Programming Announced for COCC’s 13th Annual Season of Nonviolence


(Photo | Courtesy of Central Oregon Community College)

Central Oregon Community College (COCC) is proud to announce the all-virtual programming lineup for the 13th annual Season of Nonviolence, which spans January through mid-March. This yearly series of free public lectures, community projects, interactive discussions, film screenings, reading groups and more is co-presented by the college’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the COCC Foundation’s Nancy R. Chandler Visiting Scholar Program.

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. COCC’s programming also honors César Chávez and Chief Wilma Mankiller. These four leaders offer visions for an empowered, nonviolent society. Colleges and universities throughout the country celebrate the Season of Nonviolence by educating their students, employees and communities to use non-violent methods to create a more peaceful world. 

All of COCC’s 2021 Season of Nonviolence events will be free, open both to the general public and to COCC students and employees. All programming will be held via Zoom (registration is required). To view a complete list of the virtual events and to register online, visit

Keynote speakers for this year include Jelani Cobb, an award-winning staff writer at The New Yorker and faculty member at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and Dr. Larry Sherman, president of the Oregon Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.

The 2021 Season of Nonviolence book discussion selection is Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, a #1 New York Times bestseller written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson. Caste is available from both the college’s Barber Library and bookstore. Readers can also purchase Caste from Central Oregon independent bookstores Dudley’s Bookshop, Herringbone Books, Paulina Springs Books or Roundabout Books (in stores or online). The audiobook is available from, an Audible-alternative that supports local independent bookstores.

“The timing of this programming could not be more crucial,” said Dr. Laurie Chesley, COCC’s president. “As we witnessed the violence and disruption to our democracy last week in Washington, D.C., it only reaffirmed our commitment as educators to use learning to promote empathy, peace and respect, and to forge stronger communities in the process.”

For the first time, the college’s Season of Nonviolence will include events to specifically honor Black History Month (February), presented in partnership with COCC’s new Afro-Centric Program. “In recognition of Black History Month, COCC is honored to welcome MOsley WOtta, Arielle Estoria and Dr. Doug Luffborough to share stories of Black triumph,” said Blakelee Evans, COCC’s Afro-Centric program coordinator. “Through poetry and storytelling, we will celebrate the past and present triumphs of the Black community, while continuing our efforts to challenge oppressive systems and strive toward a more equitable future.” 

“With the transition to virtual programming in the fall, our program saw attendees joining from all over the world,” said Charlotte Gilbride, Coordinator of the Nancy R. Chandler Visiting Scholar Program. “Our upcoming Season of Nonviolence events will be equally available to anyone, anywhere, thanks to the virtual format and our ability to offer this programming free of charge. What better way to honor the legacies of Gandhi, Dr. King Jr., Chávez and Chief Mankiller than by making the urgent message of nonviolence internationally accessible?”

The COCC Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Nancy R. Chandler Visiting Scholar program thank the many community sponsors and partners who make the 2021 Season of Nonviolence possible: Allyship in Action & TRACEs Central Oregon, OSU-Cascades, Oregon Community Foundation, Cascades Academy, Trinity Episcopal Church, St. Charles Health System, Deschutes Cultural Coalition and the Environmental Center.

For a complete list of 2021 Season of Nonviolence events, and to register to receive the Zoom links to these free events, visit 



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