Listen. Learn. Act.
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.
Around the world and at the UO women are creating and demanding change and affirming their intersectional identities, which include gender, race, class, sexuality, and more. In our UO Women’s History Month feature, you’ll see these perspectives in stories about undergrad Minh Nguyen, majoring in human physiology and neuroscience, minoring in global health and chemistry; Samantha Polanco, working toward her master of business administration and serving as VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the MBA Student Association; Dayna Chatman, assistant professor of media and intersectionality in the School of Journalism and Communication, and others. Read their stories today, and throughout the months to come, listen, learn, and act for all women’s equality.
In 2015, one of the Black Student Task Force’s demands was to “Commit to conducting seminars and workshops by bringing in a Black faculty member from a peer institution who specializes in Black history and contemporary Black issues.” In response, the African-American Workshop and Lecture series was created. In this, its fifth year, the series has brought to our virtual environment authors, lawyers, sociologists, historians, a former U.S. attorney general and other national and international experts, including Ruth Simmons, a prominent advocate of equal opportunity education for students of color and women. Recordings for many lectures and speaker interviews of the last five years are on the Equity and Inclusion website.
Women of color at the UO often are the only one of their kind in their academic units. The Women of Color Project, part of the Center for the Study of Women in Society, is a research, mentoring, and support network for UO women of color faculty. The program provides grants, research and grant-writing workshops, fellowship opportunities, and sponsors events. It’s also an informal clearinghouse for archiving the particular structural and interpersonal challenges that women of color face in a predominantly white university. This spring they will present discussions of UO assistant professor Leilani Sabzalian’s book “Indigenous Children’s Survivance in Public Schools” and associate professor Tara Fickle’s “The Race Card: From Gaming Technologies to Model Minorities.”
African, Jazz, and Hip-hop dance are some of the essential offerings of the new Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance recently approved by the UO Board of Trustees. The new program is the only BFA degree nationwide to place equal emphasis on dances of the African diaspora and those of European roots. It’s also the first dance BFA in the state. One component is a performance ensemble that provides opportunities for living ethically: community service and outreach to inner-city youth in public schools, after school programs, and private studios across Oregon. This new program aims to attract more dance students and increase the diversity of dance faculty. It will be launched fall 2021.
Visit these resources—a small sampling of the many on campus—for ways to listen, learn, and act in the fight for social justice