“Embracing Our Diversity: Coming Together Against Bias,” a virtual community dialogue moderated by Nancy Kranich of Rutgers University will take place from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 29.

The public is invited to view the program and submit questions and comments via Facebook Live on the East Brunswick Public Library’s Facebook page, or view it on the library’s website, ebpl.org. Closed captioning will be sponsored by the Friends of the East Brunswick Public Library.

Co-sponsored by East Brunswick Hadassah, EBPL and the East Brunswick Human Relations Council, the program aims to initiate a dialogue among the township’s diverse communities and generate ideas for embracing diversity, building bridges and combating bias.

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Panelists include East Brunswick residents Neven Abdo, the Rev. Khristi Lauren Adams, Neha Avadhani, Susanna Chiu, Kamlu Gulrajani, Dan Rozett and Erum Shakir.  Mayor Brad Cohen will deliver a welcome.

Kranich is a lecturer at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information where she teaches community engagement and other courses.  She also serves as Special Projects Librarian for the Rutgers University Libraries and served as American Library Association president 2000 to 2001. She trained as a public innovator with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation and as a convener and moderator for deliberative public forums, and serves on the board of the National Issues Forums Institute, as a Library Ambassador for the Harwood Institute, and as co-leader of the US-Russia Dialogue on the Civic Role of Libraries in the 21st Century. 

With 650 members, East Brunswick Hadassah focuses on connecting and empowering Jewish women to effect change. The organization works to advance health and well-being, advocate for women, and build community in the United States, Israel, and around the world. The local chapter connects with the local and wider community through educational and social programs, community service and fundraising events.

The East Brunswick Human Relations Council promotes communication, respect, and understanding among the diverse members of the broader East Brunswick community. The Council’s activities include civic programs to celebrate diversity, educational and social programs to encourage communication and understanding, and programs to address the causes, impact, and prevention of bias-related incidents.

The East Brunswick Public Library’s mission is to provide free, open and equitable access to information, and to serve all members of our vibrant and diverse community with respect and dignity. As meaningful conversations about racism and injustice are happening all across the country, EBPL commits to supporting and facilitating these conversations, and to providing the tools and resources to help further this important dialogue.

About the panelists:

Neven Abdo emigrated from Egypt with her family as a child in 2005. She graduated from East Brunswick Schools, holds a degree in cell biology and neuroscience from Rutgers and currently is a graduate student at the Rutgers School of Public Health. She is a member of St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church and was a candidate for Board of Education two years ago.

Rev. Khristi Lauren Adams moved to East Brunswick with her family when she was eight years old. She has pursued a multi-faceted career as a speaker, author, youth advocate and ordained Baptist minister. She is the author of the 2020 book,”Parable of the Brown Girl.” She currently is the Firestone Endowment Chaplain and an instructor of Religious Studies and Philosophy at The Hill School in Pottstown, PA.

Neha Avadhani is a graduate of East Brunswick High School, where she was active in the LGBTQ+ community community’s Genders and Sexualities Partnership. She is currently a student at Rutgers, where she is studying business and political science.

Susanna Chiu has been a resident of East Brunswick since 1995. She is a member of the East Brunswick Board of Education and is the board’s representative on the Human Relations Council. She has also served on the boards of Literacy Volunteers, Mid-Jersey Chinese School and Chinese American Cultural Association.

Kamlu Gulrajani moved to East Brunswick in 1984 and today serves as a director of Agraj Seva Kendra, which supports and encourages members of the South Asian community to assimilate in New Jersey. She is a volunteer on the East Brunswick Water Committee and with the Elijah’s Promise soup kitchen in New Brunswick.

Dan Rozett is the Jewish Federation’s manager of Community and Israel Engagement. He is a native of Middlesex County and a graduate of local Jewish day schools. After living in Israel for 20 years, he returned to the U.S. in 2015 and now lives in East Brunswick. He chose Jewish communal work to serve the Jewish community, share his love for Israel and connect as many people in the heart of N.J. to Jewish causes and the Jewish homeland.

Erum Shakir is a wife and mother of three and longtime resident of East Brunswick. She is an alumna of East Brunswick High School, a philanthropist, member of the East Brunswick chapter of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom and chair of the Human Relation Council. She works in finance as a program manager and is part of numerous charitable organizations, including Islamic Relief, Muslims Against Hunger, Building Blocks of NJ and Helping Hands that help all in need regardless of race, religion or gender.

For more information, go to the library’s website at ebpl.org.