The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) strives to foster a more inclusive and culturally competent campus environment where students feel a strong sense of belonging and where their similarities and differences of identity and experience are acknowledged, understood, valued, and celebrated.
We live out our mission by providing educational opportunities, informative trainings, rich programs and inclusive services. We regularly collaborate with internal and external campus partners to challenge and rid out systems of oppression and inequality so that we may strengthen our institution's legacy of inclusion.
Daily, we work to increase students' awareness and their capacity for empathy by exposing them to cultures and experiences different than their own, addressing campus climate issues, promoting global citizenship and inclusion, and by facilitating their self-actualizing growth and development.
COVID-19 Virtual Drop-In Hours and Office Update: OMA has gone virtual! During the Fall 2020 semester, our offices and Centers are closed to visitors. Our staff and resources are still accessible to students and community members. Our staff are working remotely and many of our programs and services are now available virtually!
To engage with us, follow us @StJohnsOMA on instagram for the latest updates. If you would like to speak to a member of our staff, please click the "Locations, Hours, and Staff" tab, below, to learn more about how to contact each of us.
Click the icons below to learn more about our programs, services, and hours!
The Office of Multicultural Affairs is now offering Women of Color, Men of Color, LGBTQ+, International Students (Staten Island), and People of Color (Staten Island) Affinity Groups designed to encourage brave, inviting, and authentic spaces filled with discussion and connection focused on students' experiences on and beyond our St. John’s campus.
Affinity Groups can play a vital role in fostering an inclusive environment where all are valued, included, and empowered to succeed. They can provide a collective voice for student, faculty, and staff with common experiences. To ensure that the group offers a brave space, moderators may invite participants to explore their individual identities and backgrounds through discussions that affirms the existence, and psychosocial impact, of their identities when on and beyond our campus.
Current Affinity Group Offerings
Women of Color | Moderator: TBD
Men of Color | Moderator: TBD
Graduate Students of Color | Moderator: Crismari Edua
LGBTQ+ | Moderator: TBD
Virtual Affinity Groups
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, affinity groups will be offered virtually. Participation in affinity groups is voluntary and based on individual identity and group membership. Thus, participants are asked to complete the sign up form. Once received and prior to each meeting, participants will receive a Zoom Link, Meeting ID and password sent to their email. This ensures non-identity holding participants do not end up in the wrong affinity group by mistake. If you'd like to sign up for any of our virtual affinity groups, please click the below link.
During the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 semesters, moderators may shift due to our office's adaption to COVID-19 social distancing regulations. As a result, we are combining programs during this virtual year. Please stay tuned for a list of dates, topics and moderators.
Register for a Virtual Affinity Group
Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting Dates
Black and Indigenous People of Color: Roots vs. American Identity | Facilitator: Emante Mobley Washington | September 30, 4-5 PM ET
International Student Affinity Group | Facilitator: Alya Aisyah Fadil | October 29, Time: 1:50-3:15 PM ET
Black and Indigenous People of Color: Mental Health | Facilitator: Emante Mobley Washington | October 30, 3-4:30 PM ET
Black and Indigenous People of Color: Colorism | Facilitator: Emante Mobley Washington | November 11, 3-4:30 PM ET
LGBTQ+ Affinty Group with S.I. Pride Center | Facilitators: Lisa Sloane, S.I. Pride Center | November 13, 3-4 PM ET
AIM for a successful transition into your freshmen and/or sophomore year of college with Project AIM!
Project AIM is a peer-mentoring program that promotes student success by supporting student engagement, community-building, personal development, and retention of first year and second year international students.
Through a social and intellectual learning environment beyond the classroom, Project AIM supports student success with five learning pillars: Acclimation to the University, Leadership/Career Development, Diversity-Equity-Inclusion Awareness/Appreciation, Academic Achievement, and an increased Sense of Belonging.
Project AIM Mentee Registration Form
More info about Project AIM, please contact:
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: (718) 990-2011
Office Location: D'Angelo Center Room 1241
The Diversity Peer Education Program is dedicated to creating an inclusive campus environment by spreading cultural awareness and sensitivity while promoting diversity and social justice at St. John’s University. Diversity Peer Educators (DPEs) work with student leaders and organizations on a request basis to facilitate workshops related to social justice and diversity throughout the school year.
Diversity Peer Educators (DPEs) are trained undergraduate students who work for the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The DPEs facilitate training courses meant to create brave spaces where student participants can share their experiences, identities, and connect across difference. DPEs utilize their voices and passion for equity, inclusion, and social justice to help create a more inclusive St. John’s community where students can learn from one another and gain knowledge about others. In addition to facilitating training courses, DPEs support and host special events to promote social justice on campus and are ambassadors for the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
Our staff created a series of social justice training courses that increase in level of self-awareness, social justice knowledge, and skill. Each training is about two hours in duration. You must complete the training courses in order.
Level One: Increasing Cultural Competency
This introductory training will help participants understand who they are, their cultural influences, and how those aspects intersect. Through interactive activities and discussions, participants will explore their current cultural competency and learn more about each other.
Level Two: Social Justice Foundations
Through interactive activities and discussions, this training will allow participants to further explore their identities and learn more about power, privilege, and intersectionality.
Level Three: Understanding and Reacting to Implicit Bias and Microaggressions
Through interactive activities and discussions, this training will help participants recognize and respond to implicit bias and microaggressions while also increasing the skills necessary to interact effectively with a diverse group of people.
If interested in participating in the DPE training courses, please complete the form below detailing your request and a member of our support staff will respond as soon as possible. When requesting a training please note that you must book between the following times:
Fall 2020 Schedule
All training requests must be submitted at least two weeks in advance and you must have a confirmed space or room reservation. Departments: If you would like to reserve the IRC lecture room on behalf of your student led program, please email [email protected] before completing this form to see if the IRC is available. Your training is not confirmed until you receive confirmation from the DPE Graduate Assistant.
DPE Training Request Form
The Diversity Peer Educator applications have closed. Applications for the Fall 2020-Spring 2021 academic year will begin in March 2020.
For more information regarding the Diversity Peer Education Program and other social justice trainings, please contact the Executive Director of Multicultural Affairs, Monique Jernigan, at [email protected]
Follow the DPEs!Instagram
OMA Student Leader Positions!
The Diversity Peer Education Program and Common Ground Dialogues have combined student leader roles. If you are interested in applying to be a student leader for the 2020-21 academic year, click the link to apply. Application review begins Spring 2021.
Queens Application: https://oma_.formstack.com/forms/dpe_igd_application_form_2020_21
Staten Island Application: https://OMA_.formstack.com/forms/dpecgdapplicationsi20_21
Common Ground Dialogues is an Intergroup Dialogue Program, adapted from the University of Michigan, managed by the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Common Ground provides opportunities for students to come together virtually and in-person to share experiences relating to their social identities, lived experiences, and connections to each topic. Students who take part in these energized sessions enjoy the peer-led dialogues centering on relevant equity-centered issues.
Key characteristics of Common Ground Dialogues:
• All Common Ground Dialogues are co-led by pairs of St John’s University undergraduate student leaders called facilitators. These facilitators have gone through countless hours of extensive training. All dialogues are for students and led by students using the University of Michigan's Intergroup Dialogue framework.
• One of the fundamental principles underlying the Common Ground Dialogues program is that some of the most powerful learning occurs through exposure to and consideration of multiple perspectives. Therefore, one of the most important goals is to create a dialogic environment in which students talk openly and candidly about their individual identities, background, and its connection to social justice education. Specifically, participants connect each hot topic to systems of power, privilege, oppression, while listening carefully to the views and experiences of other participants. Our dialogues create opportunities for individuals to emerges with a deeper and more complete understanding of their own identity, environment, and how the topics presented connect to social justice.
The Common Ground Dialogues and Diversity Peer Education Program have combined student leader roles. If you are interested in applying to be a student leader for the 2020-21 academic year, click the link to apply. Application review begins Spring 2021.
In appreciation and celebration of cultural diversity, the Office of Multicultural Affairs collaborates with student leaders, student organizations, and campus partners to host a month-long observance of select heritage month celebrations. In the fall of 2020, all heritage and special events will be offered virtually.
If you are a student interested in assisting with the planning and implementation of any of these months, please fill out this form.
Latinx Heritage Month, also known as National Hispanic Heritage Month is nationally celebrated each year from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of those whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
In appreciation and celebration of the shared history and culture of Native and Indigenous peoples of America. Sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
Black History/Heritage Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by Black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history.
Typically recognized nationally in May, though celebrated in April at St. John’s, Asian American /Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a celebration of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. it encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.
Dismantle Oppression, or DO is the office’s new student workshop series. The DO series focuses on the antiracist’s journey. DO incorporates and builds on the work of historian and author Ibram X. Kendi from one of his recent books, “How To Be An Antiracist” (2019). DO is a student-led virtual series developed in response to what has been happening in our country, including and before we found ourselves in quarantine. This series, while unique and timely, couples well with existing student-led and student-centered workshops offered by our office. Though, though DO Series aims to provide a clearer and direct pathway to action.
As students ask themselves ‘What can they DO?’, our office would offer this program series as a response. It is our hopes that together we can use critical and self-reflective inquiry, thoughtful peer-to-peer learning, practical, and antiracist action to dismantle oppression.
Coming soon! Updates on availability for students to sign up will post mid-fall.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs is now the managing department of the Safe Zone Program. The Safe Zone Program at St. John’s University, with trainings executed by Spectrum Student Organization, remains supported by a collaboration of key administrators from Wellness, the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of the Provost. In the summer of 2020, the OMA revitalized its programs to highlight new offering— student equity workshops—comprised of new and revamped training programs. Given this change, the Safe Zone Program fits in perfectly with its new direction.
SJU Safe Zone Program
The primary mission of St. John's University's Safe Zone Program is to create a means through which we can consistently support the Gender & Sexual Minority (GSM) community in their growth and development, while honoring and celebrating the holistic experiences of the individual.
To achieve this, the Safe Zone Program seeks to:
The Safe Zone Program is currently being revamped. Details on availability for students and community members to sign up will post mid-fall. Stay tuned!
St. John's University is open to all students and community members. As we bring together community members of diverse backgrounds, the Office of Multicultural Affairs recognizes that in the U.S. and abroad, individuals and communities of diverse and marginalized backgrounds may have a difference of experience than individuals and communities from dominant or privileged backgrounds. As students and community members come together on our metropolitan campuses, it is our hope to identify inclusive centers and spaces designed for these groups.
Please read below to learn more about student-centered inclusion spaces and stay tuned for links to gender-inclusive restrooms on our campuses.
Inclusivity Resources Centers
The Inclusivity Resource Centers (IRC), under the Office of Multicultural Affairs, are Center that provides a brave, inclusive, and affirming space for students and guests.
The Inclusivity Resource Centers (IRC) were created to provide students with resources to assist in authentic and informed peer dialogue on topics of equity and inclusion. The IRC will provide social justice training for students, host equity and inclusion themed workshops, and through a collaboration with the Center for Counseling and Consultation, on the Queens, NY, campus, the Center will offer the services of a mental health counselor for both individual counseling and group programming. The Office of Multicultural Affairs’ student programming opportunities will also operate out of the IRC.
Executive Director, Office for Multicultural Affairs and Director of the Inclusivity Resource Centers
Mona I. El-Shahat, M.S., NCC
Assistant Director, Office for Multicultural Affairs and Inclusivity Resource Center--Staten Island
Elizabeth Ponce de Leon
Department Assistant, Office of Multicultural Affairs
Spectrum strives to strengthen, foster, and affirm an inclusive, welcoming academic and campus environment for all students regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression for the purpose of upholding our University’s Catholic, Vincentian, and Metropolitan mission.
Spectrum fulfills students’ opportunities to further actualize the University’s mission and core values by developing spiritual and personal growth, nurturing awareness and understanding, and embodying the spirit of empathy through a welcoming community that cultivates and reflects the values of human dignity, diversity, compassion, and inclusiveness.
In acknowledging these opportunities, Spectrum sets its foundation upon four pillars: Support, Education, Faith, and Service.
Matthew Pucciarelli, PhD (he/his)
Associate Provost of Global Programs
Newman Hall[email protected]
Jackie Lochrie (she/hers)
Senior Associate Dean of Student Services, Acting Dean of Students &
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Peter J. Tobin College of Business, Garden Level[email protected]
Shanté Paradigm Smalls, PhD (they/them)
Associate Professor, Department of English
St. Augustine Hall[email protected]
Jimmy Walters, EdD (he/his)
Director of Residence Ministry and Catholic Scholars Program
Adjunct Faculty, School of Education and Institute for Core Studies
O’Connor Hall[email protected]
Spectrum Executive Board
Leigha Clarke (she/hers)Major: Psychology[email protected]
Joanne Fung (she/hers)Major: Pharmacy[email protected]
Andy Ma (he/his)Major: Communication Arts[email protected]
Amir Singh (he/his)Majors: Computer Science / Cyber Security[email protected]
To support the anti-racism efforts happening in our institution, the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) has curated an extensive list of resources geared toward improving the racial literacy of our constituents and community. As a department, it is important that we continue to shed light on this very real systemic issue that is pervasive in many areas of our lives. It is our hope that consumption of these resources will be helpful in your journey to deepening your understanding of the processes and systems that perpetuate and uphold systems of oppression.
As we continue the daily journey of being an anti-racist department and campus, we first hold ourselves accountable as we also support peer and community accountability. To do this, we begin with the competencies of self-awareness and empathy as we work toward better understanding and supporting one another.
Anti-racism is an ongoing process that requires continuous, proactive engagement, and participation. OMA would like to provide this resource list to supplement the process of unlearning racism, beginning with ourselves, our classrooms and campuses, our families, and our community.
To supplement your actions in becoming anti-racist, we encourage you to begin with knowledge building through review of this curated list, which includes articles and readings that may be helpful in understanding different perspectives, books featuring notable authors who write about lived experiences through the lens of race and antiracism, videos including TED Talks, clips, movies, and television shows aimed at increasing individual and group awareness. Further, we have provided links inclusive of a “how-to” section for those seeking to take action. To support the protection of your energy, referred to as self-care, we have also included things to do in the NYC area and a list of mental health resources from internal and external sources.
This curated list includes several categories to cater to the different needs of our campus community. This list, while extensive, is not complete. We invite you to contact us to provide any resources you believe are missing or would like to see featured.
Some books may currently be out of stock, we encourage you to consider e-book options:
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NYPL
515 Malcolm X Boulevard (135th St and Malcolm X Blvd)
New York, NY, 10037
Louis Armstrong House Museum
34-56 107th Street Corona NY 11368
(718) 478-8274 http://www.louisarmstronghouse.org/
Langston Hughes House
20 E. 127th Street New York, NY 10035 http://www.itooarts.com
African Burial Ground National Monument
290 Broadway New York, NY 10007
(212) 637-2019 http://www.nps.gov/afbg/index.htm
Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial, Educational and Cultural Center
3940 Broadway New York, NY 10032 http://theshabazzcenter.net/
Studio Museum in Harlem
144 W. 125th Street New York, NY 10027
(212) 864-4500 http://www.studiomuseum.org/
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
405 W. 55th Street New York, NY 10019
(212) 405-9000 http://www.alvinailey.org/ Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (Mother Zion)
1st African American church
140-7 West 137th Street New York, NY 10030
Weeksville Heritage Center
1698 Bergen Street Brooklyn, NY 11213 http://www.weeksvillesociety.org/
Shirley Chisolm Circle
900 Prospect Place Brooklyn, NY 11213 https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/brower-park/highlights/19703
Addisleigh Park Historic District
110-40 177th Street Jamaica, NY 11433
Black Spectrum Theatre
177th Street & Baisley Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11434 http://www.blackspectrum.com/index.html
206 W 118th Street New York, NY 10026
(212) 243-2222 http://www.mintonsharlem.com/
African American Museum of Nassau County
110 North Franklin Street Hempstead, NY 11550
(516) 572-0730 http://www.theaamuseum.org/
Fraunces Tavern Museum
54 Pearl Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10004
(212) 425-1778 https://www.frauncestavernmuseum.org
253 W 125th Street New York, NY 10027 https://www.apollotheater.org/
Lewis Latimer House
34-41 137th Street Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 961-8585 https://lewislatimerhouse.org
Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art
80 Hanson Place, Brooklyn 11217 (Exterior & Lobby Galleries, Central Gallery)
Nolan Park House 7A, Governors Island NYC 10004 (House)
(718) 230-0492 x700 https://mocada.org
Sandy Ground Historical Society
1538 Woodrow Road Staten Island, N.Y. 10309
(718) 317-5796 https://sandyground.wordpress.com/
St. John’s University Center for Counseling & Consultation Resource List
Below we have outlined resources for identity-based counseling services. Individual therapists have not been vetted and are simply a reference list for those seeking identity-based counseling services from licensed clinicians.
Therapy for Black Girls
Therapy for Black Girls is an online space committed to improving the mental health and wellness of Black women and girls. https://therapyforblackgirls.com/
Psychology Today African American Therapist Directory https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/african-american
Psychology Today Latinx Therapist Directory https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/hispanic-and-latino
Therapy for Latinx https://www.therapyforlatinx.com
Psychology Today Asian Therapist Directory https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/asian
Psychology Today Native & Indigenous Therapist Directory https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/native-american
Psychology Today Middle Eastern Therapist Directory https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/arabic Psychology Today Bi/Multiracial Therapist Directory https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/multicultural/ny/new-york
Psychology Today LGBTQIA+ Therapist Directory https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/gay
Psychology Today Racial Identity Therapists https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/racial-identity
Psychology Today Disability Therapist Directory Learning Cognitive
Inclusive Therapist Directory – find a therapist for all identities https://www.inclusivetherapists.com
National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) https://www.nyxt.nyc/naminyc/
NAMI NYC Metro Support Groups https://www.naminycmetro.org/support-groups/
NAMI Queens/Long Island https://namiqn.org
NAMI Brooklyn/Staten Island http://www.namistatenisland.org/
Information concerning mental health promotion, positive coping and resources related to mental illness and treatment. https://ourselvesblack.com/home
Please click the below items to learn more.
Monique Jernigan, Executive Director of Multicultural Affairs & Director of Inclusivity Resource Center[email protected]
Connect with Monique virtually on Mondays from 1:00 - 2:00 pm ET in her personal room at http://sju.webex.com/MEET/JERNIGAM.
Monique Jernigan joined the St. John's community in October 2018. She comes to us with many years of experience in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion supporting policy, programming, and services that promote equity and inclusion. Her past experience includes work in small, private liberal arts colleges, K-12 independent schools, and mid-sized comprehensive universities. Monique believes that students should always be first, and that their experiences and narratives should remain central to the mission and work of all educational institutions and their employees. Monique's leadership includes supervising the professional staff, select graduate assistants, and continued innovation and partnership with campus colleagues, departments and students to create a more inclusive and affirming campus environment.
Rosa Yen, Director of International Student Services and Multicultural Affairs[email protected]
Connect with Rosa virtually on Tuesdays from 11:00 - 12:00 pm ET in her personal room at http://sju.webex.com/MEET/YENC.
Rosa Yen is the Director of International Student Services and Multicultural Affairs and began working at St. John’s University more than 17 years ago. Originally from Taiwan, Ms. Yen felt a natural connection to international students and issues of multiculturalism and social change. She directly oversees the Project AIM International student peer mentoring program, Asian Alliance, and both Asian/Pacific Islander and Indigenous People heritage celebrations. In addition to her full-time position as an administrator, she serves as an adjunct faculty member, teaching Discover New York and Liberal Studies classes in the College of Professional Studies since 2007. She also speaks fluent Mandarin, English, and Taiwanese.
Mona I. El-Shahat, M.S., NCC, Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs | Staten Island
Connect with Mona virtually on Thursdays from 11:00 - 12:00 pm ET in her personal room at http://sju.webex.com/MEET/ELSHAHAM.
Mona is the Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs who primarily supports our Staten Island campus. She joined the OMA team in February 2019 and is an alumna of St. John’s University where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Health & Human Services from the Collins College of Professional Studies. Mona also possesses a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Her professional background includes several industries including Human Resources, Healthcare, Social Services and Education. She directly oversees the Diversity Peer Education, Common Ground Dialogues, Affinity Groups and Heritage month programs on the Staten Island campus. She has also served as an adjunct instructor for the School of Education. Mona is passionate about creating an inclusive campus through encouraging and supporting students to critically examine, name and dismantle systems of oppression.
Elizabeth Ponce de Leon, Department for Multicultural Affairs
Connect with Elizabeth virtually on Wednesdays from 2:00 - 3:00 pm ET in her personal room at http://sju.webex.com/MEET/PONCEDEE.
OMA Virtual Office Hours
Students will be able to meet up with members of our team via video call.
Hours Coming Soon
Students can follow us on Instagram (use handle @stjohnsOMA) to stay engaged virtually!
D'Angelo Center, Room 124 - Closed to visitors for Fall 2020
Monday to Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tel: 718-990-5400[email protected]
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, Inclusivity Resource Center - Closed to visitors for Fall 2020
Monday to Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tel: 718-990-2515[email protected]
Staten Island Campus
Kelleher Center, Inclusivity Resource Center & Office of Multicultural Affairs - Closed to visitors for Fall 2020
Monday to Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tel: 718-390-4470[email protected]