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FRANK Talks Topic List

FRANK Talks by Topic

For full facilitator bios and instructions on how to schedule FRANK Talks, please navigate to the main page.


He/She/They: Why Pronouns Matter

There has been a lot of attention on pronouns in the news headlines recently—from state bills aimed at regulating pronouns in the classroom to social media platforms offering pronoun options. So, what is a pronoun? How are pronouns related to gender identity, such as cisgender, transgender, nonbinary? What are gender identities? Is there a difference between gender identity and gender expression? Bring your questions about pronouns, gender identity, and other terms, and join us for a discussion about the power of pronouns and why they matter.

Contact: Erick Tanchez |  Erick.tanchez.jr@mesacc.edu | 602-694-7754

Jocks and Nerds: Stereotypes in Our Everyday Lives

What we imagine a “jock” or a “nerd” to be is shaped by media representations and popular culture. What people experience in their everyday lives, however, often differs from these representations, yet stereotypes are powerful. Stereotypes often lead to biases, or behavior in favor or against a group of people. Sometimes it is a conscious bias. More often, it is an unconscious or implicit bias. Unintentionally, people make judgments about their co-workers, their neighbors, or the random people they interact with day-to-day. So, how do we recognize stereotypes? What can we do about them? Join us for a conversation about how stereotypes form and the effects they have on our community.

Contact: Derek Keith | derekjkeith@gmail.com | 406-396-4907

The Road to Inequity: Understanding the Wealth Gap

We often hear about the widening wealth gap in the United States. If we look back through history, federal policies and discriminatory practices, from redlining to the current gender wage gap, have contributed to lasting social and economic inequities. Who holds the wealth now? How was that wealth acquired? Can we move toward a more equitable system? Let’s take a closer look at the origins of the wealth gap and discuss the inequities that persist today.

Contact: Dr. Matthew Whitaker | mw@dstrategiesllc.com | 480-252-0639

Then and Now: What is White Nationalism? (virtual only)

White nationalism, or white supremacy, has been considered an ideology on the fringes of society. But media news coverage today shows us a more public movement of white nationalist groups and leaders–from the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville to the white supremacist livestreamer, Nick Fuentes. What are white nationalist groups? Are their conspiracy theories, such as the great replacement theory, new, or a repeat of long-held beliefs? How is white nationalism impacting our society? Is white nationalist ideology moving into mainstream society? Join us for a discussion about what white nationalism looks like today and what we can do in response.

Contact: RJ Shannon |  Rjshannon54@gmail.com | 602-228-0324

What Happens When Social Movements and Social Justice Collide? (virtual only)

Social movements for human rights are front and center in the public discourse. Social media platforms have created new spaces for social activism. People are galvanized by new state legislation and supreme court decisions. From Black Lives Matter to LGBTQ+ rights to the #MeToo movement, communities are organizing and marching. What are these social movements? How do these movements intersect? What happens when these movements for human rights have competing interests? Join us for a discussion about navigating colliding interests and working together for social justice.

Contact: RJ Shannon |  Rjshannon54@gmail.com | 602-228-0324


Education in the News: What’s Happening in Classrooms Today?

The debate over what happens in the classroom continues to escalate as politics creep into curriculum. What can be taught, what can be said, and what pronouns teachers can use are all in question. What are the new bills and school policies being introduced in Arizona? How is legislation in other states influencing the national conversation about education? How does the regulation of books, curriculum and speech in the classroom affect students and teachers? What we teach our children now will have lasting ramifications, so what effect will this have on our society long-term? Join us for a discussion about the current Arizona education legislation and school policies shaping our future.

Contact: Derek Keith | derekjkeith@gmail.com | 406-396-4907

Undocumented Americans: Who Get to Go to College?

Federal laws protect undocumented children and their families when accessing K-12 education, but what happens after graduation? Undocumented students face many hurdles as they transition into adulthood—from finding legal employment to obtaining a driver’s license to going to college. How do undocumented students access higher education? What role do state laws and regulations play in the question of education and legal status? Is there a right pathway to citizenship for students when they reach adulthood? Let’s talk about undocumented students, who has the right to higher education, and the complexities of immigration in America.

Contact: Erick Tanchez |  Erick.tanchez.jr@mesacc.edu | 602-694-7754


Where Do Landfills Go?: A History of Environmental Justice

Where do we dump our toxic waste? Where do we bury contaminated soil? Where do we put our industrial waste facilities? Hazardous sites are most frequently placed near Black and brown neighborhoods. Environmental pollution, whether dirty air or contaminated water, has disproportionately impacted communities of color for decades. Years of governmental support for housing discrimination through practices such as redlining created communities segregated along racial lines. Red-lined neighborhoods then became targets for environmental degradation. Zoning and city and state permits perpetuated environmental racism, whether intentional or not. Now the climate crisis is compounding the impact on communities of color–from extreme heat to increasing natural disasters (and unequal relief responses). Join us for a timely discussion on the history of environmental racism and the movement for environmental justice that began in the 1970s and continues to grow today.

Contact: Dr. Matthew Whitaker | mw@dstrategiesllc.com | 480-252-0639


A Free Press: Cornerstone of Democracy

The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects press freedom. Freedom of the press is important because it plays a vital role in informing citizens about public affairs and monitoring the actions of government. But what happens when public trust in the media is eroded by sensationalism, foreign influences or bots, fake news, and business monopolies? Who makes the news and what is newsworthy? Is non-partisan news coverage based on facts even still possible? What is the role of the media in keeping us informed today, and who is accountable when intentional misrepresentation occurs? Join us for a critical look at the impact of the media in a democratic society.

Contact: Gail Rhodes | glrhodes@asu.edu | 312-671-8141


Era of Artificial Intelligence: What Is Research, and How Is Knowledge Created?

In today’s digital world, anyone can publish their writing. Anyone can make a movie. The democratization of knowledge or content creation has given a voice to untold stories. But there is a flipside. Who, or what, gets to create knowledge? Can AI systems create knowledge? When Chat GPT writes a student’s paper, is that original research? What are the different systems and standards for creating knowledge? As consumers of knowledge, how can we know what is real and what is manipulated? What is original and what is derivative? Join us for a conversation about knowledge and authenticity in the era of AI.

Contact: Dr. Andrea Christelle | andrea@sedonaphilosophy.com  | 928-274-8737