47th Forum On Tolerance
Virtual Event from April 18th-21st, 2022. Pre-registration is required.
Opportunity and Marginalization in the United States Military:
A Conversation about Empowerment and Disenfranchisement.
Beginning with the Selective Service Act of 1917 that brought 700,000 BIPOC men to the U.S. military (History, Art, and Archives), the armed services would grow to include women, LGBTQ+ folks, and other historically marginalized populations. What are some of the experiences of the brave citizens from marginalized groups serving in the military? What was is it like afterward? Was the experience empowering, disempowering, or something else?
This event is co-sponsored by North Shore Community College's Office of Academic Affairs, RAP Experience, and Sheldon and Fran Brown Forum on Tolerance Endowed Fund.
Shoshana Johnson, U.S.’s first African-American female POW.
“I’m Still Standing: The Story of Shoshana Johnson.”
Introduced by NSCC President, Dr. William Heineman.
1:00 pm–2:30 pm ET
Sgt. Allyson Hale, “Tale of two Armies: Through the eyes of a male soldier who used the military to hide his greatest fear, becoming her true self.” This is the personal story of a transwoman’s journey from male to female soldier through the Army National Guard.
This forum is presented in collaboration North Shore Community College.
Deb Bibeau is a retired U.S. Air Force veteran and civil servant at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA.
She enlisted in 1983 and then commissioned in 1991 after earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland. Deb retired as a Major in 2003 and then entered the higher education field in 2004 as a program manager for the TRIO Talent Search and Gateway to College/Pathways early college dual-enrollment programs at Mount Wachusett Community College. She returned to the Air Force as a civilian in 2014, where she oversees the acquisition of various systems as a program manager.
Bob Delaney’s life story has been told in his two books – Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob and Surviving the Shadows: A Journey of Hope into Post-Traumatic Stress – as well as on HBO Real Sports, ESPN, ABC Sports, CNN and numerous other TV, radio and press media outlets. His unique experiences will entertain and educate – from the landmark New Jersey State Police undercover operation infiltrating the Mafia to his days as an NBA referee running the courts to his insights into Leadership, Post-Traumatic Stress Management and Self Care. He is currently working on his next book, entitled, Heroes are Human - Lessons in Resilience, Courage and Wisdom from the COVID Front Lines.
His contributions to PTS awareness and support to military service members, and their families, have been recognized with honors and proclamations from many, including President Barack Obama and senior-ranking military leaders. Notably, in 2010, President Barack Obama conferred upon Delaney the President’s Volunteer Service Award for his ongoing PTS education and awareness work with the military. He was the 2014 recipient of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Mannie Jackson Human Spirit Award.
In 2017, he was recognized by the Tragedy Assistance Programs for Survivors (TAPS) with the National Community Partnership Award for his work with military Gold Star families. In 2011, in recognition of his assistance in the aftermath of the Fort Hood shootings and his work with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, he received The Meritorious Public Service Medal, formerly known as the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, from the U.S. Army. The citation is the third-highest public service award the Department of the Army can award to a private citizen.
Delaney was the 2020 recipient of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s highest honor—The Theodore Roosevelt Award, bestowed on four U.S. Presidents (Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Fold, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan) and other distinguished citizens. Delaney attended New Jersey City University, B.S. Criminal Justice and St. Marys College of California, M.A. Leadership. He is also a Harvard Global Mental Health Trauma Recovery alumnus.
Sgt. Allyson Hale currently works for the Massachusetts DOC, maximum security prison Souza Baranowski
Correctional Center (15+ years), and serves in the Army National Guard (20+ years
of service). She holds the rank of Sergeant First Class (E-7) and position of Assistant
Operation / HR NCO for Higher Headquarters Detachment (HHD) of the Joint Forces Headquarters
(JFHQ) at Hanscom Air Force Base. Sgt. Hale Deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovian (2000-01)
and on an extended tour in Iraq (2003-04). She has 30 years of formal Japanese Jujitsu
training and a BA in Sociology from Framingham State University.
First Black Female POW in US War History Shoshana Nyree Johnson was born in the Republic of Panama to Panamanian parents Claude and Eunice Johnson. Johnson lives in El Paso, Texas with her daughter Janelle, her sisters, Nikki and Erika, and two nieces. Johnson was a JROTC cadet in 1991, and an Andress High School graduate. She attended the University of Texas at El Paso, and later joined the US Army in September 1998. She completed the US Army Basic Training Course at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, and the Advance Individual Training, at Ft. Lee, Virginia.
A second-generation Army Veteran, Johnson's first military assignment was at Ft. Carson, Colorado. In February, 2003, at her second military assignment at Ft. Bliss, Texas, Johnson received orders to deploy to Iraq and to carry through her duties as a Food Service Specialist, (92G) with the 507th Maintenance Company, 5/52 Battalion 11th Brigade.On March 23, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Johnson was in a convoy that was ambushed in the city of an-Nasiriyah. Johnson received a bullet wound to her ankle, causing injuries to both legs. She and 5 other members of the 507th Maintenance Company were captured and taken Prisoners of War. The ambush and its aftermath made world newsheadlines.
House raids conducted by US Marines in the city of Samarra, Iraq, resulted in the successful rescue of seven POWs on the morning of April 13. Later, Johnson, together with six former POWs, came back to a heroes welcome in the US with a cheering crowd of over 3,000 people.
Specialist Johnson retired from the Army on an Honorable Discharge on December 12, 2003. Johnson's awards and decorations include the US Army Service Ribbon, Army Commendation Ribbon, National Defense Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, and the Prisoner of War Medal. US Army officials identified Johnson as the first female POW of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the first black female POW in US war history. Shoshana was awarded the Order of Manuel Amador Guerrero by her native country of Panama, it's the highest honor.
Since her return to the United States, Specialist Johnson has received numerous awards, and recognition for her courage, valor, and service to the United States. She graduated from El Paso Community College with an Associate of Arts degree in May 2008. She received her degree in culinary arts (pastry) in May 2011 at the same College.
Johnson has penned a memoir about her experience entitled I’m Still Standing: From Captured Soldier to Free Citizen-My Journey Home. The biography was nominated for a NAACP
Image Award and is a national bestseller. Johnson plans on pursuing nutrition degree in the near
future and when possible advocates for fellow veterans.
Sgt. Kimberly McGowan
- Rank: Sergeant
- Served in the Army National Guard for eight years,
- Deployed to Iraq December 2009-January 2011
- Served as Honor Guard for four years
- Participated in President Obama’s inauguration parade in Washington D.C
- Professional Firefighter
Lt. Col. Kate McLoud served in the military from February 1988 until August 2010 and retired as a Lt Col. Kate was a Comptroller in the Air Force. Prior to serving, Kate earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Vermont. While serving, Kate earned her Master's degree in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma. She was promoted five times, had 22 duty stations, deployments to Croatia and Afghanistan and received four awards and decorations. She is a lesbian and joined the military six years before Don’t Ask Don’t Tell went into effect and got out one year before it ended. Her experience in the military was largely positive. She grew as a person and a leader, was empowered by auditing people outside her command and learned from those she led; and they thought very highly of her.
NSCC Forums teach tolerance, embrace diversity and support a learning environment.
NSCC Forums on Tolerance initiate educational challenges to students and members of the community to learn more about one another, bring about empathy and understanding toward other people, and to make a difference in ourselves, our neighborhoods, and our world. Since 1996, NSCC Forums have explored social injustice and its effects on the modern world and our own communities through topics ranging from the Holocaust to immigration and civil rights.
Partially supported by the Forums on Tolerance Endowed Fund.