On behalf of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion,
Heartfelt gratitude to all of those who contributed to making this Summit possible including every participant, panelist, and all those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes including Marquinta Obomanu, Amber Larkin, Victoria Carr-Ware, Morgan Frost, and Laura Knote, just to name a few! This was an ambitious endeavor, which came to fruition through the generosity of all of those who contributed and the nearly 1000 participants in this virtual summit.
Given this consequential year including the social movement for Black lives after the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd last May, alongside a pandemic that has had both disproportionate health and economic impacts on communities of color, a contentious election season, followed by a deadly insurrection on our nation’s capital, and the elevated racial violence that continues against various communities of color, it is important to end this academic year with an opportunity to reflect upon the issue of systemic racism as we move to activate our campus around becoming an anti-racist institution. As each passing news cycle seems to reveal, we remain in a racial crisis with an ongoing struggle for a healthy democratic and just society.
As an institution of higher learning, we must honestly confront the complex forces of structural racism, work to minimize their impact and root them out, and strengthen our institution for the good of all students.
Racial Equity Summit – a LIFT SU initiative – is an opportunity to gather as a learning community with focused attention to deepen understanding and build collaborative capacity to pursue antiracist education at SU. becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive university.
The summit offers a platform for collective experience to reflect and deepen understanding of systemic racism, as well as to elevate, connect, and activate around LIFT SU and commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion more broadly.
LIFT SU was announced in October 2020. The “LIFT Off” Stakeholder Convening was held in December 2020. The meeting was a cross-functional university gathering of faculty, staff, students, and representative governing bodies. It served as the beginning dialog toward coordinating an intentional process for operationalizing LIFT SU and engaging a university-wide conversation.
The summit will feature the opportunity for a campus-only (virtual) facilitated dialogue with Michelle Alexander, a prominent race scholar, and civil rights advocate, and the author of the 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – seminal work that catalyzed national engagement on structural inequality. The New Jim Crow offers numerous entry points for unpacking the structural forces of systemic racism. Our engagement with this acclaimed scholar and activist will allow us to learn and renew commitment and resolve toward action in operationalizing LIFT SU and DEI more broadly.
The vision is for a collective experience – a time to take in together the significance of this consequential year, reflect on what we are learning, and position us to operationalize LIFT SU through a systematic and strategic process.
It is meant to be more than a “moment,” but catalyze a movement to affirm, ally, and activate towards action.
The summit aims to be more than a “moment,” but a catalyst to affirm, ally, and activate towards action for anti-racist education at SU, and stronger inclusivity for students, faculty, and staff.
Broadly speaking, the goals are as follows:
No. Mission Day will not be held this year.
While not a substitute for the Mission Day program, the Racial Equity Summit offers a dedicated forum for the university to come together and focus attention on the very critical matters of systemic and structural racism, and the impacts of systemic and structural racism within our institution as we generate the path forward to make Seattle University a more welcoming, inclusive, and anti-racist university. These goals are consistent with our Jesuit mission and values.
We have a mission-aligned vision for the Racial Equity Summit in the spirit of the experience we shared with Michael Eric Dyson in 2019.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is working diligently to include representative campus voices in the planning.
Additionally, we will be working with some faculty members to provide materials for faculty to use in incorporating the topic of systemic racism into their teaching across disciplines, and to engage Michelle Alexander’s seminal work, The New Jim Crow. In this way, the summit builds on the common text materials offered to first-year students and offers practical skills and knowledge for upper-division, graduate, and professional students, as well as for our graduating students.
If you have ideas you wish to share, feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. They will provide helpful information that we can share with the campus community beyond the summit, even if we are unable to incorporate them into the program.
Watch the recording: https://vimeo.com/519293498