2013 Diversity Winner

2013 Winner

Liesel Reinhart, Mt. San Antonio College

Ms. Reinhart has dedicated her life and education to giving underrepresented students a voice. Eric Kaljumägi, Mt. SAC Academic Senate President, says that while there are many on their campus who are committed to diversity, it is Reinhart's contributions that make the greatest impact for any disadvantaged group on the Mt. SAC's campus. "Rather than specializing in work for a single student population, Reinhart's career reflects a consistent series of high-impact projects and programs that enhance the experience of African-American, Asian-American, Latino, LGBT, and deaf students while making the campus climate more open for all individuals." Jeffrey Archibald, Professor of Communications and Director of Forensics, has documented the impact of her efforts on the success of the college's Latino students and notes that "She's not just teaching students how to be good speakers, she's helping them become successful students and citizens." 

Reinhart helped create the Black History Month Speech Contest, now in its fifth year. This contest provides a forum for hundreds of students, campus leaders, and community members to learn about and celebrate African-American history in a public forum. This year close to 200 students researched, wrote and spoke about significant leaders, events, and movements in African-American history.

As a writer and director of theater projects, Reinhart routinely collaborates with Mt. SAC students on original plays based on their real live experiences. Her best known collaboration, N*IGGER WETB*CK CH*NK (N*W*C), is based on the lives of three men of color, and past Mt. SAC students, whose shared experiences with racial stereotype inspired a performance piece that blends theater, stand-up comedy, poetry and hip-hop. This play has toured the nation for six years and been performed in over 40 states reaching 100,000+ people. Rafael Augustin Guerrero, the past Mt. SAC student who wrote the original award winning speech, credits Reinhart with coaching him "into being a great public speaker, mentored (him) into being a good writer and empowered (him) to come out of the undocumented closet." 

Because Reinhart's actions represent her deeply personal commitment to diversity, Mt. SAC students feel comfortable and safe in confiding in her. Whether they are homeless, struggling with their religion, sexual orientation or residency status, students know Reinhart will listen and guide without lecturing because she puts their well-being above everything else.