MVCC Momentum

Upcoming Momentum Events

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Online Resources for Specific Dates

Please join MVCC and SUNY-POLY in celebrating equity empowerment!

Join us in person on October 20 on the MVCC Campus in Wilcox Hall room 225 and 218 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.


8:30 a.m. Coffee and doughnuts

9:00 a.m. Welcome by Todd Marshall

9:10 a.m. Fourth Leg Reading: Erin Severs

9:30 a.m. Keynote address by Randy VanWagoner: "Navigating the fog: DEI Lessons from Privilege"

10:00 a.m. Community Guest Speaker– Jermiko "My Journey as an award-winning Children’s book Author"

11:00 a.m. Breakout Rooms
Danielle Del Guidice: "Power in Words"
Tamara, Kate, and Todd: "Intersectionality of Diversity"

12:00-1:00 p.m. Lunch (TACO BUFFET)

1:00 p.m. Breakout Rooms
Brandon Shaw "Hip Hop and Storytelling."
Guest Speaker - Tyler Tuccio [Tee Sparks] "His story?"

2:00 p.m. Breakout Rooms
The Fourth Leg: Voice of MVCC - Erin Severs
Zaida Morrel

3:00 p.m. Closing remarks by Dr. Mark Montgomery from SUNY POLY


Experience the power of an amazing story of writing a song sung by participants from around the world. Activity: Hank Leo, CEO of YMCA of the Greater Tri-Valley tells his amazing story about creating a song and bringing together singers from all over the world to perform it.

Picture of Hank LeoHis books, Home When the Streetlights Come On, God Called, In Your Hands, and Return to Allen Park, all leave readers with charming memories of a time gone by. Leo's use of honesty, faith, humor, and clever insight share positive messages with audiences of all ages. His endearing stories of spiritual journeys, growth, acceptance, and inspiration have caused both young and old to pause, reflect, and smile. Leo serves on a number of volunteer boards and committees, is actively engaged in a variety of charitable causes, and has been a leader in the nonprofit world for over thirty years. In his presentation on Tuesday, he will take you on a journey of a song that was written during COVID and sung by participants from all over the world.

Discord discussion question

Tell the story of a time that you created something that brought people together. It can be very small scale (for example maybe a time you made a meal for a group of friends and family), but let’s create a thread of joyful stories of bringing people together for a common purpose!

    Join the Discord Channel Oct. 17


Learn about the history and culture of the Oneida Nation

Film and discussion event 4:00pm – 6:00pm (WH 225)

Discord discussion question

What did you learn from the film and what questions do you have for people in our local Oneida tribe?

    Join the Discord Channel Oct. 9

Victor Pearlman

Executive Director at Jewish Community Federation of the Mohawk Valley
Please read Victor’s article on Jewish Faith and the work done at the Jewish Community Center of Utica.

It is estimated that as of 2020, there are approximately 1200 Jewish people living in the greater Mohawk Valley of New York.  This is a far cry from the 5000 plus Jews that lived in the same area from the mid 1900's until about 1985.  Many speculate that the decrease in Jewish population is related to the large reduction in employment opportunities related to the closing of the Air Force Base in Rome, NY in the 1980's. 

Public facilities in the Mohawk Valley that cater to the local Jewish community include 1) The Jewish Community Center, which provides social, educational, athletic and cultural programming for Jewish and Non-Jewish  people in the Mohawk Valley, 2) Z'vi Jacob Synagogue, which is a place of prayer for Orthodox Jews, 3) Temple Beth -El, which is a place of prayer for Conservative Jews, 4) Temple Emanu-El, which is a place of prayer for Reform Jews, and 5) The Sitrin Health Care Center, which provides long term residential care, neuroCare, long and short term Rehab care, social adult day health care, a child day care center among other services for all those living in the Mohawk Valley. 

The Jewish Community Center (JCC) has become a place where Jewish Uticans and Non-Jewish Uticans interact in a secular environment that was built to be comfortable for all who use the facility, regardless of their background. The Mission of the JCC of the Mohawk Valley is to "strive to enrich the lives of individuals, families, the Jewish Community and all those who enter our doors." 

Regarding Jews, the JCC is a place where Jews are welcome, no matter where or whether they worship, whatever their ages or lifestyles. The JCC sees value and potential in Jews associating with each other in a safe, warm, and supportive environment.  The JCC cultivates and promotes the experience of Jewish traditions, values, and ethics.  And the JCC fosters meaningful connections to the Jewish community worldwide. And regarding The General Community, the JCC is a welcoming facility for all members of our community to gather, socialize and create new and lasting relationships. The JCC sees value in the greater good of our entire community and supports a variety of efforts to promote the well-being in the Mohawk Valley.  And the JCC strives to provide accessibility for people of all means and abilities.  The JCC embraces the diversity of the enrichment experiences we provide and those who participate in them.

The Vision of our JCC

Our JCC offers a thriving, engaged community center, rooted in Jewish values, but available to those of all backgrounds.  We will provide exciting programs and services to the general community that are sought after and drive demand and participation.  We will be a vibrant gathering place where socialization in inherent, and we will continue to support our local community in all ways possible, be it providing necessary programs and activities or by providing much needed charity work for those in need.

For more information about our JCC, whether it be to find out more about what we do, to take part in our programs or to volunteer your time to help us provide for others, please call our office at (315) 733-2343 and ask for Vic. You can also email us at if you prefer.  

The commandment of "Tikun Olam" (repairing the world) is what drives our Jewish Community. Please join us in our attempt to do so here in the Mohawk Valley.


Simchat Torah – a Jewish holiday celebrating the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings that begins at sundown on Saturday, October 7th and ends at nightfall on. 

Discord discussion question 

How does understanding the beliefs and values of others enhance your perspectives?

Join the Discord Channel Oct. 6

Education then and now. How MVCC can empower and create freedom from poverty.

Discord discussion question

How has education impacted your life or the life of someone you love? The transformative power of education is central to the story of Utica’s Hope Chapel, so let’s create a thread of stories about the impact of education! 

Join the Discord Channel Oct. 3

What’s Momentum?

According to the dictionary, “Momentum” is the “strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events.” The MVCC Fall DEI Momentum will be in October during which we seek to create this “strength gained by a series of events.” In this time, there will be resources and educational opportunities that will engage our community by raising awareness and creating conversations about a variety of topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion through the art of storytelling. In this celebrating and learning, we will enhance our momentum as we evolve in our greater understanding of and ability to connect with one another.  The event will conclude with the 2023 Equity and Empowerment Summit (hosted by MVCC and sponsored by MVCC and SUNY-Poly), an all-day set of events with several different break-out session options and a celebratory taco lunch.

What to Expect:

Each week will include one or two learning objectives, an interactive workshop, a guest speaker, and/or a set of resources. The resources will include terminology, materials to read, a video to watch or a podcast to listen to, and questions for self-reflection or an action step. There will also be an asynchronous discussion board with prompts to inspire conversation and interaction. Lastly, there will be a link to further information for a deeper dive.

The three weeks will conclude with the 2023 Equity and Empowerment Summit (hosted by MVCC and sponsored by MVCC and SUNY-Poly), an all-day set of events with several different break-out session options and a celebratory taco lunch.

How to Participate

Please plan to attend events and workshops and otherwise, for each day with materials, we encourage participants to spend at least 10-15 minutes at their convenience. Once a day’s items have been opened, they will remain available indefinitely, so it is perfectly fine to pace yourself or otherwise save some materials for a later date.

In addition, for teachers, professors, human resource folks, managers, and trainers taking part in the MVCC FALL DEI MOMENTUM, please consider using any of the content here for activities or assignments in your classes with students or in trainings or meetings with employees.

Momentum Discussion Discord

In addition to the daily events, a new discussion topic will be available for the following days on Discord:

We look forward to healthy discussions! An email address is required to join the discord server. In there you will see the seperate channels for the corresponding dates with a discussion topic.

DEI Momentum Discord