As an office committed to meaningful engagement with the community and active participation in democratic and civic life, the Center for Civic Engagement staff have spent time listening and reflecting on where we have fallen short in addressing systemic racism, both within our campus and in the larger community, and how we can make anti-racism actions more central to our work.
While the CCE’s mission clearly intersects with the struggle for racial and social justice, we recognize the work we have to do in centering and prioritizing anti-racism measures in our wide-ranging programs and services. This will be a key priority moving forward. As such, we have committed to some initial action steps:
- Promoting conversations and dialogue within and beyond the CCE about how racism and other forms of systematic oppression and structural inequalities affect members of our campus and community and our collective relationships
- Reviving our Passion to Action workshop series and providing information, tools and
education to support students in making their voices heard and enacting change through a variety of civic pathways
- Closing the voting gap between white students and students of color by removing barriers to registering and turning out to vote
- Incorporating anti-racism pedagogy, dialogue and actions into community-engaged experiences, including working with community partners to address negative experiences of students of color in predominantly white community settings and preparing students to integrate a critical social justice lens in their community work and daily lives
- Intentionally recruiting and engaging a more diverse staff
- Creating spaces for all students and staff to speak up when they encounter racist words or behaviors and remaining open to feedback and continued learning
- Creating space and accountability for ongoing individual and collective learning, reflection and action as a professional responsibility
These are initial steps, and we recognize that much more work is needed. We will continue to prioritize and hold ourselves accountable to these and other efforts, and we want to make clear now to the students, faculty, staff and community partners we serve, that Black Lives Matter.