In response to ongoing police brutality, systemic racism, and white supremacy, it is (and has been) necessary for us to step forward and put in the work to dismantle these oppressive systems and structures that unequivocally and disproportionately impact not only our UMB students, but our local communities as well. Additionally, we cannot lose momentum and it is our responsibility to ensure that we continue these difficult conversations, and more importantly, the work associated with them. UMass Boston students have done much to forward this tiring but important work, and we as faculty and staff can do more to support them and this work. It is imperative to support them by showing up and committing to the mission of UMass Boston. We must use our platforms for good.
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which affects low-income and Black, Indigenous & People of Color (BIPOC) communities disproportionately, the Office of Social Justice Leadership and Service (comprised of Student Multicultural Affairs, U-Access, Campus Ministry, and Student Leadership & Community Engagement (OSLCE)) will offer a list of regularly updated anti-racism resources. Our hope is that participants will not feel limited by their schedules and other responsibilities, and that we can create more accessibility for folks to engage with one another and within their communities.
Below is a list of examples of how we are encouraging staff and faculty to participate. This is NOT an exhaustive list:
- Educating yourself (and/or others) on what it means to be anti-racist, about white supremacy, about privilege, etc. Relevant books + podcasts are below:
- How to be Anti-racist, Ibram X. Kendi
- White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Robin DiAngelo
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander
- Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor, Layla F. Saad
- Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth, Dana-Ain Davis
- Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower, Brittney Cooper
- So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo
- From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, William A. Darity & A. Kirsten Mullen
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race, Beverly Daniel Tatum
- Every Day Antiracism: Getting Real About Race in School, Mica Pollock
- 35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say: Surprising Things We Say That Widen the Diversity Gap, Maura Cullen
- Codeswitch (Podcast)
- Pod Save the People (Podcast)
- 1619 (Podcast)
- Still Processing (Podcast)
- Black Wall Street 1921 (Podcast)
- Donating to on-campus organizations and resources that will directly support our students, including:
- Connecting with local officials and non-profit organizations to advocate for sustainable, structural change
- 8 Can’t Wait
- NAACP of Boston – Strengthening the Mass. Civil Rights Act
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Mass.
- Advocating for the Small Business Relief Fund for Black and Brown Businesses
- Supporting affordable housing measures in the Greater Boston area
- Advocating for mental health and substance use support resources for the BIPOC community through The Summit Wellness Group and Detox Local
- Giving to local and national related causes
- Committing to creating spaces for learning & reflection in your everyday work – and communicating how that will be accomplished & holding yourself accountable
- Providing your input for the new Community Advisory Board with UMB PD by emailing email@example.com
- Continuing to hold teach-ins to strive for continued opportunities for conversation & education
We will continue this throughout each semester. The OSLCE biannual Fall and Spring Days of Action will be a continuation of this anti-racism work. We must move beyond performative allyship and commit to lifelong learning, engaging, and work. Our Days of Action follow the SOAP model: Share, Organize, Advocate, Provoke & Protest.
I also want to encourage you to share this widely with your UMB networks. Thank you for your continued support of our students and the UMass Boston community. We hope you will consider partnering with us on this important initiative, and for a long time to come.