A Message from your Office of Equity & Inclusion
As the Office of Equity and Inclusion we witness and acknowledge the pain, anguish, suffering and grief present in our nation and community, particularly within the Black community. We mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many other Black lives taken by police. Black people in this country have never been free of fear for their lives from state-sanctioned violence, nor from violence at the hands of private citizens: Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Nina Pop are only a few of the most recent lives taken, and Trayvon Martin was by no means the first. We write to both lift and echo the words of leaders of color, as well as to offer a call to action and tangible resources to begin our shared journey.
There are faculty, staff, students, and alumni of color within the LC community who are intimately aware of the urgency with which we are called to engage in racial justice work. For them, and particularly our Black community members, there is no option to disengage with reality and no privilege to take a break from matters of life and death. To those folks whose everyday experiences are inextricably tied to racial justice, we see you, we are with you, and we will not be silent. We also recognize that within this office, in this historically white institution, in this historically white city, in a state that was designed with exclusionary intent, the work to live up to racial justice values never ends. We will keep working, keep making changes, and keep lifting the calls for sustainable institutional change.
There is no neutrality in the face of state-sanctioned violence. If the images, actions, and words on the news and social media make you - especially White community members - look away or disconnect, we hear you. They are triggering. Yet our triggered discomfort with these images, actions, and words can never compare to the very real threat of violence and death Black people in this country have faced for centuries. Remember: discomfort is not the same as oppression. Discomfort is not the same as truly being unsafe. We realize many emotions and feelings arise when engaging with this content and work, but it is on us to figure out what we need to manage those emotions while staying in community and solidarity to create an anti-racist world.
The time for action is long past and cannot be delayed any longer. If you hold racial privilege we hope you commit to doing this work, starting now and consistently showing up. Racial justice work can be done in many different ways and there is a path for all of us. The only unacceptable path is not taking one at all.
A Place to Start - Ongoing Resource List: Our office, in conjunction with other community members, has started compiling a list of resources which includes self care resources for black people, ways to diversify your curriculum, things to read, listen to and engage with to start and continue your anti-racist work. You can access the list by CLICKING HERE. This list also includes other resource lists including from Lewis and Clark’s Ethnic Studies Department and Graduate School of Education and Counseling. This list is not exhaustive by any means and a starting point. If you have resources to add, we would greatly appreciate it if you would share them with us by emailing <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Educational Events: As an office we regularly offer workshops. We are adding a continual Thursday Anti-Racist Workshop starting June 18th for staff and faculty to continually engage with this work. You can find more information and register HERE. If the listed time does not work for you please reach out to us and we can organize additional times as well if there is interest.
Office Hours: Each member of OEI will be offering office hours. If you have feedback, would like to discuss more action steps for anti-racist work, or are in need a supportive ear we are here for you. You can find our office hours and how to book HERE. If no times listed work for you please reach out to us directly and we will be sure to find a time.
Engagement Sessions: Over the course of the summer and into the fall, we will be hosting sessions to address the needs of our Lewis & Clark community. More information will be disseminated once dates and times are set.
The information we gather from this feedback, in conjunction with our Strategic Plan, will be used to develop actionable, concrete steps towards improving our campus culture. We know we have a challenging road ahead and the change we want to see will require a concerted effort from all of us. We thank you for your time, effort, stamina and dedication as we work to create an LC community where everyone is seen, heard, appreciated and valued.
The Office of Equity & Inclusion, Lewis & Clark College
Mark Figueroa, Dean of Equity & Inclusion and Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research and Planning
Casey Bieberich, Associate Dean of Equity & Inclusion and Title IX Coordinator
Tori Leder, Assistant Director and Executive Assistant of Equity and Inclusion