Culture Jam

About Culture Jam

Culture Jam is an annual student-led and produced conference focused on diversity. It is designed to empower students to have courageous conversations alongside their peers. Culture Jam offers a safe, inclusive space for high school students to discuss equity-related issues that are present in schools, the Pittsburgh region, and the global community.
Real, concrete change is necessary in order to improve our communities. But how can young people push past performative activism and make a genuine difference? Culture Jam gives high school students a unique opportunity to connect with one another and learn how to ignite the sparks of authentic change. 

Culture Jam is a student-led diversity conference centered on social justice issues and core cultural identifiers such as race, gender, religion, sexuality, socio-economic status, family structure, and more. Organized and helmed by The Ellis School’s Student Diversity League, Culture Jam 2022 will take place on January 14, 2022.

This year, the conference will feature keynote speaker Calvin Murphy, an advocate for family and community support with a background in education and youth services. He focuses on building networks for at-risk youth and their families as well as improving sustainable access to life skills, education, and violence interruption. 

This year the theme is Apathy to Action and it will focus on taking accountability for our roles in systems of oppression and moving past performative action. This requires deep self-reflection on what actions we can take that move beyond palatable action. "Apathy to Action" means being willing to step outside of the comfortable bubble we live in to take action that results in meaningful change. Culture Jam 2022 will give students an opportunity to hear from their peers and explore these ideas through thoughtfully planned activities.

2022 Culture Jam Schedule

Time Activity
8:00–8:10 a.m. Introduction + Land Acknowledgment
8:10–8:30 a.m. Step In Activity
8:30–9:30 a.m. Spectrum Activity
9:30–10:10 a.m. Snack and Affinity Groups
10:10–10:55 a.m. Workshop 1
10:55–11:40 a.m. Workshop 2
11:40 a.m.–12:25 p.m. Keynote Speaker: Calvin Murphy
12:30–1:10 p.m. Affinity Groups
1:10–1:50 p.m. Lunch
1:50–2:55 p.m. Privilege Walk
2:55–3:00 p.m. Closing Remarks

About Our Guest Speaker

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  • Calvin Murphy

    Calvin Murphy, Family and Community Support Advocate, has an extensive history of community service and advocacy. His background in education and youth services solidified his commitment to building networks for at-risk youth and their families, as well as improving sustainable access to life skills, education, and violence interruption. Mr. Murphy unifies the dichotomy of victim/offender services’ overlap, recognizing that trauma caused by violence increases the likelihood for both victimization and future perpetration. By intervening with referred responsible youth through a trauma-informed lens, Mr. Murphy seeks to break the intergenerational cycle of violence with children in high poverty areas.

About the Student Diversity League

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  • About the Student Diversity League

    The goal of the Student Diversity League at The Ellis School is to provide opportunities for students to learn, dialogue, connect with each other, and take action about issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion both within the Ellis community and the larger world outside Ellis.
  • Student Diversity League Mission

    Members of the Student Diversity League (SDL) are committed to raising awareness about current diversity-related topics in an effort to emphasize the value and beauty of diversity. They encourage open and honest discussion where disagreement is allowed but acceptance is the final destination.

Questions? Please Contact:

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  • Photo of Denise LaRosa

    Dr. Denise LaRosa 

    Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
    • Culture Jam: Apathy to Action


      Designed by Moira Connell, Class of 2022

Culture Jam Attendee Pledge

To help make Culture Jam a safe and productive experience for everyone here, I pledge to:
  1. Listen, and keep an open mind to learning from someone new.
  2. Speak, and help educate others about my personal experiences with diversity and judgment.
  3. Care, by being sensitive, respectful, and understanding of others.
  4. Try, by being courageous and patient, and engaging with difficult topics maturely.
  5. Act, by finding a way, great or small, to work against the culture of judgment in my school and community.