Editors Note: This is the first of a two-part series on the anti-racist initiative at Tufts. The next part of the series will be published on Monday, Nov. 22.
Tufts as an Anti-Racist Institution, a university-wide initiative, was first announced by University President Anthony Monaco on July 8, 2020, with a goal to find and eradicate any structural racism at Tufts, according to the initiatives executive summary. Organized into five separate workstreams, the initiative represents an institutional effort to make Tufts an anti-racist institution, bringing together more than 100 students, faculty and staff. All in all, the initiative culminated in over 180 salient recommendations to make Tufts a more diverse, equitable and inclusive learning environment for all.
In the process, the initiative has invited the Tufts community to engage and grapple with what anti-racism would mean at Tufts from a wide range of perspectives and identities. Alfredo Ramirez, a second-year MALD student at The Fletcher School, is one of the student leaders who participated in the initiatives Compositional Diversity Workstream last school year, continuing the important conversation on campus.
Born in Venezuela and raised in Miami, Florida, Ramirez came to appreciate and understand diversity as a strength of American society.
For me, diversity is many differences among people be they cognitive, experiential or racial that might seem like a gap on paper, but can actually be a bridge to bring people together, Ramirez said. Diversity can help people offer distinct perspectives, backgrounds and thoughts which can ultimately help build better solutions [to a problem] together.
Within this context, Ramirez added that the universitys anti-racist efforts can help foster a sense of tolerance and extend the institutions commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Anti-racism, for me, is a step beyond building diversity and inclusion and equitable solutions, Ramirez said. It is taking a very active and intentional stance against racism, opposing racist policies and building toward racial tolerance, embedding tolerance in the universitys culture.
On top of that, Aaron Parayno, director of the Asian American Center, added that anti-racism at its core is about bringing about necessary systemic changes and leveling the playing field for all Americans.
Anti-racism really centers on dismantling systems and barriers that have impacted people of color historically and listening, really listening, to these communities experiences, challenges and needs, Parayno said. Anti-racism at an educational institution such as Tufts would mean to relinquish its power and some of its privilege to provide access and opportunities for communities that had been historically disenfranchised.
The Rev. Elyse Nelson Winger, university chaplain, wrote in an email to the Daily detailing how anti-racism as a philosophy and social justice can also be understood from religious and spiritual perspectives.
Anti-racism is an active commitment to understanding, in all its complexity, the history and continuing impact of systemic racism endemic in our society, Winger wrote. Religious communities bear a tremendous responsibility in and for this work. On the one hand, our religious and spiritual traditions are living reservoirs of wisdom, liberation, story and practice that have inspired (and do inspire!) people to challenge injustice at every turn.
Winger added that many different faith communities continue to wrestle with their historic complicity with systemic racism in the United States.
On the other hand, too many religious communities and institutions have been complicit and actively invested in racist systems, theologies, and beliefs, especially white Christian churches and institutions, Winger wrote.
Echoing Parayno and Wingers understanding of anti-racism, the Universitys Chief Diversity Officer for the Somerville/Medford and SMFA campuses and Associate Provost Robert Mack elaborated on the salience of the initiative, especially in the context of last years social and political climates.
The senior leadership was undoubtedly moved after bearing witness to the string of anti-Trans, anti-Black, anti-Asian violence in 2020 and by the ways in which COVID-19 shone a light on the race-based inequities within so many of our nations infrastructure, Mack wrote in an email to the Daily.
Joyce Sackey, the Tufts health sciences schools associate provost and chief diversity officer, similarly reflected on how last years events laid bare systemic racial injustices to be addressed in the United States.
The racial inequities that were exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled by the racial reckoning that swept our nation in 2020 in the wake of George Floyds murder, compelled the Tufts community to address head-on systemic racism, Sackey elaborated.
Mack and Sackey added another way of understanding and defining the term anti-racism both philosophically and linguistically.
We define anti-racism as the intentional practice of disrupting the many angles and degrees in which racism presents itself within thoughts, actions, policies, systems, organizations, and structures, Mack and Sackey wrote in a joint email statement to the Daily.
In a similar vein, Tufts Community Union President Amma Agyei, the first Black woman to hold the position, highlighted anti-racism as a broad philosophy and an integral part of todays social justice movement.
I think that [anti-racism] envelops everything it begins from understanding what microaggressions are to understanding what anti-Black rhetoric and anti-Asian rhetoric are and look like, Agyei said. Anti-racism is about understanding the importance of respecting peoples boundaries and respecting peoples identities, and respecting peoples backgrounds.
Despite the initiatives salience to the university community, Ramirez noted how the very term anti-racism can be polarizing and divisive for some, especially in todays nationwide political landscape.
I think the reason that theres been a backlash against it is because it is a part of this broader conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion, and within that conversation is the issue of privilege. And I think it isnt comfortable for a lot of people to admit that they have privileges, Ramirez said. I [also] think theres a lot of confusion and misinformation about what anti-racism is really about And I think one of the ways to work toward that end is educating people about what privilege really is.
Parayno similarly understands the resistance to anti-racism as being connected with both psychology and politics.
At its core, the resistance is about people and institutions not wanting to reckon with the fact that they may have biases, both explicit and implicit, and that they might themselves participate in racism, whether explicitly or passively To be anti-racist, though, we have to look at the ways that we were racist. Many people do not want to do that, Parayno said. In some of the more conservative states, they also associate anti-racism with not being able to be proud of American history and identity anymore.
It is critical, however, to understand American history as it is in its fullness and totality, as Parayno explained. He thinks that people can be both a proud American and committed to antiracism, provided that there are nuances.
You have to accept American history and politics as imperfect There is no perfect ideal, there is no perfect story. I think that when you are able to really reckon with these imperfections, you can have pride in being an American in a more balanced way, Parayno said.
Within national political and social climates around anti-racist efforts, Mack and Sackey underscored how Tufts initiative to become an anti-racist institution could set an example for others to follow.
Given the national political and social context we find ourselves in, it is profound that Tufts steps into its university-wide anti-racist initiative, Mack and Sackey wrote. Depending on how deep we go in our internal work, we have the potential to become uniquely positioned to be a model, standard, and firm invitation for post-secondary institutions to step into their anti-racist practice. Our initiative has the potential to impact the landscape and trajectory of higher education in America for generations to come.
Originally posted here:
- Column: How will climate change impact the Shuswap? Salmon Arm Observer - Salmon Arm Observer - January 9th, 2022
- What happened to those in poverty with the child tax credit expansion ended? - The Philadelphia Inquirer - January 9th, 2022
- No, colleges and universities are not safe to reopen for in-person learning - WSWS - January 9th, 2022
- 20 Baltimore tech and entrepreneurship leaders offer New Year's resolutions for 2022 - Technical.ly - January 9th, 2022
- I learnt to come out of my shell and be heard - The Standard - January 9th, 2022
- Janssen Takes Multifaceted Approach to Ensuring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in its COVID-19 Vaccine Trial - FiercePharma - January 7th, 2022
- #BizTrends2022: Tourism tribe, let's be more intentional in 2022 - Bizcommunity.com - January 7th, 2022
- Meet Assistant Teaching Professor Terri Tilford: 'I Hope Students Learn From Me the Joy of Learning, How to Effectively Help Others and How to... - January 7th, 2022
- Kennedy Krieger Institute and University Of Maryland receive $2.9 million grant to implement antiracist, trauma-informed training - EurekAlert - January 7th, 2022
- Listening sessions scheduled to hear about health equity within Washington - KXRO Newsradio - January 7th, 2022
- Stations contribute reporting, expand reach of new rural news network - Current - January 7th, 2022
- I was a troubled teen in Pennsylvania whose future was redeemed. More youth need that chance. | Opinion - The Philadelphia Inquirer - January 7th, 2022
- Mapping Teotihuacans Past, Present, and Future - Eos - January 7th, 2022
- The False Promise of Criminal Justice Reform - The Nation - January 7th, 2022
- A Sleeping Giant Awakens (Maybe?) "Environmental" Enforcement Of Title VI Of The Civil Rights Act Of 1964 In The Era Of The Biden... - January 7th, 2022
- Suburban Strength: Columbus Suburbs Are Growing Faster Than the City - Columbus Monthly - January 7th, 2022
- Bethlehem swears in its 14th mayor - lehighvalleylive.com - January 7th, 2022
- Adam Roberge, Phil Gaimon, Ruby West and three others headline new Jukebox Cycling team - VeloNews - January 7th, 2022
- Trailblazing scholar heads to the N.J. Assembly with eye on public access - The Philadelphia Tribune - January 7th, 2022
- The Benefits of International Partnerships - The Foreign Service Journal - January 7th, 2022
- Charah Solutions Partners with Community and National Charitable Organizations Through Its Ongoing Charah Cares Philanthropic Initiative - Yahoo... - December 29th, 2021
- Attracting and retaining talent through culture - National Hog Farmer - December 29th, 2021
- Governor Wolf Responds to Congressional Redistricting Map Proposed by the House State Government Committee - pa.gov - December 29th, 2021
- Struggle against COVID-19 was biggest story of 2021; Year In Review: The first six months of 2021 - News-shield - December 29th, 2021
- She was arrested at a bar, then found hanging in a cell. Police haven't given her family answers. - Stars and Stripes - December 29th, 2021
- Logan University teams with regional health commission for blueprint to fight chronic pain - Chiropractic Economics - December 29th, 2021
- Hope is key to the coming year, beyond - Appalachian News-Express - December 29th, 2021
- Financial Services Industry Year in Review: Regulatory Enforcement and Litigation Trends in 2021 and Beyond - JD Supra - December 29th, 2021
- The Best Burnout Advice People Learned In Therapy In 2021 - HuffPost - December 29th, 2021
- Most popular stories, commentaries and podcasts of 2021 on CatholicReview.org - Catholic Review of Baltimore - December 29th, 2021
- Mohammadu Indimi And The Primacy Of Education - LEADERSHIP NEWS - December 29th, 2021
- You dont teach prejudice by discussing its existence. How to talk to children about race and discrimination. - PBS NewsHour - December 27th, 2021
- Philadelphia promised $68 million in new antiviolence spending. How its going. - The Philadelphia Inquirer - December 27th, 2021
- The opioid and homelessness crisis at Mass. and Cass: whose problem is it? - BU News Service - December 27th, 2021
- How to Build Inclusive Mentoring Programs for the Hybrid Workplace - ATD - December 27th, 2021
- What Makes the Muhammadu Indimi Brand Stand Out? - THISDAY Newspapers - December 27th, 2021
- Q&A: John Dozier on the Strategic Action Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - MIT News - December 27th, 2021
- BAPTIST LIFE: 4 suggestions on building a ministry to children and students - Kentucky Today - December 27th, 2021
- Okayplayers 10 Best Films Of 2021 - Okayplayer - December 27th, 2021
- How the OneTen Coalition is Ensuring Black Talent Without Four-Year Degrees Grow Their Careers - Pittsburgh Magazine - December 27th, 2021
- Tango, contra and other dancing still stalled as other activities have returned to the Upper Valley - Concord Monitor - December 27th, 2021
- Christmas 2021 thoughts and hopes: Editorial Board Roundtable - cleveland.com - December 27th, 2021
- Build Back Better is crucial to boost climate action without leaving coal miners behind | TheHill - The Hill - December 23rd, 2021
- Crisis in the Classroom: Decoding the critical race theory debate - News 5 Cleveland - December 23rd, 2021
- Blackbaud Shows Continued Commitment to Giving Back Around the World - PRNewswire - December 23rd, 2021
- Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Improve State Response to COVID-19 Pandemic - ny.gov - December 23rd, 2021
- A holiday miracle that comes in a vial | Opinion - nj.com - December 23rd, 2021
- Opinion: Shift Colorado's transportation priorities away from asphalt and toward mass transit - The Colorado Sun - December 23rd, 2021
- Detroit Vesey's Is a New Kind of Inclusive Space For Los Angeles - Eater LA - December 23rd, 2021
- City of Tucson Awarded Phase One Build Back Better Challenge Grant from the Economic Development Administration - Signals AZ - December 23rd, 2021
- Opinion: Friends of public education, its time to speak up - News-Leader - December 23rd, 2021
- Support local businesses this holiday and beyond - AustinTalks - December 23rd, 2021
- Endangered Monk Seal Died Of Gunshot Wound To The Head, Authorities Say - Honolulu Civil Beat - December 23rd, 2021
- Black Artists, Then And Now, On View In Wilmington, Delaware And Philadelphia - Forbes - December 23rd, 2021
- 'Bold, Audacious Goal': Coalition Pushes to Add More Than 1 Million Educators of Color - Education Week - December 23rd, 2021
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Update St. Olaf College - St. Olaf College News - December 23rd, 2021
- The kids are not all right: The urgent need to expand effective behavioral health services for children and youth - Brookings Institution - December 23rd, 2021
- 23 tech leaders on the opportunities that can shape Baltimore's future - Technical.ly - December 23rd, 2021
- Doctrine of Discovery and Its Impact on American Indian and Alaska Native Health Care | Health - nativenewsonline.net - December 23rd, 2021
- Scientists and Laypeople Speak Different Languages. This Funder Wants to Bridge the Gap Inside Philanthropy - Inside Philanthropy - December 23rd, 2021
- Mayor Jenny Durkan Announces Recipients of the Neighborhood Economic Recovery Grants - SPD Blotter - December 17th, 2021
- Mayor Bowser Releases the 2022 Green Book, the District's Small Business Enterprise Opportunity Guide | mayormb - Executive Office of the Mayor - December 17th, 2021
- The Redistricting Process Favored the Status Quo, Again. That Needs to Change. Voice of San Diego - Voice of San Diego - December 17th, 2021
- This is America: Santas of color are the most magical part of my Christmas experience. We need more of them. - USA TODAY - December 17th, 2021
- ONE YEAR LATER: A reflection on the anniversary of the first COVID vaccines with CCPHD's Mike Zelek - The Chatham News + Record - December 17th, 2021
- State Redistricting Stalls Amid Standoff Over Tribal Priorities - The Paper - December 17th, 2021
- Army Corps architect creates space for minority youth; earns Black Engineer of the Year Award - United States Army - December 17th, 2021
- 2021 reflections: In an amazing year of achievements, nothing topped the return to campus - UCLA Newsroom - December 17th, 2021
- Social media and small businesses: The good, the bad and the authentic - The Daily Universe - Universe.byu.edu - December 17th, 2021
- Westside Future Fund Receives $750,000 from PNC Foundation for Home on the Westside - PR Web - December 17th, 2021
- Suicide and intentional self-harm - Australian Institute ... - December 13th, 2021
- Nonprofits Want Share of the State Budget Surplus - The NonProfit Times - December 13th, 2021
- Introducing Crain's 2021 Notable Businesses Championing Diversity and Inclusion - Crain's Cleveland Business - December 13th, 2021
- News from the noteworthy: 12-09-21 - AllOTSEGO - December 13th, 2021
- Native New York: Dispelling the Myth of the Sale of Manhattan & More - nativenewsonline.net - December 13th, 2021
- KU Libraries, The Commons to host presentation by author Andrew Hoffman on Jan. 13 | The University of Kansas - KU Today - December 10th, 2021
- 'We failed in being inclusive' | How experts are hoping to reverse lack of diversity in medical research - WUSA9.com - December 10th, 2021
- Walmart and NAACP Join Forces To Create Educational Pathways - CSRwire.com - December 10th, 2021
- The Urgent Imperative For Corporations To Promote Financial Literacy In Communities Of Color - Forbes - December 10th, 2021
- State Budgets Tied to Fossil Fuels Are Slowing the Energy Transition and Leaving Workers and Communities Behind - Center For American Progress - December 10th, 2021