesday, January 23rd: Justice too long delayed is justice denied.

Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression

Our LGBTQ & Ally Program has a new identity! We now identify as SOGIE (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression). To go along with that, the program space will now be called the Lavender Lounge. Stop by the space to study or just hang out and relax!
  • 1/22 – Queers and Coffee
  • 1/24 – Puppy Pride, 1-2pm
  • 2/4 – Queers and Coffee
  • 2/6 – SOGIE Programming/Open House 11am-1pm
  • 2/19 – Queers and Coffee
  • 2/20 – Puppy Pride, 1-2pm

SGA Diversity Committee

Black History Month Photo Gallery: February-March Roop Hall 2nd floor IVS space

I, Too, am JMU video premier: March 12th 6:00 p.m. Madison Union Ballroom

Peace Corps Prep Launch: January 17th, 5:00 p.m., Madison Union Ballroom

Study Abroad Week: Whether you have already studied abroad, you are signed up to study abroad, or you are just interested and want some free food, there is something for you during Study Abroad Week. January 28th-February 1st


K.T. Vaughan, Associate Dean, Libraries

Building Inclusive and Accessible Libraries

One of my senior colleagues at UNC had a profound effect on me in understanding the intersection of disability and librarianship.
Over time I have developed a research and practice interest in accessibility that pairs well with an interest in libraries as third places that support student success. This has translated into research and practice in how to support an inclusive environment in the libraries, particularly for students with disabilities.

Arie Bradley, Class of 2019

Engineering Inclusion

Two major life goals of mine are to help those in my circle reach success and happiness in their journey and to inspire future generations, especially minority children, to achieve greatness.
By being involved in several organizations, my perspective has broadened to understand that people are at different points compared to others, so the first step in supporting their goals is to understand where that point is.

Recognition Nominations

Who is a woman of distinction? She is a woman who inspires us through her dedication and innovation; her exemplary leadership and mentoring; her commitment to enhancing gender equity and inclusion. A woman who possesses passion for the people and places making up her everyday life, who breathes life and energy into our community – this is a Woman of Distinction! Is there a woman like this in your life? Then nominate her for the 2019 Woman of Distinction Award!

Nominations due by 5:00 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8th

Further out on the Horizon

Immigrant Harrisonburg

Immigrant Harrisonburg digital archive is an oral history project at JMU to investigate the lives of immigrants living in the Shenandoah Valley and beyond. Students in several JMU classes are working directly with local immigrants to document and share the stories of our immigrant communities.

Congo Masks: Masterpieces from Central Africa

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is pleased to announce that State employees can receive free admission to Congo Masks: Masterpieces from Central Africa, a special exhibition at the VMFA. Now through February 24th Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond

Oh, Shenandoah: Landscapes of Diversity

Washington D.C. artist Andrei Kushnir has recorded the history of the Shenandoah Valley through a series of paintings that capture the extraordinary beauty and vitality of the region, qualities that enticed pioneers to settle there and inspired artists to try to capture its vistas. The buildings and patterns of land distribution that are the substance of Kushnir's paintings provide tangible evidence of the Valley’s settlement and diversity, from communities and historic sites to farmlands and waterways. Now through Sept. 1st - $10 suggested museum admission Virginia Museum of History & Culture, Richmond

... and engaging views since the last revolution of The Beacon.

Stompmania, Vievee Francis, Engagement for the Public Good Conference, Record Keepers – Duke Hall Gallery, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Veterans Day Flags on the Quad, Madison Vision Series

Broaden the scope of your diversity IQ

January 21: Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorates the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., the recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and an activist for nonviolent social change until his assassination in 1968.

January 27: The International Day of Commemoration to remember the victims of the Holocaust. The anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945 and U.N. Holocaust Memorial Day.

February is Black History Month to remember the contributions of people of the African diaspora.

February 1: National Freedom Day, which celebrates the signing of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery in 1865.

February 5: Lunar New Year, one of the most sacred of all traditional Chinese holidays, a time of family reunion and celebration. Lunar New Year is also celebrated at this time in Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Mongolia.

February 14: St. Valentine’s Day, a Western Christian feast day honoring one or two early saints named Valentinus.

February 18: Presidents Day, a federally recognized celebration honoring presidents of the U.S. including the first president, George Washington.

March is Women’s History Month which recognizes all women for their valuable contributions to history and society.

March 8: International Women’s Day, a global celebration honoring women’s economic, political and social achievements.

March 13-April 15: Deaf History Month. This observance celebrates key events in deaf history, including the founding of Gallaudet University and the American School for the Deaf

As an institution of higher education named for the Father of the Constitution, there is no higher calling for JMU than to be a beacon of civil discourse on the major issues of our time. True learning is only possible when we put aside our differences, and begin listening to one another. That is what higher education is all about. - President Alger

The Beacon has been created by the Office of Access & Inclusion to share the good work of academic and administrative departments, students, affinity groups and more in supporting diversity and inclusion at JMU. If you have an article or upcoming event that should be considered for the next newsletter please send us an email:

Created By
Beth Nelsen


JMU University Marketing Photography Department, Paul Louis (for VMFA), Sharen Bradford, Zeev Roytman, Sue Overton, Columbia-Artists.com, John D. Kelley, Annistique Photography, Will Dunlap

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