Daemen and National Federation for Just Communities Debut “Diggin’ into Diversity” Video

By | October 12, 2021

Daemen student Emilee Kassay and Willie star in the short film

This week, the National Federation for Just Communities of WNY (NFJCWNY) and Daemen College will premier “Diggin’ into Diversity,” a video for young people that discusses stereotypes and focuses on opening minds to acceptance and inclusion.

Debuting to more than 400 area high school and middle school students at the 12th annual Champions for Change Youth Leadership conference, the sitcom-style short film features the college’s mascot, Willie the Wildcat, helping his friends learn how to be more thoughtful about assumptions and mindful about what makes each person unique.

“The power of creativity can help us understand important topics and open our minds in new ways,” Rene Petties-Jones, president of the National Federation for Just Communities of WNY. 

Director Dave Seifert, Tiffany Hamilton, and Willie behind the scenes

“Many, many young people will learn about acceptance, inclusion and the beauty of diversity with the help of Willie the Wildcat—and have fun along the way,” Petties-Jones added. 

In the months ahead, “Diggin’ into Diversity” will used in youth programming in schools throughout Western New York. The video will be made available to the general public at a later date. 

“We’re proud to play a part in helping educators and our community nurture a culture of character,” said Emily Burns Perryman, vice president of Institutional Advancement at Daemen. “It’s also a great tool for raising awareness and visibility of the college.”

Still from “Diggin’ into Diversity”

Starring alongside Willie are Daemen student Emilee Kassay, a sophomore studying illustration; Burns Perryman; and Tiffany Hamilton, of the college’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion, which also collaborated on the project.

The film was directed by Dave Seifert, marketing and digital media specialist at the college, who also co-wrote the script with Kara Oliver from the NFJCWNY and Cam Garrity, a graphic designer at the college and puppeteer of Willie.