Power & Privilege Symposium is Tuesday

Power & Privilege Symposium is Tuesday

Matthew Shepard’s parents, Oscar Vazquez and more slated to speak at UAS event

The third annual UAS Power & Privilege Symposium falls on Election Day.

But no one needs to choose between the one-day, conference-style event at University of Alaska Southeast that allows attendees to discuss societal changes or casting a vote.

“It’s the election, so we’ve got a shuttle that runs to the campus rec center, and there will be voting there, so you can do two-in-one,” said Juliette Lowery, Power & Privilege Symposium Planning Committee co-chair. “That’s something we will be promoting and making people aware of. Making sure they take the time to vote.”

Lowery said excitement is building for the free event that’s becoming a local fixture.

“It’s definitely a local institution in that I don’t think it’s going to go away, it’s literally written into my job description right now,” Lowery said.

Nathan Bodenstadt, co-chair of the Power & Privilege Symposium Planning Committee, said this year’s symposium will largely follow the same format as the past two symposiums.

It starts with a continental breakfast at 8:15 a.m. at Spike’s Cafe on campus and concludes with evening keynote speakers Judy and Dennis Shepard, who will begin their remarks at 6 p.m. in Egan Library.

‘One of the big things this year is we have nationally based speakers coming as keynotes,” Bodenstadt said.

The Shepards are the parents of Matthew Shepard and founders of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Matthew Shepard died after suffering a beating in Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998. In the 20 years since Matthew Shepard’s death, Dennis and Judy Shepard have toured the country sharing their story and advocating for greater compassion, especially for the LGBTQ community.

In 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by gender, sexuality or disability, was passed by Congress in part as a response to Matthew Shepard’s murder.

“This is their 50th state,” Bodenstadt said. “They’ve never been to Alaska.”

Oscar Vazquez, who was the subject of “Spare Parts,” this year’s Common Read, is also a keynote speaker at this year’s symposium.

Vazquez is a veteran, a DREAMer and a science, technology engineering and math leader, and Bodenstadt said Vazquez’s remarks will focus on robotics, STEM and immigration.

In addition to the keynotes, there will be five breakout sessions and a performance by the Juneau Pride Chorus. A full schedule is available at http://www.uas.alaska.edu/chancellor/power-and-privilege-symposium.html.

Many of the breakout sessions and talks will be available to stream via YouTube and will be archived after the event. A listing of events that will be available to watch online can also be found on the symposium’s website.

Lowery said aside from the keynote speakers, she’s most excited to see and hear UAS students, who are heavily involved in the symposium.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing our student speakers step up,” Lowery said. “Almost half of our speakers have a student involved in the presentation, and that’s what I’m looking forward to seeing.”

Know & Go

What: The third annual Power & Privilege Symposium.

When: 8 a.m.-6:50 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Where: University of Alaska Southeast Egan Library, 11120 Glacier Highway.

Admission: Free, but registration is requested through the symposium website’s “Register Now” button.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com.


Leimomi Martin, an Áak’w Kwaan Eagle and a Hawaiian traditional Hula Dance group leader, delivers a welcoming chant at the Power & Privilege Symposium at the University of Alaska Southeast on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. An Áak’w Kwaan is scheduled for this year’s symposium, which will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Leimomi Martin, an Áak’w Kwaan Eagle and a Hawaiian traditional Hula Dance group leader, delivers a welcoming chant at the Power & Privilege Symposium at the University of Alaska Southeast on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. An Áak’w Kwaan is scheduled for this year’s symposium, which will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Oscar Vazquez, who was the subject of “Spare Parts,” this year’s Common Read, is also a keynote speaker at this year’s symposium. (Courtesy Photo | UAS Power & Privilege Symposium)

Oscar Vazquez, who was the subject of “Spare Parts,” this year’s Common Read, is also a keynote speaker at this year’s symposium. (Courtesy Photo | UAS Power & Privilege Symposium)

Judy and Dennis Shepard are keynote speakers at this year’s Power & Privilege Symposium. The Shepards will begin their remarks at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, in Egan Library The Shepards are the parents of the late Matthew Shepard and founders of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. (Courtesy Photo | UAS Power & Privilege Symposium)

Judy and Dennis Shepard are keynote speakers at this year’s Power & Privilege Symposium. The Shepards will begin their remarks at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, in Egan Library The Shepards are the parents of the late Matthew Shepard and founders of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. (Courtesy Photo | UAS Power & Privilege Symposium)

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