By Damon Markiewicz

The Springfield College Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will host speaker, poet, and activist Monti Washington on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, at 7 p.m., in the Cleveland E. and Phyllis B. Dodge Room. The event will kick off Black History Month on the campus, and the event is free and open to the Springfield College community and the general public.

“The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is excited to have an electric speaker like Monti Washington,” said Springfield College Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Deja Ware ‘19. “We look forward to Monti bringing a relatable perspective utilizing social media, real-life experiences, and expertise on social justice.”

“Which Lives Matter” is an intense, inclusive, educational program, intended to build bridges, not walls. Washington helps students explore the history, conditioning, stereotypes, and racism that separates and divides our community and nation. He addresses the issues from a social media and social justice perspective with spoken word poetry, personal stories, and social media examples. “All Lives do Matter, but All Lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter.”

By the end of the lecture, students and staff of all races and ethnicities will be empowered with the knowledge and context to have “courageous conversations” on and off campus in a safe and constructive way.

“We believe that Monti will help our Springfield College community courageously combat racism,” added Ware. “This lecture sets the tone for our mission as an office and gives a look at our commitment in the fight to end racism.”

Currently an actor starring in Tyler Perry’s Bruh, Washington’s passion for helping students stems from the adversity he faced early on in life. Forced to live in poverty due to his mother’s drug addiction, he grew up sleeping on cardboard boxes, living in parks, and being abused by foster parent after foster parent.

Until 8th grade, Washington was in special education classes and was held back on two separate occasions. Despite this adversity, he went on to obtain two college degrees, become a state basketball champion, award-winning poet, McDonalds All-American nominee, nationally recognized actor, and co-founder of, a nonprofit organization aimed at inspiring youth to be “TRU The Real U.”