A Statement from the Taskforce to Dismantle Racism
At President Manion’s request, the Task Force on Dismantling Racism began meeting over the summer and is currently working to establish both initial steps and an ongoing process to eliminate racism in the Edgewood community. We recognize that some members of the Edgewood community have done much work on this issue in past years and we share the frustration of many that more has not been achieved. We envision our work this year as embodying a collective, non-hierarchical process that asks the larger Edgewood community to join us in taking on the daily challenge of both identifying racism at Edgewood and taking clear action to create an anti-racist environment that supports all in this beloved community.
We look to the Sinsinawa Dominicans’ corporate stance on racism, which states “we have embraced the vision of becoming antiracist … by intentionally dismantling our racist structures, practices, and procedures.” Holding that close, we as a Task Force establish ourselves as anti-racist, and commit to taking on both racism and white privilege within the Edgewood community. With thanks to our colleagues at Edgewood’s Oscar Rennebohm library, we center the words of Dr. Ibram Kendi who notes that “being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination”.
Our initial meetings began to name the serious issues facing our community. Like so many institutions, Edgewood is steeped in a culture based on racist assumptions that, intentionally or not, promote, strengthen and perpetuate white supremacy and racial injustices. This cuts into every corner of life in the college – including governance structure, student, faculty and staff recruitment and retention, curriculum, pedagogy and those crucial out of classroom experiences that make up our campus climate. We also recognize that understanding the relevance of the structures that inform the decision-making processes at the College is crucial. We have seen, for instance, how some of the recent drastic program cuts have had a serious impact on students of color and on curricular offerings aimed at creating a deeper understanding of race and diversity among all our students.
We acknowledge the historical legacy of exclusion and marginalization in higher education, and affirm our responsibility to continuously learn about and disrupt systems of privilege, inequality, and oppression. We believe strongly in accountability for students, staff and faculty and strive for a process and culture rooted in restorative justice that acknowledges the harm done, and works to repair that harm, prevents its recurrence and moves the community forward in a way that centers and honors voices and experiences that have historically been marginalized.
1. How is the current organizational culture and systems supporting racial inclusion and equity?
2. How is the current organizational culture and systems preventing racial inclusion and equity?
3. What has held Edgewood back in the past and currently, in dismantling racism and creating an inclusive and equitable campus?
4. How does a racially inclusive and equitable organizational culture function? What does it look and feel like?
5. What ways of thinking (about organizations, leadership, how work gets done, relationships, how decisions are made, etc.) are needed?
6. What ways of thinking need to change (mental models, our assumptions about organizations, leadership, etc.)?
7. What structures and policies are currently working to support racial inclusion and equity?
8. What structures and policies are currently working to block racial inclusion and equity?