Campus Community / Society / Justice and Law

Office of Diversity & Inclusion Set to Host University’s First Racial Equity Summit

May 14, 2021

A graphic that reads A University Event Racial Equity Summit and features LIFT SU logo.

Image credit: The Office of Diversity & Inclusion

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This LIFT SU initiative will gather together the Seattle University community to reflect on and deepen our understanding of systemic racism and build a collective capacity toward becoming a more diverse, equitable and inclusive university.

In the spirit of collaborative and creative problem solving, we will come together for Seattle University’s first Racial Equity Summit on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, a mission-aligned event led by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) in partnership with the campus community.

Aligning with the goals of LIFT SU, the virtual event will feature voices of the campus community, music, art, engagement, analysis and a conversation with keynote speaker Michelle Alexander, The New York Times best-selling author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

“The perpetuation of racial injustice, inequity and police brutality is not new, but a continuation of a historical trend rooted in white supremacy and racism,” says Vice President for Student Development Alvin Sturdivant, EdD.

“We bear witness to the widespread, shameful, and devastating impacts of institutionalized racism across our country, our state and even our own campus. The Racial Equity Summit is the start of what I hope will be an ongoing, sustainable community effort to advance racial equity, diversity and inclusion at Seattle University,” states Sturdivant.

“…Here we are, a year gone by with more tragic deaths and the aftermath of an election season that shows how deep racism goes in this country,” says Center for Faculty Development Associate Director and Associate Professor Holly Slay Ferraro, PhD. “… A racial equity summit, to me, is a time to learn, be in community, renew our energy, and find new colleagues for the work. We need a summit to help equip us for the struggle as an SU community.”

All Seattle U faculty, staff, students and alumni are invited to register and attend. The ODI has prepared a webpage featuring more information, including a list of Racial Equity Summit pre-work consisting of recommended resources for individuals to refer to in preparation of the summit’s content, which will proceed in three segments:

  • Segment 1 | 10 a.m.–12:10 p.m. | Affirmation and Allyship for Solidarity

  • Segment 2 | 12:20 p.m.–1:45 p.m. | Collective Learning and Engagement Keynote
  • Segment 3* | 2 p.m.—3:30 p.m. | Action: Activating for Change
    *Kicks off with university leadership panel, 2 p.m.–2:45 p.m.

“Dismantling systemic racism is a long-term endeavor,” says Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Natasha Martin, JD. “It will take us exercising muscles of discipline and determination to translate our good intentions into focused and strategic action to usher in change for broad scale impact.”

Academic Assembly President Frank Shih, PhD, echoes the necessity of a collective effort to effect change. “Our students out there need this NOW. A community coming together. Minds. Hearts. Growth. Together. The summit initiative is wholly embraced and supported by the Academic Assembly as there’s no better time than yesterday and no initiatives too small to pour water on the fire that is burning all around us.”

Visit this link to register for the Racial Equity Summit.

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