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Diversity: Having the Difficult Conversation [PANEL]

July 22, 2020 @ 5:15 pm - 6:30 pm

Join Nossi College of Art for a virtual panel session to discuss diversity, inclusion, and ensuring our campus is a safe space for all students. We need your help to have this conversation. Join us on Wednesday, July 22 at 5:15 and hear from faculty members, students, and professionals about experiences, opportunities, and joining the conversation.


Diversity and Inclusion Panel
Special thanks to Stephanie Young for designing the poster.

Wednesday, July 22
5:15 PM – Virtual RSVP – Emailed to students, faculty, and staff


Diversity and Inclusion Panelists
From top left to right:
Theresa Anderson – Nossi student
John Partipilo – Nossi Photojournalism Instructor
Rev. Cherisna Jean Marie – Racial Justice Ministries, Scarritt Bennett Center
Leenay Barnes – Nossi student, Kappa Pi member
Irika Skeete – Nossi alumnus and Graphic Design Instructor
Reid Horn – Nossi’s Mental Health Counselor

See Additional Details Below about our important panelists.


Have questions, concerns to voice, or experiences you want to hear from our panelists? Please consider adding them here so our panel can prepare in advance. 


See Nossi College of Art’s statement on racial injustice.



Irika Skeete – Illustrator | Designer | Instructor | Activist
Irika Skeete, Graphic Designer
Irika Skeete is a Graphic Illustrator with more than a decade’s experience helping companies nationwide leverage the power of design to create inspiring brands that customers love.

Her success can be attributed to her empathetic approach to work and life. Whether in design, teaching, or activism, her primary objective is always to act from a place of compassion, keeping the consumer’s needs front of mind.

Irika has always been outspoken on matters of racial justice and uses her platforms to promote unity and understanding. Taking the lead from her grandfather and his siblings who marched with Dr. King during the Civil Rights Movement, Mrs. Skeete has also galvanized diverse groups to speak out about inequality and injustice in their communities.  Most recently, she and her sisters launched a retail brand that promotes the power of allyship in standing for justice.

Irika comes from a Southern family that knows all too well the issues of racism that plague this country. Her great great grandfather was born in slavery, her great grandfather lived through Jim Crow, and her grandfather and his siblings marched with Dr. Martin Luther King and were personal friends of Rosa Parks. Following in the footsteps of many of her family members who came before her, Irika has and participated in a number of social justice events in the community.

With empathy as one of her core values, and it informs every aspect of her life. She attributes her success to her empathetic approach to her work—placing herself in the consumer’s shoes as she considers even the slightest aspects of design elements.

Rev. Cherisna Jean-Marie – Racial Justice Ministries | Scarritt Bennett Center
Rev. Cherisna Jean Marie, Racial Justice Ministries, Scarritt Bennett Center

On June 1, 2019, the Rev. Cherisna Jean-Marie started her ministry as the Director of Racial Justice Ministries with Scarritt Bennett Center in Nashville, TN. Rev. Cherisna Jean-Marie (also known as “Pastor J”) is a Haitian-American born and raised in Newark, NJ to the parents of Joseph (deceased) and Grace Jean-Marie.

In 2001 she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Communications from Kean University in Union, NJ. Upon graduation, she worked in the University setting in the Division of Student Affairs encouraging college students to tap into their fullest potential and embrace the true and living God. It was during that time she discovered her calling into the pastoral ministry. After five years in Higher Education, Rev. Cherisna answered her call to ministry and matriculated into Vanderbilt Divinity School as a second career student. In 2010, Pastor J completed her Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School. During commencement, she was awarded the coveted Florence Conwell Prize for outstanding preaching. In 2012 she was ordained into the Christian ministry by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at New Covenant Christian Church in Nashville, TN where she served as an Associate Minister. She completed her Chaplaincy work in Atlanta, GA in 2014 offering up the ministry of pastoral care and counseling to a diverse community of all walks of life and faith traditions.

She is a co-contributor for the African-American lectionary, 3 book projects entitled, “These Sistas Can Say it”, Partner Prayers for Advent 2014 and Prepare: An Advent Devotional 2019 with the Bethany Fellows Group (Disciples of Christ). She is a Bethany Fellow (Disciples of Christ) and a member of the National Consortium of Black Women in Ministry- Nashville Branch, and she serves as the Vice President of the Fellowship of Black Disciples Clergywomen. Pastor J is a visionary whom possesses tremendous gifts for ministry. She seeks to personify her calling by boldly professing the Word of God to communities in need of the Good News. Above all Pastor J is a preacher, teacher, mentor, advocate, and organizer who loves God and has dedicated her life to building the Kingdom of God on earth. Pastor J begins her ministry with a vision to lead the Scarritt Bennett Center to becoming a leading voice that proclaims love, justice, and hospitality.

John Partipilo – Photojournalism Instructor | Nossi College of Art
John partipilo headshot
Working as a photojournalist for 35 years, John Partipilo won awards such as NPPA Best of Photojournalism, nominated for two Pulitzers, and featured in national and international publications. In 2016, John emerged from an award-winning photojournalism career into fine art photography.

John always sticks to his journalism roots — it’s this style that heavily influences his process. In every situation, he has to immediately be able to tell the story accurately. He uses his intuition to guide him towards the shot giving him access to places he wants to go, gaining trust from the people he meets and leading him to the pictures that are the most honest.

Serendipity also plays a major role in the process. John is present in the moment and allows for happenstance to get the photograph every time. Partipilo trusts in this process completely, because he believes if you overthink it you won’t get your pictures. He calls it Zen Photography — reacting to whatever is in front of you.

Most importantly John’s work is about people — people in their different environments and people in their different stages of life. That’s the heart of his work. To him, people are so important, because they all have a unique story.

Reid Horn – Mental Health Professional | Horn Counseling | Nossi College of Art
Horn Counseling, Mental Health Professional
Reid is a licensed therapist with over 10 years of experience in the mental health industry and is a part-time mental health professional at Nossi College of Art with office hours on campus.

He earned a master’s degree from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. He has experience working with both men and women suffering from depression, anxiety, trauma, and addiction.  He specializes in relationship counseling, utilizing the therapy approach of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and trauma therapy utilizing the approach Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). It was during his time in Springfield that he fostered his love for good coffee and road trips.  He currently has a goal of visiting all 50 states and taking a selfie at the “Welcome to” state sign.  He has proudly reached 31 selfies thus far!

Leenay Barnes – Nossi College of Art Student | Kappa Pi Member
Leenay Barnes, Diversity and Inclusion Panelist

Leenay Barnes is a portrait photographer that resides in Nashville.

She specializes in family portraits, personal events, editorial styled wedding photography, as well as business and PR headshots. She also offers her clients location and studio sessions. 

Theresa Anderson – Nossi College of Art Student

Theresa Anderson Diversity Inclusion Panelist



July 22, 2020
5:15 pm - 6:30 pm
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Nossi College of Art
590 Creative Way
Nashville, TN 37115 United States
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