Icons of an ear (listen), a brain (learn), and a fist (act).

Combating Racism:
Listen. Learn. Act.
December 2020

The killing of Black men and women; the history of racism in our country, state, and university; the unkept promises and continued impact of systemic racism; and the current iteration of Black Lives Matter and its awareness by the general public have given rise to new fights and demands in an ages-long struggle.

Sharing the theme “Listen. Learn. Act.” introduced by the UO’s Common Reading Program for the year, the resources here provide opportunities for you to participate, contribute and move toward change. They also highlight and elevate work to help create greater understanding of the full heritage of African Americans and BIPoC communities who endure racial injustice and continue with courage, contributions and creativity. We will continue adding resources and highlighting work throughout the academic year as we know this is a journey our community and society as a whole must continuously walk.


Kimberly Johnson portrait with the cover of her book "This is My America"

Common Reading: This Is My America

In response to the Black Lives Matter call to action and requests from campus colleagues, the UO Common Reading Program is dedicating this year to Blackness, the Black experience, and dismantling racism under the theme “Listen. Learn. Act.” The winter term focuses on “Learning” through This Is My America, the acclaimed young adult novel by the UO’s own Kim Johnson. Seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont is in a race against time to seek justice for her father, wrongly accused and sentenced to death row, while her brother, a promising track star, is unjustly accused of killing a young white woman. Johnson‘s debut novel explores racial injustice against innocent Black men who are criminally sentenced and the impact on the families left behind.

Explore Kim Johnson’s America  

“An incredible and searing examination of the often-tragic collision of racism and a flawed criminal justice system.”
Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of “Dear Martin”

Ear icon (listen)


Sven Haakanson

Create Contemporary Meaning for Indigenous Cultures

Check out this talk by MacArthur Fellow Sven Haakanson, who is reviving and giving contemporary meaning to indigenous languages, customs, and culture of the Kodiak region. A native Alutiiq trained with a PhD in anthropology, he is straddling worlds in an effort to preserve and give contemporary meaning to Native history and local legends, rituals, and customs. He spoke to UO audiences November 24, 2020 in a presentation by the UO “BE” series.

BE Engaged  

“Language and cultural revitalization are two of the most important initiatives taking place in Native communities today. Sven Haakanson‘s work in his own Alutiiq community is a model and an inspiration for the impact such work can have on Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and institutions alike. As he put it, it’s past time to ‘stop talking about us as primitive individuals and start talking about us as thriving communities.’”
Kirby Brown, associate professor of Native American literatures, Department of English

Brain icon (learn)


Robin Morris Collin

How to Heal Climate Injustice

How can centuries of environmental exploitation and social injustice in the US be unraveled? Robin Morris Collin, the Norma Paulus Professor of Law at Willamette University College of Law, shared her passion for creating solutions to remedy environmental injustice in the 2020-21 Colin Ruagh O’Fallon Memorial lecture, “The Geography of Injustice and the Ecology of Reparations,” on Tuesday, December 8.

Climate Justice is the theme for the 2020-2021 Oregon Humanities Center lecture series. Find out about other lectures in the Climate Justice series.

Watch the Lecture   Collin on UO Today

“Our economy, which relies on patterns of extraction, consumption, and pollution, has deeply harmed the earth and its people. Poor communities, especially communities of color, are disproportionately impacted by pollution, waste disposal, hazardous sites, resource depletion, and disasters in the natural and built environment.”
Robin Morris Collin

Icon of a fist (act)


A student in cap and gown at commencement

Creating a Path of Opportunity

Latinx Education After Public School, also known as LEAPS, works with Latinx students beginning in middle school to provide meaningful information about the paths available to them after graduating from high school. Between eighth and ninth grade and then between ninth and 10th grade, students and their families attend a summer academy with college counselors to open discussions about college and career trajectories for students.

Take the LEAP

“The goal is to introduce prospective first-generation college students to a university campus and to familiarize them with how it feels and where things are.”
Heather McLure, director of the UO’s Center for Equity and Promotion