Join NEPDEC on November 7th for “That’s Classy!”

“That’s Classy!”: A Workshop Exploring The Influence Of Social Class

Tanya O. Williams, Ed.D.

November 7, 2017
Penn State Worthington-Scranton, 2:00pm-5:00pm
Study Learning Center Room 29 (SLC 29)

The “That’s Classy!” workshop is designed to raise awareness of social class as a diversity factor. Compared to race and gender, social class is a less visible form of diversity. Yet, social class background influences many aspects of a person’s life, including the way people speak, the foods they eat, where they grocery shop, and even the hobbies they enjoy. Stereotypes about members of specific social class groups (e.g. rich people are snobby) influence people’s perception of and treatment towards those of that class group. Cross-class encounters (i.e. interacting with people from another class background) are common in businesses and on a college campus, and are shaped by differences in social class background. The purpose of this workshop is to reduce prejudice by enhancing participants’ understanding of the social class groups in the United States, the stereotypes that surround these groups, and how social class background shapes classist attitudes and interpersonal interactions. The workshop includes activities that are based on themes related to social class: What is Social Class? The Myth of Meritocracy and Exploring How Social Class and Classism Operate in Society.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Dr. Tanya O. Williams has found a second home on the East coast currently residing in New York City and previously in Western Massachusetts. With over 20 years of diversity, inclusion, and social justice teaching, programming and facilitation experience in higher education including professional roles at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Southwestern University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Mount Holyoke College, and most recently, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York as the Deputy Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Community Engagement. She has taught courses such as Social Diversity in Education, Exploring Differences and Common Ground through Intergroup Dialogue, and the Psychology of Racism and facilitated workshops and presentations at the National Conference of Race and Ethnicity (NCORE), the White Privilege Conference (WPC) as well as National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and American College Personnel Administrators (ACPA) conferences.

Additionally, she is a co-lead facilitator for the LeaderShape Institute, a national organization committed to creating leaders with integrity, and as a Senior Trainer with Class Action, a national organization committed to ending classism. She has served as a mentor for the Posse Foundation for Mt. Holyoke College Posse 1 and am currently a Retreat Facilitator for the Posse Plus Retreats (PPR) held at their partner schools. She holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and my dissertation, entitled A Process of Becoming: U.S. Born African American and Black Women in a Process of Liberation from Internalized Racism, focused on internalized oppression and liberation. She also holds an Master of Science in Educational Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and English from Texas A&M University.

Upcoming Programs for Fall 2017 through NEPDEC

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Diversity Education Consortium (NEPDEC) is proud to announce it’s Fall 2017 Programs. For more details on the Fall 2017 schedule of events or information on NEPDEC, please go to  The first two programs in the Fall series are detailed below.

For Multi-racial Democracy: White Privilege, Racism and Why Racial Justice Means We All Get Free

Chris Crass


Tuesday September 26th
6:00 pm-8:00 pm

Location TBA

There is a fight for the soul of white America. The Alt-Right (a loose coalition of promoting racist, neo-nazi, and white supremacist ideologies) and some members of the current administration appear to want white people to live in fear, resentment, and isolation and to blame their pain and loss of economic security and hope for the future on people of color, women, Jews, Muslims, LGBTQ people and immigrants. Chris Crass is a longtime white anti-racist who has been working in white communities to challenge how racism turns white people away from democracy, and away from the humanity of people of color and ultimately their own humanity. Join us for this highly engaging and inspirational talk about how anti-racism and racial justice are at the heart of an expansive democracy rooted in an affirmation of, and commitment to, the worth and dignity of all people. Chris Crass believes that white people must reject racism and work against the violence and poison of it causes. This presentation helps people to embrace anti-racism and racial justice as catalysts to reclaim their own humanity, create healthy communities, restore hope, and work for just multiracial democracy.

Let’s All Get Free: Toxic Masculinity, Ending Rape Culture, and Why Men Need Feminism Too


Wednesday September 27th
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Penn State Hazleton

Boys are raised to “act like a man,” suppressing all emotions other than anger, and taught to take control, which often means dominating others. Men are encouraged in a sexist society to possess and disrespect women and treat anything feminine as inferior to a masculine standard. There must be a critical examination of these aspects of social conditioning which have resulted in the epidemic of sexual assault and sexism in our communities and on our campuses. Institutionalized gender inequity must end, and men must take up the work to establish gender equity in our society. To engage in this work helps create healthier communities and relationships, and demands skill and courage. Gender equity frees everyone from the damage and pain that toxic masculinity creates.

Chris Crass is a longtime organizer, educator, and writer working to build powerful working class, feminist, and multiracial movements for collective liberation. He is one of the leading voices in the country calling for white people to work for racial justice. Chris gives talks and leads workshops on campuses, at community events, and for religious organizations in the United States and abroad.

Chris is the author of two books. His latest, Towards the “Other America: “Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter, is both a call to end white silence and a manual on how to do it. His other book, Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building Strategy, draws from nearly 30 years of experience as an organizer and educator. It offers a firsthand look at the challenges and opportunities of anti-racist work in white communities, feminist work with men, and bringing women of color feminism into the heart of social justice. Chris’s essays have been translated into half a dozen languages, taught in hundreds of classrooms, and included in over a dozen anthologies.

Chris co-founded the anti-racist movement building center, the Catalyst Project, which combines political education and organizing support to develop and support anti-racist politics, leadership, and organizing in white communities, helping to build dynamic multiracial alliances locally and nationally. Through Catalyst Project, where he was the co-director for more than a decade, Chris worked with tens of thousands of activists working on a wide range of issues in their communities and on their campuses.

He joined with white anti-racist leaders around the country to help launch the national anti-racist network Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), which works in white communities to build support for racial justice initiatives. Rooted in his Unitarian Universalist faith, he works with congregations, seminaries, and religious and spiritual leaders to build up the Religious Left.

He lives in Louisville, KY with his partner, and their two kids. You can learn more about his work at


Fall 2017