Skip to Content

Diversity Initiatives and Programming

The FSS Diversity Committee is committed to maintaining its momentum by continuing its diversity efforts with the following initiatives:

  • Involvement with the University Common Experience Program
  • Host the Diversity Film Lunch Series
  • Disseminate monthly diversity quotes
  • Submit quarterly diversity article for the FSS division newsletter
  • Expand and sustain diversity conversations
  • Continue the visibility campaign
  • Coordinate workshops for FSS administrators and employees

Diversity Film Discussion Series

  • Previous Films

    • Young Reginald Dwight changes his name to Elton John and collaborates with singer-songwriter Bernie Taupin to become one of the most iconic figures in pop history. Set to his most beloved songs, it's the epic musical story of Elton John, his breakthrough years in the 1970s and his fantastical transformation from shy piano prodigy to international superstar.

    • Phillip is a wealthy quadriplegic who needs a caretaker to help him with his day-to-day routine in his New York penthouse. He decides to hire Dell, a struggling parolee who's trying to reconnect with his ex and his young son. Despite coming from two different worlds, an unlikely friendship starts to blossom as Dell and Phillip rediscover the joy of living life to the fullest.

    • Dr. Don Shirley is a world-class African-American pianist, who is about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South in 1962. In need of a driver and protection, Shirley recruits Tony Lip, a tough-talking bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx. Despite their differences, the two men soon develop an unexpected bond while confronting racism and danger in an era of segregation.

    • In 1986, Saroo was a five-year-old child in India of a poor but happy rural family. On a trip with his brother, Saroo soon finds himself alone and trapped in a moving decommissioned passenger train that takes him to Calcutta, 1500 miles away from home. Now totally lost in an alien urban environment and too young to identify either himself or his home to the authorities, Saroo struggles to survive as a street child until he is sent to an orphanage. Soon, Saroo is selected to be adopted by the Brierley family in Tasmania, where he grows up in a loving, prosperous home. However, for all his material good fortune, Saroo finds himself plagued by his memories of his lost family in his adulthood and tries to search for them even as his guilt drives him to hide this quest from his adoptive parents and his girlfriend. Only when he has an epiphany does he realize not only the answers he needs, but also the steadfast love that he has always had with all his loved ones in both worlds.

    • Jenny Farrell has led an openly gay life - except with her conventional family. When she finally decides to start a family and marry the woman they thought was just her roommate, the small, safe world the Farrells inhabited changes forever. They are left with a simple and difficult choice - either change with it or drown.

    • Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman. Born with facial differences that, up until now, have prevented him from going to a mainstream school, Auggie becomes the most unlikely of heroes when he enters the local fifth grade. As his family, his new classmates, and the larger community all struggle to discover their compassion and acceptance, Auggie's extraordinary journey will unite them all and prove you can't blend in when you were born to stand out.

    • A struggling coach and teacher who has had to move around for different incidents in his career finally comes to one of the poorest cities in America: McFarland, California. There he discovers buried potential in several high school boys and slowly turns them into championship runners and brings them closer than even he could ever imagine.

    • Italy, 1944. As the war takes its toll on Allied forces in Europe, a squadron of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen are finally given the chance to prove themselves in the sky - even as they battle discrimination on the ground. It's a tribute to the unsung heroes who rose above extraordinary challenges and ultimately soared into history.

    • 65 Attendees
      Black or White is the story of a grandfather (Kevin Costner) who is suddenly left to care for his beloved granddaughter. When her paternal grandmother (Octavia Spencer) seeks custody with the help of her brother (Anthony Mackie), the little girl is torn between two families who love her deeply. With the best intentions at heart, both families fight for what they feel is right and are soon forced to confront their true feelings about race, forgiveness, and understanding. Anchored by an all-star cast and based on real events, the movie is a look at two seemingly different worlds, in which nothing is as simple as black or white.

    • 44 Attendees
      70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker (Robert DeNiro) has discovered that retirement isn't all it's cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior citizen intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). Ben is made her intern, but this is a nominal role - she doesn't intend to give him work and it is just window dressing. However, Ben proves to be quite useful and, more than that, a source of support and wisdom.

    • 59 Attendees
      Although Vivien Thomas (Mos Def), a black man in the 1930s, is originally hired as a janitor, he proves himself adept at assisting the "Blue Baby doctor," Alfred Blalock (Alan Rickman), with his medical research. When Blalock insists that Thomas follow him to Johns Hopkins University, they must find a way to skirt a racist system to continue their study of infant heart disease. Thomas is indispensable to Blalock's progress, but Blalock is the only one who is allowed to receive the acclaim.

    • 77 Attendees
      In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), legendary manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, defies major league baseball's notorious color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the team. The heroic act puts both Rickey and Robinson in the firing line of the public, the press and other players. Facing open racism from all sides, Robinson demonstrates true courage and admirable restraint by not reacting in kind and lets his undeniable talent silence the critics for him. The film is rated PG-13: Parental Guidance is suggested for language.

    • 64 Attendees
      Spare Parts is a true life story about four Hispanic high school students who form a robotics club under the leadership of their school's newest teacher, Fredi (GEORGE LOPEZ). With no experience, 800 bucks, used car parts and a dream, this rag tag team goes up against the country's reigning robotics champion, MIT. On their journey, they learn not only how to build a robot- they learn to build a bond that will last a lifetime. The film is rated PG-13: Parental Guidance is suggested for language.

    • 41 Attendees
      In his small North Carolina hometown, Ron Clark (Matthew Perry) leads a comfortable life as a successful elementary school teacher, earning the respect of the community. However, he knows there are students elsewhere who need him more. Following his inner calling, Clark uproots to New York City, hoping to make a difference for the disenfranchised youths that school system has left behind. Clark makes it this mission to turn around the worst students, even though he knows his job is on the line.

    • 63 Attendees
      David Green is brought into a prestigious 1950s school to help their football team to beat the school's old rivals. David, however, is from a working class background, so he isn't really "one of them", but he's very successful at making friends. David is a Jew, and has to keep this a secret from his friends for fear of being rejected

    • 71 Attendees
      Chronicling the birth of a modern American movement, Cesar Chavez tells the story of the famed civil rights leader and labor organizer torn between his duties as a husband and father and his commitment to securing a living wage for farm workers. Passionate but soft-spoken, Chavez embraced non-violence as he battled greed and prejudice in his struggle to bring dignity to people. Chavez inspired millions of Americans from all walks of life who never worked on a farm to fight for social justice. His triumphant journey is a remarkable testament to the power of one individual's ability to change the world.

    • 91 Attendees
      A heartfelt dramatic story about Cecil Gaines, a sharecropper’s son who grew up in the 1920’s as a domestic servant for the white family who casually destroyed his. Eventually striking out on his own, Cecil becomes a hotel valet of such efficiency and discreteness in the 1950’s that he becomes a butler in the White House. There Cecil serves eight presidents during three decades as the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events affect his life, family, and American society. As his wife, Gloria, wrestles with her addictions and his defiant eldest son, Luis, struggles in the civil rights movement, Cecil must decide whether he should take action in his own way.

    • 86 Attendees
      The 2013-2014 Common Experience program explores how perceptions of mental health and illness affect our thinking, laws, actions, and quality of life. We will be viewing the film I Am Sam – a humorous and heartwarming story about a mentally challenged single father who enlists the aid of a high-powered attorney to help him regain custody of his daughter. This unforgettable story of life, love and laughter addresses what it really takes to be a good parent. “It’s a wonderful movie about the power of the human spirit.” We hope staff recognize the importance of balancing human rights, freedoms, and creativity with effective social services, business practices, educational programs, and healthcare in support of mental health.

    • 68 Attendees
      A stirring and uplifting film based on the real-life victorious 1971 season of a high school football team. Remember the Titans is a rousing celebration of how a town torn apart by racially-based resentment, friction, and mistrust comes together in a triumphant harmony. After leading his team to 15 winning seasons, head football coach Bill Yoast is demoted and replaced by Herman Boone, tough opinionated and as different as the well-liked Coach Yoast as could be. How these two men overcome their differences and turn a group of hostile young men into champions plays out in a remarkable and triumphant story full of soul and spirit.

    • 75 Attendees
      An emotional true story about a deeply religious suburban housewife and mother who struggles to accept her son’s homosexuality. Mary is a devout Christian who has raised her children with a conservative religious perspective. When her son Bobby reveals that he is gay, the entire dynamics of the family change. While the rest of Bobby’s family slowly comes to terms with his homosexuality, Mary turns to her religious beliefs in an attempt to “cure” her son. Bobby becomes alienated from the safety of his close-knit family and his depression drives him to take drastic and tragic actions. Prayers for Bobby is the true story of a mother torn between her loyalties, challenged by her faith, and moved by a tragedy that changes her life and the lives of others forever.

    • 88 Attendees
      This film is a heartwarming comedy which shows how contemporary families react when a college student couple makes a surprise engagement announcement. The feuding fathers of the bride and groom threaten to turn a dream wedding into a battle of clashing cultures. Don’t miss this hilarious insight into how even in enlightened families, old preconceptions and stereotypes sometimes die hard.

    • 103 Attendees
      This film shows how immigration affects a great diversity of people: Arab, Asian, African, Mexican, New Zealanders, and Jewish. All are chasing the American Dream. The film deals with the border, document fraud, the asylum and green card process, work-site enforcement, naturalization, the office of counter terrorism and the clash of cultures.

    • 77 Attendees
      An inspirational and empowering story about very different, extraordinary women in the 1960’s South who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that broke society’s rules and also put them all at risk.

    • 78 Attendees
      The film conveys a homeless teen (Michael) from the streets and projects of Memphis, who meets a well-to-do family (the Tuohys). Neither Michael nor the Tuohys know much about each-other’s world; however, Michael finds a home and the Tuohys find a beloved new son and brother. This is a real life story of Michael’s growth into a blue chip football star and what it means to belong to a family. Join us on this remarkable journey that mixes gridiron action and heartwarming family emotions.

    • 90 Attendees
      The story conveys a single mom who wants a decent job so she can put food on the table and take care of her kids. What she gets is threatened, insulted, ogled, fondled, belittled, attacked and called filthy names. “Take it like a man,” her callous male boss says. Instead, she takes it like a human being – and fights back. This is the story of the women who broke the gender barrier working in the Minnesota iron mines. They also broke legal ground with the nation’s first class-action sexual-harassment lawsuit. Join us for this emotionally charged tale of achieving what every American worker wants: self-respect on the job.

    • 57 Attendees
      “The Shadow of Hate” which chronicles the history of intolerance in the United States over the past three centuries. Learn about our country’s ongoing struggle to live up to its ideals of liberty, equality and justice for all. Through the documentary footage and eyewitness reports, we will be given a powerful perspective on historical events from the ordinary people who lived through them. In addition to the history of intolerance in this country, we will also explore how prejudice is developed and ways we can create a community for tolerance

    • 67 Attendees
      Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” which chronicles the events in the late 19th century beginning with the last great Indian victory at the Battle of Little Big Horn and ending with the massacre of Native Americans at Wounded Knee. The story is centered on three characters: the proud Lakota chief, Sitting Bull, who refuses to submit to US government policies; Senator Henry Dawes, who is the primary architect of the government’s policy on Indian Affairs; and Charles Eastman, a college educated Sioux doctor, who has learned to work within the dominant culture’s system in order to try to improve the lives of the native Americans on the reservation. Even though Dr. Eastman chose assimilation over annihilation and hence extinction, it was still a very bitter pill for him to swallow.

    • 70 Attendees
      “An Unfinished Life” which is a powerful tale of estrangement and reconnection by diverse members of a family set in the American West of today. A grieving father, who has lost his passion for life, lives on a Wyoming Ranch with his best friend when his daughter-in-law, who he blames for the death of his only son, suddenly arrives at his place abused, penniless and desperate with a granddaughter he did not know he had. What ensues is a story of adventure, reconnection and forgiveness.

    • 68 Attendees
      “The Secret Life of Bees,” which explores life in the rural South of the 1960s. This is the story of a 14-year-old girl, along with her caretaker, who decides to escape from her cruel father and discover the truth about her late mother. Filmed against the backdrop of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, they find a new home in which they are protected by love & spirituality, which is in sharp contrast to the violence that surrounds them.

    • 36 Attendees
      Explore the Hernandez vs. Texas Supreme Court Ruling which protected Hispanic rights under the14th Amendment. We will discuss this Mexican-American Civil Rights story, set in the 1950’s, which details how the Jim Crow-style discrimination against Mexican-Americans was challenged in the highest court in the land. The legal strategy argued Mexican-Americans were “a class apart” and did not fit into a legal structure that only recognized blacks and whites.

    • 38 Attendees
      Explore the far-reaching effects of increasing diversity occurring in communities across the USA. We will discuss the importance of celebrating diversity because of its positive effects on our nation, rather than simply using politically correct language. Finally, we will discuss ways we can make connections across the lines that separate us.

    • 43 Attendees
      Examine the impact of race and racism accusations in America today. We will discuss the effects of the choices we make on our life and the lives of others. We will also discuss whether the lines of race divide the United States as much today as it has in the past.

    • 38 Attendees
      Discuss War on Poverty/Great Society, Civil Rights/Black Consciousness movement of the 1960’s, Vietnam War/Anti-War Protests, and LBJ’s Dream vs. his Destiny.

    • 37 Attendees
      Discuss causes and effects of global warming, renewable and non-renewable resources, how to reduce your carbon emissions, and America’s disproportional use of natural resources.

    • 34 Attendees
      Topics include Always the Low Price Morals; How important is the low price in comparison to quality of life; Should a company be held accountable for not providing good health benefits to the point that its employees need government financial assistance, Do Wal-Mart’s security practices indicate a lack of concern for customer safety in store parking lots, how do you think working at the poverty level and without health benefits would affect an employee’s self-image.

    • 41 Attendees
      Why do so many Arabs hate the US? The answer is very complex and has been a long time building. In order to answer this question, we need to listen with an open mind to their responses; even though those responses may make us feel uncomfortable or not make sense to us.

    • 34 Attendees
      In the early 1980’s this film was produced by a group of people who felt that the survival of the San Marcos river was being threatened by strong outside forces who were not intimately connected to the river. Because these non-local people did not hold the river in high regard they did not realize how important the river was to not just San Marcos, but to a large area of central Texas. This film was made to publicize the significant value of the San Marcos River. Even though the San Marcos River is not a very large or long river, it has provided an extremely stable environment for plants and animals for millions of years. If has also continuously been the home for humans for at least twelve thousand years.

    • 25 Attendees
      Demonstrate the roles of stereotypes can play in our everyday life.

    • 16 Attendees
      Some of the topics that will be open for discussion are the national crime rate is dropping, yet hate crimes are high; a ‘holy war’ waged against gay people; decreasing the number of hate crimes against gay people; gay crimes prevalent among adolescents; and how police departments investigate/solve gay hate crimes.

    • 37 Attendees
      In the 1940’s, only a hundred years after California had been a part of Mexico, 250,000 Mexican Americans in LA were treated as foreigners in a city founded by their ancestors. The 1940’s was a time of segregation between Caucasians and Mexican Americas. Though the Zoot Suit Riots originally began as a conflict against people who wore zoot suits, it later became a fight against Mexicans and Mexican Americans. City council ruled that anyone wearing a zoot suit would be cited and put into jail for thirty days. The Citizen Inquiry Committee responded by condemning the Press and the LAPD, and stating that the real cause of the riots was racial discrimination against Mexican Americans.