3:15 – 4:00 pm

SESSION THREE: Activism, Organizing—and Hope

When Do I Step In? The Mechanics of Intervention

What happens when we are faced with a decision to intervene in an event where a person or group of people is being hurt in some way? This session will look at a spectrum of scenarios, from micro-aggressions to harassment, bullying and ultimately violence. We will ask participants to navigate the subconscious cost benefit analysis that people go through in order to make a decision about whether to intervene. We will learn why people are more likely to take on the role of the bystander and ultimately the extent of apathy when the costs outweigh the benefits of intervention and when social norms and a culture of impunity are factored into the equation. We will also consider the logistics of proximity in that equation. Ultimately, our discussion will lead us to question both our culpability and our responsibility for the inequities of our larger culture, inequities that lead to systemic racism, antisemitism, misogyny, and acts of hate.

Workshop Goals: Participants will be more reflective about their actions in situations where they might intervene. They will understand the mechanisms that often stop us from intervening and result in our becoming bystanders. They will explore the complexities of our ideas of morality (what’s good and bad) and finally they will come away with some tools to encourage them to be upstanders, anti-racists, anti-misogynists, etc.


Jodi Oriel Head Shot.JPG

Jodi Oriel is the Associate Director at Monroe Community College for the Office of Student Life and Leadership Development. Jodi is responsible for facilitating the Leadership Program, Visiting Scholars Series, and Scholars’ Day. A humanist at heart, she is the Director, Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Project. Her goal is to always provide the students with various opportunities to be involved in Student Life. Her philosophy is when students are involved it gives them the opportunity to discover and develop to their fullest potential and become active members of their community. Jodi is a proud alumna of Monroe Community College (Liberal Arts), has a Bachelor's of Science from SUNY Brockport and an M.S. in Student Development from Buffalo State College.


Angelique Stevens is a professor at Monroe Community College, where she teaches Literature of the Holocaust and Perpetrators, Victims, and Bystanders: Literature of Genocide. She has an MA in English from SUNY Brockport and an MFA From Bennington College. Her scholarship is in two distinct areas, human rights, and genocide literature and creative writing. She studied Holocaust education at Yad Vashem in Israel and was a scholar at Keene’s Summer Institute for Genocide Prevention. She has also visited a number of sites globally, including Rwanda’s Genocide Memorial in Kigali and Cambodia’s S-21 Prison and Killing Fields. Angelique has been to refugee camps in South Sudan, where she spent almost three months evaluating the effect of water wells on villages.