Call for Reflection: DEI Programming for Summer 2021
In the April 20th letter of the Associated Colleges of St. Lawrence Valley and the April 21st letter from the New York Six institutions following the Chauvin verdict, our communities were invited to commit to justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus, and to reflect on ways to support anti-racism and truly equal justice for all.
Even though justice was served in this one trial, there are still too many people all over the U.S. who struggle for justice, whose lives are cut short, or whose humanity is undermined. At St. Lawrence, we believe in the fundamental humanity of all individuals. We believe that everyone deserves a chance to thrive and flourish and that we all should have access to fundamental, inalienable rights, legal protections, and a voice that allow us to live our lives equitably and happily, without bias, discrimination, or harassment.
The Office for Diversity & Inclusion is hosting opportunities for reflection and dialogue on issues of justice and equity, including, for example, programming to raise awareness of Texas bill SB 1646 and similar bills and legislation in states across the U.S. that restrict rights to transgender individuals. Our country clearly has a lot of work to do before we can claim liberty and justice for all. At St. Lawrence, we can be part of the solution to these issues by learning more about them and confronting those things that put our communities at risk. Below are some events that the Office for Diversity & Inclusion is coordinating this summer to raise awareness, such as (some dates are still tentative - watch email for announcements):
- May 3 at 6:00 PM: Community Forum on Anti-Trans Legislation
- May 11 at 6:00 PM: What It Means to be Trans - a panel discussion to raise awareness of the transgender community
- Mid May: Panel on Anti-AAAPI bias
- Late May: Anti-Trans Legislation Panel - a panel discussion on the legislation under consideration across the nation
- Late May or early June: Community Conversation About Race
We also need to make room to celebrate the diversity that makes us stronger and smarter and are planning events such as:
- May 13 at 6 PM: Eid al-Fitr, the Celebration of Breaking the Fast, a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims that marks the end of Ramadan
- June 10 or 13: Holi, the Hindu festival of Color/Spring, occurred on March 28. We celebrate the festival in the summer as the weather is warmer.
- June 19: Juneteenth Celebration in Potsdam - a celebration of black culture, art, stories, food, and music at Ives Park in Potsdam. A shuttle will be available for students.
- End of June: Pride Day - a celebration of LGBTQIA+
If you would like to work with us, or if you have an idea for a program for your department or student organization for summer or fall 2021, please let me know and we will be happy to collaborate!
We urge you to take part in reflection and action to support equity and justice for all. Talk with one another about your understandings of issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and share ideas about ways to provide support. These can sometimes be difficult, even painful conversations to have. Remember, however, that St. Lawrence is committed to the value of inclusion as stated in the University Diversity Statement: We are willing to risk difficulty and discomfort in working towards achieving these goals.