The Anti-Racism Collaborative (ARC) intends to inspire and normalize conversations that deconstruct how racism operates in our organization, our community, and our society.
These conversations will critically examine how racism operates within the functional aspects of the College (such as curriculum and teaching, admissions and recruitment, policy and practices). As important, the ARC structures invites all in the College of Education community to think and act together boldly and creatively to implement practices that are intentionally anti-racist.
We are aware that racist practices limit the potential of our organization contributing positively to society. The College of Education wants to create an environment where we together interrogate racism and its limitations.
The following assumptions will guide our practice:
Racism is an enduring problem. It has a role in shaping all of our processes, practices, and policies. Our aim is to intentionally identify, deconstruct, and intentionally practice.
There is no finish line. Our aim is not to create a proposal that will end racism, but a process so that we can have productive dialogue regarding the ways our policies are supporting racism
We will not magically create a proposal that once created and/or enacted—then racism will end.
We will make missteps. Our aim is to view these missteps as developmental. This will require accountability, acknowledgement, open dialogue, and the opportunity to try again when missteps are made.
All College of Education faculty, staff, students, alumni, and local community partners are invited to participate in the ARC conversations through an email invitation. The ARC structures community conversations and actions for doing the work of anti-racism. It involves opportunities for intentional conversations about how to improve the functions of the college. The collaborative creates opportunities for small group, large group, and college-wide intentional dialogues about how to take action to change racist practices in various aspects of our work in the College of Education. By shifting our focus to be more attentive and fully engaged in process – in being with the work of anti-racism – we intend to move away from the completion of a demonstrated outcome, an item on a checklist, to a more coherent and intentional disruption of the systems and patterns of action that undeniably allow racist practices to exist and to function. In this process-oriented approach, we begin an ongoing dialogue that creates a culture that examines racism within the organization and moves us toward systems change.
The ARC Structure
The Steering Committee hosts and coordinates monthly ARC Open Forums, Skill Building Sessions, Being Circles, and the Collegiate Leader Group meetings. These broader conversation intends to inspire and provide opportunities to practice ways engage in relevant conversations for all members of the college about anti-racist policy and practices. This practice of inspiring these conversations is a core aspect of the collaborative. It is through conversations college-wide (organic, organized and spontaneous) and at the functional level that anti-racist practices are implemented and the organization transformed.
ARC Open Forums
During the ARC Open Forums, the college community discusses issues, concerns, and challenges to anti-racism work in the college, as well as gives voice to hope and accomplishments.
ARC Skill Building Session
These sessions are monthly community discussion that focus on skill development around anti-racism with invited speaker.
ARC Collegiate Leader Group
The ARC Collegiate Leader Group provides a structure for the College’s existing departments, centers, and committees to gather and to strategize on how to incorporate anti-racist strategies into day-to-day practices. The work of the ARC happens through centers, collegiate standing committees, departments, student organizations, and administration. The ARC Collegiate Leader Group includes a representative from each unit. Members of this group communicate strategies being implemented in their units, share resources, and discuss success and barriers to implementation of anti-racist practices in the College of Education. The ARC Collegiate Leader Group representatives will lead relevant conversations with their constituents, seeking input, and devising strategy that will increase the capacity of the college to practice as an anti-racist organization.
Being Circles provide a space for individuals within the organization for support to reflect on their role as well as their active participation in the College’s change effort. College of Education members are invited to join each other in Being Circles. Being Circles are small group cohorts that open up space and opportunities for reflection and exploration of personal attitudes and behaviors that sustain racism. After a positive experience in small cohort groups, participants find increased stamina to stay in difficult dialogues regarding anti-racism organizational change efforts. The next step after personal reflection is to reflect on the ways in which racism has been enacted in the institution. The process not only focuses on what people and organizations ‘do’ but also involves reflection and action on ‘how’ individuals and organizations maintain systems of exclusion and oppression
Each member of the College is invited to the conversations of ARC. The ARC provides multiple points of entry and invites varying perspectives. The ARC encourages each individual to locate their own sense of being in the work of anti-racism by exploring one’s identity, experiences, interactions, biases, and responsibilities within the context of the college and community. This approach enacts a“way of being” with the enduring problem of racism through sustained engagement and not just performative actions.
This process-oriented approach balances creating structures that invite ongoing community practices of self-examination, critical thinking, and deconstruction of policies and practices. It allows space for examination of structures, attitudes, and behaviors. It involves creating strategy to address the ways in which racism has been enacted in the organization. It also includes ways to thoughtfully and intentionally devise strategy that is both proactive and reactive. The process is not just focused on what we ”do” but also balances reflection and action on ”how” we are maintaining the systems of exclusion and oppression.
Whether you are new or consider yourself seasoned or expert in the work of anti-racism, we will be learning together. Seeing and undoing the problematic patterns of ”being” that perpetuate harmful systems of oppression that elevate whiteness and systems that dehumanize non-whiteness and particularly targets, Black and Brown ways of being is difficult and a necessary action. This ”undoing” is messy, uncomfortable, and difficult. But moving through those feelings is a necessary step in coming to terms with engrained ways of being in a racialized society and our habits at work that impede structural and systems change.
We welcome you to learn with us.