Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice
Supporting students in their identities and communities is essential to ensuring their academic success no matter what. But our undergraduate students returned to the College of Liberal Arts this academic year after a particularly difficult summer of isolation, trauma, and uncertainty.
So our programming for Fall 2020 is specifically designed to help our students process, heal, and produce in the wake of turmoil and in the midst of change. This engagement takes shape within two lecture series symposiums, as well as several cultural celebrations.
On Monday, May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an African-American man, had the last nine minutes of his life recorded and rebroadcast for the world to see. His murder while in the custody of the police became the spark that reignited a litany of issues between law enforcement and the Black community. The tragedy sparked peaceful protest and calls for change and police reform, as well as touched off acts of civil unrest and disobedience in almost every state in the union and cities around the globe. However, throughout all of the events which occurred after Mr. Floyd had his life taken away, colleges and universities across our nation were challenged to examine how racism, white supremacy, and privilege may be negatively impacting the Black student experience and greater diversity and inclusion efforts on their individual campuses.
The George Floyd Symposium is a series of multimedia workshops specifically created to help institutions of higher learning proactively prepare their campus communities for a new paradigm post the death of George Floyd. The dynamic and engaging series provides holistic training to the campus community to help us understand that a change is taking place in the nation that is impacting the types of service we provide, the manner in which we provide them, and people we provide those services to. This symposium is designed to help us develop a plan to navigate the waters of change instead of being swept up by them.
The World Trust Symposium aims to ignite courage and expand capacity to create a world free from racism. Its facilitators use film, dialogue, and the arts to advance whole body learning and radical imagination to help heal and transform people, communities, and institutions from racism and separation.
Events, Discussions, and Celebrations
For CLA students, facilitated by Bryant Smith
This session is for students who want to organize to identify, create, and promote Black experiences in the campus community. This engaging symposium will ask students to critically think and answer the question, “What are the Black student experiences that are unique to our campus that help to recruit, retain, develop and define Black alums?” This outcome-based session asks participants to design practices, policies, programs, services, and experiences that are attractive to potential Black students; are supportive of Black identities, histories, and scholarship; promote Black student personal, professional, and academic growth and development; and foster a sense of pride, ownership, inclusion, and belonging that are complementary to the general student experience.
Monday, Sept. 21
For CLA students, facilitated by Dr. Shakti Butler
This learning lab is an invitation for people to understand what is required to actually build a culture that reverberates with goodness, joy, and the inclusivity of belonging. It will focus on understanding systems, how the collective body responds to generational trauma, and what that means, so that we can imagine and build a future that is healthier, more connected, and sustainable. Participants are encouraged to let their imaginations fly to really consider what a university, or department, or any organization could be like at its best.
Wednesday, Sept. 23
For CLA faculty and instructors, facilitated by Bryant Smith and Lasana Hotep
Creating equitable experiences for all members of the campus community needs to be grounded in humanizing pedagogies that allow for the institution to provide each student with transformative learning experiences. The goal of this session is to help instructors at all levels learn how to be transformative educators who understand their role in eliminating equity gaps within their classrooms and the greater campus community as a whole.
Wednesday, Sept. 30
For CLA students, facilitated by Dr. Becky Martinez
As we recognize and honor our heritage, there is a beautiful complexity of identity as Latinx people that’s both refreshing and challenging to discuss and navigate. Come ready to engage concepts of social justice and change related to who and where we are, and who and where we want to be as a Latinx community. This workshop will provide space for learning, connection, curiosity and support as Latinx people and an opportunity to just “be” as a community.
Wednesday, Oct. 7
For CLA students, facilitated by Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington
For the last 22 years, National Coming Out Day has been an opportunity to focus on the importance of visibility, pride, and community for LGBTQAI+ folks and allies. Some might say that given recent Supreme Court decisions and the growing representation of LGBTQAI+ lives and experiences in the media, there is no longer a need. While we have come a long way over the last 22 years, there is still work to do. In the context COVID-19 and the pandemic of systemic racism, let’s not only celebrate our victories but also consider our work for the next round.
Monday, Oct. 12
For CLA students
This weeklong celebration co-hosted with our campus partners includes Indigenous People’s Day on Monday, Arts & Film Day on Tuesday, Global Perspectives Day on Wednesday, Social Justice Day on Thursday, and Connection & Comedy Day on Friday.
October 12 – 16
For CLA students, facilitated by Bryant Smith
This session focuses on ways the next generation of BIPOC social justice activists can manage their social justice interest through value-centered servant leadership that engages in a holistic approach to examining issues, managing resources, and guiding organizations through times of crisis and tranquility.
Tuesday, Oct. 13
For CLA students, facilitated by Ericka Huggins
From February 2020 to the present, humanity has been suffering from the cumulative stress and physical tension caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, many in the US, especially people of color, have continued to be traumatized by the murders of black men and women due to police violence. This session will explore and assess the impact of systemic racism and ways to practice self-care, day to day, to restore balance and resiliency. Utilizing our collective imagination, we will envision a plan for the future of the University of Minnesota that holds justice at the core through the active engagement of students, faculty, staff, and advisors to create a positive shift in university culture.
Thursday, Oct. 15
For U of M student, faculty, and staff veteran community
Jabra Kawas, associate director in One Stop & University Veterans Services, will facilitate this event connected to the U of M Veterans Identity Campaign. The campaign showcases the wide array of interests and identities by asking you, our U of M student, faculty, and staff veteran community, to share your social and personal identities beyond your veteran status. Social identity is a person's sense of who they are based on their group affiliation(s) that are an important source of pride and self-esteem. Personal identity is the concept you develop about yourself that evolves over the course of your life. This may include aspects of your life that you have no control over, such as where you grew up or the color of your skin, as well as choices made in life, such as how you spend your time and what you believe.
Monday, Nov. 9
About Our Programming
The liberal arts educational experience in CLA develops 10 Core Career Competencies that contribute to lasting growth and success for our students. Our programming around diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice spans several of the competencies, and in particular "Engaging Diversity."
Engaging diversity is a process of cultivating awareness of one’s own identity and cultural background and that of others through an exploration of domains of diversity, which may include race, ethnicity, country of origin, sexual orientation, ability, class, gender, age, spirituality, etc. This requires an understanding of historical and social contexts and a willingness to confront perspectives of dominant cultural narratives and ideologies, locally, nationally, or globally.
Those who are competent in engaging diversity:
- Understand how culture affects perceptions, attitudes, values, and behaviors.
- Recognize how social structures and systems create and perpetuate inequities, resulting in social and economic marginalization and limited opportunities.
- Commit to the fundamental principles of freedom of thought and expression, equality, respect for others, diversity, and social justice; and to participate in society as conscious global citizens.
- Are able to navigate an increasingly complex and diverse world by appreciating and adopting multiple cultural perspectives or worldviews.