When Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) at the University of Utah launched the Friday Forums on Racism in Higher Education in September, the team had two questions in mind:
- How do we, as a community, make anti-racism an everyday action?
- How do we begin healing from our nation's legacy of anti-Black racism and systemic inequities that exist in higher education?
Over the summer, a cross-divisional campus team began exploring the second question at the AAC&U Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Institute. They returned to the first question in the very first Friday Forum which focused on confronting racism in the institutional hierarchies of higher education.
In October, the conversation addressed how organizations approach what is necessary for developing anti-racist policies and creating change in institutions of higher education. Before the winter break, in November, the Friday Forums series honed in on models for creating a racially just workplace and building more equitable and inclusive campuses.
More than 1,300 people from 12 states registered for the first three Friday Forums on Racism in Higher Education and about 780 registered to dive deeper into the work during a breakout session.
"We want to express our gratitude to those who have shared ideas and strategies," said Mary Ann Villarreal, vice president for EDI. "To all who have invested their time, we hope that you carry the work forward. The Friday Forums so far have offered us incredible ideas and models for how we can uproot racism in institutions of higher education and beyond, and we look forward to planting even more seeds of anti-racism to grow in the years to come."
The Friday Forums return on Jan. 29 with "A Call for Racial Healing." The conversation, moderated by University of Utah Chief Safety Officer, Marlon Lynch, will focus on the various practices and initiatives that foster racial healing in our communities, grapple with the tensions and harm of institutional practices and set a vision for eradicating racism.
- Said Ibrahim, senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion at Weill Cornell Medicine
- Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu Punihei Lipe, Native Hawaiian affairs program officer at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
- Tia McNair, project director for the Association of American Colleges and Universities
- Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College
After the general session (1 – 2 p.m.), attendees will have the opportunity to join a breakout session (2 – 3 p.m.) to discuss how to move forward.
Learn more and register here.