Black Male Initiative and Coming Out Week coordinators win Equity and Inclusion Champion Award


Mackenzie Airey

Coming Out Week and Black Male Initiative coordinators win the annual Equity and Inclusion Champion Award. Featured: Student and faculty marches in Annapolis’s first-ever Pride Parade in June 2019.

Dominic Salacki, Reporter

 The college has recognized the coordinators of AACC’s Black Male Initiative and Coming Out Week with its annual Equity and Inclusion Champion Award. 

Dr. Richard Otten has been an adjunct instructor of gender and sexuality studies and African-American studies since 2004. He helped coordinate the participation of Gay-Straight Alliance members in the first Annapolis Pride Parade last year. 

 Dr. Reginald Stroble, assistant director of AACC’s Student Achievement and Success Program, or SASP, has described himself as an “advocate for the powerless.” 

 Dr. Heather Rellihan, the academic chair for interdisciplinary studies, said Otten spends time outside of the classroom working with student clubs and “has demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity, both in terms of the material that he teaches and the way that he teaches it [and] also in terms of [student] activities.”  

For about five years, Otten has contributed to AACC’s faculty and staff Social Justice Collaborative, which aims to promote diversity on campus and integrate social justice issues into course content, instruction and campus culture.   

Stroble’s work focuses on helping students who are minorities, the first in their families to attend college, low-income or underprepared for higher education. The Black Male Summit, a half-day student workshop, is part of the college’s Black Male Initiative, which connects participants with scholarships, mentoring and opportunities. 

“Diversity focuses on bringing everyone to the table. Equity and inclusion focus on making sure that everyone has an equal seat at that same table,” Stroble said. “I encourage others to listen and if you are in a position of power, advocate for the powerless.” 

AACC’s Diversity Committee awards the three-year-old honor to nominees who consistently promote an inclusive campus community and demonstrate an ongoing commitment to diversity.