COVID-19 Response and Reopening

Season of Nonviolence

Season of Nonviolence

Thank you to everyone who participated in the all-virtual 2021 Season of Nonviolence at COCC. We are proud that we were able to provide essential and timely programming to our campus and the community.

Central Oregon Community College has been hosting programming to honor the Season of Nonviolence since 2008. The programming is co-presented by The Nancy R. Chandler Lecture Series and the College's Office of Diversity and Inclusion

The Season was established by Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, as a yearly event celebrating the philosophies and lives of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. At COCC, we also honor César Chávez and Chief Wilma Mankiller. The Season of Nonviolence honors these leaders' visions for an empowered, nonviolent world. 

We look forward to the 2022 Season of Nonviolence. Check back in the Fall for programming details. 

 Thank you to our 2021 Season of Nonviolence Sponsors!

Cascades Academy of Central Oregon 
Central Oregon Community College 
Deschutes Cultural Coalition 
High Desert Museum
Oregon Community Foundation 
St. Charles Health System 


2021 Programs 

The Half-Life of Freedom:cobb
Race and Justice in America Today 

Jelani Cobb - New Yorker Staff Writer, Professor at Columbia University

Tuesday, February 2, 2021 – 5 p.m. PST - VIRTUAL PRESENTATION 

In this virtual program, acclaimed historian and journalist Jelani Cobb broke down the complex dynamics of race and racism in America—relating the country's history of inequality to today’s issues. Cobb talked about why he believes the levers of justice are in our hands, and how we can move them in the direction we see fit.

FREE and OPEN to the public. 

About Cobb 
A long-time staff writer at The New Yorker, Cobb wrote a series of articles about race, injustice, and the police; for which he received the Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism. He also teaches at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is the author of Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress and To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic.

A Conversation with Jelani Cobb 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021 – 4 - 4:45 p.m. - VIRTUAL CONVERSATION

COCC students were invited to join an informal virtual conversation and Q & A with acclaimed historian and
journalist Jelani Cobb before his public presentation. Cobb speaks and writes about Black Lives Matter, the
battle zones of Ferguson and Baltimore, the legacy of a black presidency, the implications of the Trump era, and
more generally, on the history of civil rights, violence, and inequality in employment, housing, and incarceration
in America.

FREE and open to COCC students only.  


Community Book Conversations 

Caste image

This year’s book selection, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Pulitzer Prize-winner Isabel Wilkerson, examines the unseen and unspoken systems of hierarchy that shaped and continue to affect systems of oppression in America. Wilkerson uses research and true life examples to illustrate her points in a meaningful and relatable manner. She ends with a message of hope and asks us to envision a world without caste. 

Virtual book discussions began the week of January 25, 2021. 

View Options and Contacts for the Book Conversations

To register, contact our community partners listed below:

Trinity Episcopal Church - Wednesdays 3:30-4:30 p.m. beginning 1/27/21

Environmental Center & COCC - Mondays 5:30-6:30 p.m. beginning 1/25/21 Contact: or

TRACEs & Allyship in Action - Wednesdays 12-1:30 p.m. beginning 2/03/21

COCC Madras & Prineville - Thursdays 12-1 p.m. beginning 1/28/21

COCC Barber Library - Tuesdays 12:30-1:30 p.m. beginning 1/26/21

COCC Redmond Latinx Club - Wednesdays 12-1 p.m. beginning 2/10/21 

Cascades Academy - Wednesday / Tuesday 5:30 - 7 p.m. - 2/17/21 & 3/16/21
Register here.

Caste is available at COCC’s Barber Library. You can also purchase Caste at Central Oregon independent bookstores Dudley's Bookshop, Herringbone Books, Paulina Springs Books, or Roundabout Books, or purchase Caste online from to support our local bookstores.

Buy the audiobook from, an Audible-alternative that supports our local indie bookstores.

Neuroscience of Prejudice: sherman resize
Racism and the Brain

Larry S. Sherman, Ph.D. - Professor of Neuroscience, OHSU 

Sunday, February 21, 2021 – 4 p.m. PST – VIRTUAL PRESENTATION

Racism exists because of racial prejudice, where we make judgements about people based entirely on their race and our own unconscious bias, and not on actual experience. Our brains react to people who are different from us within milliseconds. In this lecture, Dr. Larry Sherman explored how our brains engage in prejudice, the consequences of prejudice and racism for both racists and people who experience racism in their daily lives, and how understanding these processes suggest ways that we can overcome prejudice and racism in our society.

FREE and OPEN to the public. 

About Dr. Sherman 
Dr. Larry Sherman is a Professor of Neuroscience at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, and in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology and the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the Oregon Health & Science University.  He has over 100 publications related to brain development and neurological diseases. He serves on numerous US and international scientific review panels including panels for the National Institutes of Health and the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and Portland Monthly Magazine recognized Dr. Sherman as one of the “People who are changing our world”.


Black History Month

In recognition of Black History Month, COCC was honored to welcome MOsley WOtta, Arielle Estoria, and Dr. Doug Luffborough to share stories of Black triumph. Through poetry and storytelling we celebrated the past and present triumphs of the Black community while continuing our efforts to challenge oppressive systems and strive toward a more equitable future. 

MOsley WOttaMOsley WOtta

Friday, February 5, 2021 - 12:30 p.m. Virtual Presentation
MOsley WOtta is a local spoken word artist and equal rights activist excited to share the power of words in advocating for the support and empowerment in Black and Brown lives in Central Oregon.

Arielle EstoriaArielle Estoria

Friday, February 12, 2021- 12:30 p.m. Virtual Presentation
Arielle Estoria is a renowned poet, author, speaker, and emcee who emphasizes the gift of each individual. Arielle uses her words and storytelling to help others unlock their gifts and find beauty in themselves. 

Dr. Doug Luffborough

Dr. Doug Luffborough

Tuesday, February 23, 2021- 12:30 p.m. Virtual Presentation
Dr. Doug Luffborough (Dr. Luff) overcame fatherlessness, homelessness, and unjust systems to be the first in his family to attend college. Chosen by his class at Northeastern University to be the commencement speaker, he thoroughly impressed one attendee in particular, President Bill Clinton. President Clinton invited Dr. Luff and his mother to the White House where he promised to write a letter of recommendation for Luff's application to a Harvard Graduate program. Dr. Luff then went on to the University of San Diego where he received his Ph.D. in Leadership studies. 

FREE and OPEN to the public. For more information contact Blakelee Evans, COCC's Afro-Centric Program Coordinator

Nevertheless Film ScreeningNEVERTHELESS Film Screening

Monday March 1 & Tuesday March 2, 2021

Taking a look behind the headlines of #MeToo and Time's Up, NEVERTHELESS follows the intimate stories of individuals who experienced sexual harassment in the workplace or at school. This powerful film shines light on the ways in which we can shift our culture and rebuild.

FREE & OPEN to the public. 


savannah romero

Building Power and Change for Native People

Savannah Romero - Manager of Partnerships and Programs, IllumiNative 

Monday, March 8, 2021 - 12 p.m. PST - VIRTUAL PRESENTATION 

The narrative about Native people in this country is laced with misconceptions, toxic stereotypes and systemic erasure. IllumiNative works to transform how Americans and key institutions think about and engage with Native peoples. Savannah Romero discussed how IllumiNative is using research, narrative, and culture change strategies to disrupt invisibility and toxic misconceptions about Native peoples within diverse sectors of American society. Their work is moving hearts and minds while advancing justice and equity.

This program was presented in partnership with The High Desert Museum. 

FREE and OPEN to the public. 

About Savannah Romero 
Savannah is a member of the Eastern Shoshone Nation and a recent graduate of New York University with a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Public Affairs. She previously worked at the National Indian Education Association and for the U.S. House of Representatives specializing in Tribal policy and Native education. She currently works as the Manager of Partnerships and Programs at IllumiNative, a racial and social justice organization whose mission is to build power for Native people by amplifying contemporary Native voices, stories and issues to advance justice, equity, and self-determination.