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The work of this committee is now being handled by the International Relations Committee

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Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Out of One Many People


At this moment in time, we sense a heightened openness in our community – a strengthened commitment to build the diversity of our Branch, and support diverse populations in our immediate area and beyond. 


We have adopted the Adinka symbol of West Africa.  It is a symbol of diversity and unity. The Siamese crocodiles share one stomach, yet they fight over food. This symbol is a reminder that infighting and tribalism is harmful to all who engage in it.



Poughkeepsie Teen Closet

Marcine Humphrey

Donations are welcomed at the January 11, 2018 program meeting for “Poughkeepsie Teen Closet.”

This year we have chosen the “Poughkeepsie Teen Closet” as our community action project.  We have consulted with Jennifer Burke, and she has requested that we collect pajamas of any size for the closet.

Of course, you are also invited to also contribute to the personal hygiene needs of students.  Poughkeepsie High School social studies teacher Jennifer Burke, Shanna Andrawis and science teacher Demetra Kapogiannis, formed a faculty-led volunteer coalition.  The “Teen Closet” was created to help combat the harrowing statistic that 86 percent of the school’s students live in poverty.  14% are homeless.

“When students do not have their basic needs fulfilled, it directly impacts their ability to learn,” says Andrawis.  “For example, they will miss school, or when they do come to class, they may isolate themselves and not be engaged in the lesson.” Students who might feel embarrassed about their financial situation can feel comfortable knowing their requests for items like deodorant and toothpaste are confidential.  They simply send an email to phsteencloset@poughkeepsieschools.org, and arrangements are made to pick up the goods privately, with no questions asked.

A supportive school board responded by building a closet and providing shelving to stock an array of personal hygiene items, along with brand-new hats, gloves, underwear, socks, and T-shirts.  The “Teen Closet” has even gained support from the Poughkeepsie Police Department, with one officer spearheading a donation drive through her own social media outlets.  Donations can be directed to Officer Zirbel, City of Poughkeepsie Police department. This has also become an umbrella for other initiatives.

While the teachers are thrilled by the response, the overall goal of the “Teen Closet” transcends providing free shampoo and winter scarves to those who can’t afford them.” adds Kapogiannis, noting the creation of community luncheons that offer hot meals when school isn’t in session and a book drive for early childhood literacy.

Please help these young people, bring or send a pair of pajamas of any size to the January 11th meeting. 


Diversity and Inclusion Contact: 
Jacqueline Goffe-McNish  (471-7220)


Diversity Presents Program to AAUW Membership

"Understanding Islam”


On November 10, 2016, Dr Nada Halloway lead us in a discussion of “Understanding Islam.”

After a presentation of the roots of Islam and addressing some of the questions most often asked as rights of women, dress and other outward signs of Islam, there were many interesting questions from the large group that attended.

Dr. Nada Halloway received her PhD in 2004 and an Advanced Certificate in Women’s Studies from Stony Brook, SUNY.  Her areas of specialization include Victorian literature, history, and politics, post-colonial literature and theory and feminist studies, and religion.  She currently teaches at Manhattanville College.

Dr. Nada Halloway & Jacqueline Goffe-McNish      Barbara Hugo & Sherre Wesley

Carol Barmann & Joanne Long adding to the            Peggy Kelland & Celia Serotsky
"pile" of personal items for Riverhaven


Packages of Personal Items for residents at Riverhaven

Previous Diversity Activities>>


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Website comments are welcome and may be directed to Mary King. This page last updated on Aug 30, 2018