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

Combating Racism:
Listen. Learn. Act.
June 2021

From last spring’s protests following George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police to the continuing violent acts of hate against BIPoC communities, white Americans at the UO and across our country have had to face a renewed reckoning around issues of race. Against that backdrop, members of the UO family are working to help bring about the necessary change to become a more inclusive and antiracist community and institution.

So many in our community continue to move forward with courage, resilience, contributions, and creativity. Participating in events like this summer’s Juneteenth celebration and the Asian Celebration provides opportunities for all to listen, learn, and act.

To take a closer look at how these efforts continue, this page will shift in format over the summer to focus on a single, monthly deeper story, while still gathering events, articles, and resources from UO divisions and programs.

Concluding the current school year, we asked individuals across campus to reflect on ways they listened, learned, and acted, and what will continue to motivate and inspire them on the journey.

Faith Longnight

Faith Longnight

Class of 2022, double major chemistry and sociology

“This year, our chemistry research lab added a diversity, equity, and inclusion section to their weekly lab meetings. The DEI section provided a space for anyone to discuss campus happenings as well as any injustices they would see. It gave us room to talk about any civil rights issues in a science space where these conversations are rarely discussed. I hope moving forward we continue to integrate DEI conversations into academia and workplaces. Civil rights issues affect BIPoC people on a daily basis, and considering these issues inappropriate or off-topic from these spaces only continues to harm the individual.”

Faith Longnight was selected as the first recipient of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department’s Percy Julian Scholarship, which seeks to support talented undergraduate scientists in their pursuit of a career in chemistry and recognizes their contributions to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM.


Ryan Reed

Class of 2022, environmental studies

“Racism is hard to grasp or delineate. Over the course of this year, I think we’ve been able to get a better grip on it and understand just a little better. But we need to do better. Accountability, unity, and amplifying minority voices must be prioritized if we want real change.”

Ryan Reed is Karuk, Hupa, and Yurok, peoples of what is now Northern California. He's the current executive codirector for Youth Movement, which introduces Native American middle schoolers to campus. He served as a codirector for the Native American Student Union, and is still a member. He’s also heavily involved in his Native communities and with climate change issues.


Julie Heffernan

Julie Heffernan, PhD

UOTeach Graduate Director
College of Education

“Bringing together UO alumna Kimberly Johnson, current UO students from the UOTeach class of 2021, and UO’s partner mentor teachers from local elementary and secondary schools provided the entire community an opportunity to listen and learn. As Oregon continues efforts to expand the K-12 literature canon and incorporate ethnic studies standards, I was inspired to see these future teachers ready to become listeners and leaders in developing inclusive and antioppressive curriculum for the classroom.”

In February of 2021, 100 future Oregon teachers in the UOTeach program read and learned with UO Common Reading author Kimberly Johnson, BS ’01 (ethnic studies), who shared from her debut novel, This is My America. Each student’s mentor teacher was given a copy of the novel during national Teacher Appreciation Week.


Ruth Huang

Ruth Huang

Campus and Community Engagement program associate
Division of Equity and Inclusion

“As the cliché goes, the more I learn, the less I know. As I reflect on my own community and day-to-day routines and habits, I realize how little diversity there is in my immediate network of friends and colleagues and the media I consume daily. I am committed to making an active effort to seek out BIPoC voices, consume content created by and that features BIPoC folks, and critically consider where I receive news.”

As a CaCE Program Associate, Huang collaborates with campus colleagues and community partners to facilitate student success programs for underrepresented students and develops opportunities that enrich and build community.


Angel Escorcia-Nuñez

Angel Escorcia-Nuñez

Class of 2023, journalism

“The LatinX studies minor is great. It allows not just Latinx students to take classes that help shape their identity and help them learn about it, but also non-Latinx students have opportunities to take classes and maybe claim the minor. It will help expand our diversity and our understanding of the Latinx cultures.”

A first-generation college student who lived in Mexico, Nuñez is a board member of MECha UO. This year he was among the first students to take classes in the UO’s new Latinx studies minor.