Home

Jessica Pettitt

Website


Technical Specifications

  • For all programs:
    microphone

  • For “Mean It” and
    “Living Well”: laptop
    projector, screen, DI
  • For "Sticks and Stones":
    please also provide a
    flip chart and tape
  • For "Gender This":
    please also provide a
    dry erase board
    OR flip chart
  • For "Fun Triangle":
    please also provide a
    dry erase board
    OR flip chart

Reviews, Comments, and Articles

Please click here for client comments and reviews.


Marketing Materials

 

JESSICA PETTITT
Social Justice & Diversity


If Not Us, Then Who? Let Us Rise

An additional video is available further down the page.

Congrats on being chosen as a Campus Activities Magazine’s Pick “2011 Speakers”

NACA SHOWCASING ARTIST - MID-AMERICA LECTURE SHOWCASE ALTERNATE 2013, NORTHEAST LECTURE SHOWCASE ALTERNATE 2013, SOUTH LECTURE SHOWCASE 2013, NORTHERN PLAINS LECTURE SHOWCASE 2013, NATIONALS LECTURE SHOWCASE 2013, WEST LECTURE SHOWCASE 2012, NORTHERN PLAINS LECTURE SHOWCASE ALTERNATE 2012, MID-AMERICA LECTURE SHOWCASE 2011, MID-ATLANTIC EDUCATIONAL SESSION 2010, WEST EDUCATIONAL SESSION 2010, MID-AMERICA EDUCATIONAL SESSION 2010

AFLV CENTRAL 2014 FEATURE SPEAKER
AFA ANNUAL MEETING 2013 SHOWCASE
NODA SHOWCASING ARTIST 2010

Jessica Pettitt is the "diversity educator" your family warned you about. She is easy to work with, accessible, and brings VERY simple concepts that are really hard to incorporate into our lives. Nominated for three years by Campus Activities Magazine for Best Diversity Artist, Jessica's programs are direct, customized, and highly interactive. Her workshops , seminars , and keynotes take participants on a journey weaving together politics, theory, current events, and story telling with large doses of humor reminiscent of Bob Newhart, George Carlin, and Paula Poundstone. This is by no means your average diversity program! Though participants will be laughing, she promises no drum circles, guilty tears, or finger pointing. This will be a HIGHLY interactive program that will leave participants with actual action steps to make REAL change in their lives. Jessica takes 10+ years in Student Affairs, 5+ years of national consulting work, and 2+ years of stand up comedy stage to stage as part of her mission to inspire change, dismantle oppression, and recognize our privilege. Through teaching, writing, and facilitating tough conversations, Jessica has figured out how to BE the change she wants to BE. Now it is your turn!

Programs: Energetic Keynotes

Be The Change You Want To Be
Often, student groups ask a speaker to come in and make the group feel good, laugh, and learn something. This keynote does two of the three, at least at first. Using an interactive and conversational style, this keynote encourages participants to play with their cell phones, raise their hands, and laugh out loud. The laughter comes from well orchestrated humor as well as a slow developing feeling of discomfort. In order to really make change, a person must realize what they are oblivious to and come to understand how this lack of consciousness guides his or her actions and assumptions. Collectively, the group begins to break down behaviors, actions, assumptions, and stereotypes that limit their organizations, friends, and most importantly themselves. Before you know, the participants are creating tangible goals and realistic action steps to do as soon as I get off the stage.

Learning Outcomes:

  • To understand the difference between Diversity and Social Justice
  • To remove excuses that stand in one's way from doing social justice work
  • To utilize three basic tools of self reflection: tracking, triggers, and listening
  • To motivate and inspire audiences to become participants in their own change

Comments from attendees:
“I’m leaving here with so much. I feel like a weight has been lifted from my spirit. I am not gay – and I think all identities would benefit from this. It was an amazing talk.”
"The keynote was wonderful. The part that was most useful was 'The only thing you can do to make change is to change your own world.'"
"Jessica uses humor and her real life examples to engage us and to relate to us."
"I learned to evaluate myself so I am better equipped to use my influence to help bring about change within my sphere."


Living Well: Sustainability for the Non Environmentalists
Blending basic principles of social justice with life changes that make an actual difference in our ecological footprint, this program clearly identifies 5 simple steps that can immediately be incorporated into our lives. Learning more about our ecological footprint vs. just our carbon footprint will have participants thinking about their purchases, intentions, aspirations, and goals in a way that doesn't drum up guilt or shame. This mind shift is about doing less with less inside of a system that is dependent on growth and more consumption. Join in for a conversation about where our self worth really comes from and how we can build community without harming it.

If Not Us, Then Who? Let's Rise

WARNING: There will be no hand holding, silver spoons, or excuses permitted during this keynote.  It was President Johnson that first looked to higher education to be the “great equalizer” for civil rights.  The idea was that once everyone had access to a college education, there would be no need for a privileged class. Where this might have seemed true at one point, 50 years later, I continue to wonder when things are going to change, get better, or equal out while admissions standards tighten, tuition prices increase, and students fight to enroll in ever more limited classes.  As a sorority member and community leader, I have decided to claim my responsibility and utilize my elite membership status to dismantle oppression and leave the world a better place.  Please join me in what I have found to be a highly motivating, yet reality and social justice based action-oriented message where no excuses or limitations are needed.  In the words of James Larkin, “The great appear great because we are on our knees.  Let’s rise!” Not only do we have access to a college education which many do not, we have gained access to the elite of the elite and with this comes the individual responsibility to serve. If access to a higher education is truly about leadership, moral development, and service – then we have a lot of catching up to do. Imagine a world not of t-shirt committees or P-C police, but of service that actually means something. If not us, then who?

Learning Outcomes:

  • To understand the difference between subordinated and dominant identities
  • To remove excuses that stand in one's way of doing social justice work
  • To deconstruct stories and history to find the true power of an individual’s action connected to a network of support
  • To motivate and inspire audiences to become participants in their own change

Mean it: The Meaning of Everyday Actions
1 in 10 people have not experienced bullying. 1 in 10.

It is time that we talk about the range of behaviors that we engage in and experience, from unintentional micro aggressions to actual targeted hate crimes. Once we understand the difference between bias and hate, we can learn to interrupt our own actions, and inactions, as well as those of others, before a crime takes place. Even well intentioned people often have an invalidating or aggressive impact on others. When a clear understanding is established about the impact of words and actions as well as silence and inaction, we, as a society, can begin to develop an inclusive community. This conversation includes the bullied and the bullies within all of us in an effort to reconnect to our hearts and begin a healing process.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify and distinguish between positive or negative bias and a hate crime.
  • Understand elements of bystander behavior.
  • Foster a community of respect and awareness of all members.


Programs: Social Justice Interactive Workshops Packed with Learning

More and more, meeting planners, conference organizers, and staff trainers are given a very short period of time to cover a lot of objectives. Moreover, outsiders are often called in for a short period of time to address one particular issue in reaction to an event that sits like an elephant in the room. All of my workshops are designed to accomplish your specific objectives including naming the elephant (reactive) and providing elephant training (proactive).

Comments from attendees:
“You answered all of my questions knowledgeably and without making me feel dumb for asking.”
"This really made me open my eyes and made me look at myself and how I do things, make assumptions, and blindly see things.”

Just Rescue
Who has the power to choose who lives or dies? Who writes the moral code we live by? Who “unwrites” this code? Even with limited information, we are socialized to make quick decisions about another person. This directly relates to how we work with, talk to, and support other people. When given an opportunity to examine “back stories” and assumptions, participants learn the positives and negatives of stereotypes. Participants can use this knowledge to make informed decisions in the future.

Learning Outcomes:

  • To identify default decision-making processes with regards to logical, relational, creative, and emotional connections.
  • To recognize and challenge three stereotypes or assumptions they hold about others
  • To identify three stereotypes/assumptions participants have about others
  • To name one to three intersecting visible/invisible identities

Comments from attendees:
“I identify as Hmong and live in North Carolina. This activity helped me understand how it feels to be oppressed by more than one label and understand unlike others who only know of the label."
"The Just Rescue activity really opened my eyes to the many different stereotypes people use by just reading two or three words. I need to think before I think – not just think before I speak.”


Social Justice: When Diversity Isn’t Enough
(Typically, I would encourage a social justice or diversity workshop be entitled Social Justice: When Diversity Isn’t Enough, and then depending on time and the level of knowledge that is in the room at the point of the program, I will flow between the following programs).
What is the difference between Social Justice and Diversity? As a leader, change agent and person working and living with other people — this difference is imperative. Learn the difference, stretch from your comfort zone, sit in your privilege, power, and place of dominance within institutional and systematic forms of oppression in this highly interactive program.

Learning Outcomes:

  • To understand how pre-existing assumptions affect an individual’s ability to recognize and value diversity.
  • To recognize and give examples of difference in both a singular and plural context.

Comments from attendees:
“Made me further consider what I am seeing and hearing and assuming."
"This really made me open my eyes and made me look at myself and how I do things, make assumptions, and blindly see things.”


Messages I Learned
Doing Social Justice work is a simple concept, but it isn't easy. While moving forward, we must also trace from where we have come from and what we have learned. This activity is primarily a silent self reflection journey through one's past to better inform our futures.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify messages you learned about one key identity that make you who you are
  • Identify messages you learned about at least two group to which you are not a member
  • Identity an event where you actively or passively supported oppression
  • Connect the functions of internalized and externalized oppression with one's own identities and experiences
  • Participate in an authentic conversation regarding emotions, anxieties, and realities of doing social justice work


Programs: Sexuality and Gender Interactive Workshops
Packed with Learning

More and more, meeting planners, conference organizers, and staff trainers are given a very short period of time to cover a lot of objectives. Moreover, outsiders are often called in for a short period of time to address one particular issue in reaction to an event that sits like an elephant in the room. All of my workshops are designed to accomplish your specific objectives including naming the elephant (reactive) and providing elephant training (proactive).

Comments from attendees:
“You answered all of my questions knowledgeably and without making me feel dumb for asking.”
"This really made me open my eyes and made me look at myself and how I do things, make assumptions, and blindly see things.”
"The Just Rescue activity really opened my eyes to the many different stereotypes people use by just reading two or three words. I need to think before I think — not just think before I speak.”

Sticks and Stones: LGBT 101
What better way to learn about sexual identities than to list out social norms, stereotypes, media images, rumors, jokes, and slang! This is a safe space for any and all kinds of interactive discussions regarding Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Heterosexual identities. By then comparing themes of these messages learned for these different groups, we can then have a much deeper conversation about class, race, educational access, citizenship, ability assumptions, etc. By understanding our language we can hold ourselves accountable to building an inclusive environment for all (regardless of sexual identity).

Learning Outcomes:

  • To articulate their own stereotypes, derogatory terms, and other assumptions for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and heterosexual people
  • To identify others' stereotypes, derogatory terms, and other assumptions for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and heterosexual people
  • To recognize the U.S. cultural need for binaries when examining sexual identities and gender identities

This event is appropriate for groups of 75 or under.

Comment from attendee:
“You answered all of my questions knowledgeably and without making me feel dumb for asking.”


Fun Triangle
After doing transgender education for a number of years, this program developed around the triangulation of sex, gender, and sexual identity and the connections between sexism and heterosexism. By clearly depicting the differences and dependence of these three words that are often used synonymously, we can then begin a deeper conversation regarding current policies and procedures on campus. Understanding these differences can be made very simple so that next steps can be planned for campuses and organizations that may not be easy to implement.

Learning Outcomes:

  • To define sexual identity, gender identity and sex
  • To recognize the difference between sex, sexual identity and gender identity
  • To describe how sexism and heterosexism are perpetuated by the conflation of sexual identity, gender identity, and sex

Comment from attendee:
“Jessica was very animated and information. She is a very good speaker and made me think about our culture and question it.”


Gender This!
(Typically, I would encourage a trans or gender based program be entitled Gender This!, and then depending on time and the level of knowledge that is in the room at the point of the program, I will flow between the following programs).

This workshop is a very basic workshop introducing the concept of gender as a social construct and how gender expression changes through class, culture, and time. This workshop is very interactive and provides a safe place for all sorts of questions regarding identity, language, sex, sexuality, and gender perception.

Learning Outcomes:

  • To recognize three of their own stereotypes/assumptions about gender
  • To understand and evaluate three stereotypes about gender that are supported by US culture
  • To reorganize traditional gender perceptions based on the realities of judgments and assumptions

Facing Trans: Inclusion, Advocacy, and Empowerment
As we become comfortable with the Lesbian and Gay plight on our college campuses and in the workplace, we continue to overlook Bisexuals and silence Transgender populations. Trans folks are courageously coming forward and identifying as such more and more often. This day-long training is designed to help college human resource administrators strategically plan to provide a safe and supportive climate for all and to prepare participants to become better advocates for the trans community. Be a leader by identifying the needs, (including invisible populations), advocating effectively for trans people, and empowering all community members to take action.

Currently fewer than 100 colleges and universities and even fewer Fortune 500 companies protect transgender students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors in their non-discrimination policies, yet more and more people are coming forward with trans or gender variant identities that directly challenge existing policies, procedures, and services. This in-depth interactive training aims to:
  • Increase awareness of the existence of the trans/gender variant populations
  • Transfer this knowledge to proactively identify campus actions steps
  • Create more higher education administrator advocates for trans needs
  • Elevate home campus as a leader in serving trans populations

As a participant in this training, individuals will benefit from:

  • Professional Development and on-going education about diverse populations on campus
  • Hands on resources to take back to campus to be more inclusive for trans/gender variant students, faculty, and staff, alumni, and other community members
  • Personal education and training to raise awareness of trans issues
  • Safe space to asks questions, check assumptions, and learn about this invisible population
  • Participants can be added to a growing Trans Advocacy listserv for on-going support as issues arise on campus

Download Facing Trans packet (PDF)


Programs: Full and Half Day Seminars

These programs can be tailored to your specific objectives and campus needs. Interactive workshops, debriefing discussions, individual reflection periods, humorous real life examples, action planning steps, and inspirational stories can be threaded together to create a personalized half day, full day, or combination of seminars incorporating large group work, break out sessions, reading materials, case studies, and actual next steps.

Facing Trans: Inclusion, Advocacy, and Empowerment
As we become comfortable with the Lesbian and Gay plight on our college campuses and in the workplace, we continue to overlook Bisexuals and silence Transgender populations. Trans folks are courageously coming forward and identifying as such more and more often. This day-long training is designed to help college human resource administrators strategically plan to provide a safe and supportive climate for all and to prepare participants to become better advocates for the trans community. Be a leader by identifying the needs, (including invisible populations), advocating effectively for trans people, and empowering all community members to take action.

Currently fewer than 100 colleges and universities and even fewer Fortune 500 companies protect transgender students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors in their non-discrimination policies, yet more and more people are coming forward with trans or gender variant identities that directly challenge existing policies, procedures, and services. This in-depth interactive training aims to:
  • Increase awareness of the existence of the trans/gender variant populations
  • Transfer this knowledge to proactively identify campus actions steps
  • Create more higher education administrator advocates for trans needs
  • Elevate home campus as a leader in serving trans populations

As a participant in this training, individuals will benefit from:

  • Professional Development and on-going education about diverse populations on campus
  • Hands on resources to take back to campus to be more inclusive for trans/gender variant students, faculty, and staff, alumni, and other community members
  • Personal education and training to raise awareness of trans issues
  • Safe space to asks questions, check assumptions, and learn about this invisible population
  • Participants can be added to a growing Trans Advocacy listserv for on-going support as issues arise on campus

The Five Footed Elephant

My RA training (half day or full day) is called The Five Footed Elephant. I bring twice as much stuff to do than we have time to do. This way I can shift between personal reflection, group dynamics, personal relationships with incoming residents.

I know that this sounds super fluffy and too organic to state exactly what I am going to be doing for RA training at 10:15 on a particular day — and I think it is important to be honest.

I generally start with an activity that levels the playing field in the room around judgments and assumptions and the difference between diversity and social justice. I think it is important to get everyone included in the conversations and not create target members within a group. For any kind of student leader or even professional training, some people get it, others think they get it, others know they don't, and yet others don't know what I am asking in the first place.

We build from here...

"Jess Pettitt facilitated an educational diversity and social justice training for about 120 student leaders at Cal Poly Pomona with a wide variety of experiences. Our students thoroughly enjoyed the amount of interaction that Jess had with them and variety of activities that were presented throughout the day. Jess was able to challenge our students that were at different points of their personal diversity and social justice development — which is a feat with 120 students! Jess is very transparent in her facilitation style, bringing humor and authenticity to her presentations, which allowed our students to feel comfortable throughout the day long training. Our students & staff thoroughly enjoyed having Jess Pettitt facilitate our student leader diversity and social justice training!!" – Piya Bose, Area Coordinator - University Housing Services, Cal Poly Pomona

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


Be The Change You Want To Be

Notice Notes Reflection Journals: I, II and III

Notice NotesOften, in my social justice trainings, I am asked by participants for help in keeping their "tools" sharp. Notice Notes Reflection Journals provide a space for weekly practice. Begin or continue on the path of self reflection to better understand how you show up in situations where power and privilege are at play. –Jessica

Personal Weekly Reflection Journals to help you keep your tracking skills finely tuned. Order your copies today. 10% of all proceeds from the purchase of these books goes to fund scholarships for the Social Justice Training Institute.

"Notice Notes was a huge success with UA Residence Life! The staff used them for two weeks to track bias, prejudice, and judgments in our work, in our own lives, and in our selves. The staff was excited to have a dedicated journal for tracking, rather than just me asking them to keep track in their heads. After the two week time-period, we came together and had some awesome discussion about what we'd noticed and its connection to social justice. Resident Assistant (RA) social justice training also included a discussion on tracking — I know some of our Community Directors plan to do on-going check in with their RAs about what they've been tracking, and use those conversations as a starting point for how we best build inclusive communities!" – Hannah Lozon, M.Ed., Coordinator of Social Justice Education, Residence Life, The University of Arizona

"I love your positive, non-scolding approach. I think what gets those of us who know a bit about your personal history is that you have every reason to be pissed off and angry, but you convey your message effectively without any of that.

You teach me so much in person and through this book. Notice Notes is a great way for us to help ourselves. I am grateful for how you are inclusive with your message. I was almost a gender studies minor in college, but the feminist jive was so angry at the time. I didn't find a professor who wasn't grinding an agenda. It is understandable because there is STILL plenty to be angry about.

You welcome us to take the opportunity to reflect and grow by noticing our judgments and their sources rather than deny that we judge. Cheers to that. And the beating of oneself up is something that stops so many of us from doing the hard work. Gandhi's lust, the image of some of mother Theresa's days (the snooze button was a hoot) and the work of MLK Jr. was a piece of progress in the fight against racism, yet he had prejudices of his own. We are all human and learning as we go. That is a great message that will keep us moving. You are going to change the world."
– Cindy Pierce


Would you like to receive a discount on your program?
Click here for more information!

 

Back to Top

 

facebook  twitter

©2014 Kirkland Productions, Inc.
Phone: 866-769-9037

Concert Mgmt & Production Novelties Variety & Special Events Comedy Issues & Ideas Performing Arts Product Packages Download our catalog Special Deals Contact Us Kirkland Productions