Results of BLI's Racial Justice and Equity Project Fund Announced | St. Lawrence University Diversity and Inclusion

Results of BLI's Racial Justice and Equity Project Fund Announced

The Committee of the Black Laurentian Initiative Racial Justice and Equity Project (BLI RJEP) has selected five proposals to fund for Summer 2021. Congratulations to them and to their mentors!

Several proposals were submitted that had merit, but that were unsuccessful in this round; feedback was provided to them. The BLI RJEP supports work that engages the St. Lawrence community in research, teaching, and service-focused missions dedicated to addressing the issues of racial equity and justice in various academic disciplines.

The BLI RJEP Committee includes Kimberly Flint-Hamilton, Hamidou Sylla ‘21, Carol Smith, Ana Estevez, Melissane Schrems, and Diamond McAllister ‘22.

Project Title: How Did We Get Here? The American Phenomenon

Student Project Leaders: Sid Spencer '22 & Kaleb Davis '22

Mentor: Jackie Pinkowitz

This project will explore the racial inequities in Mercer County, NJ, Philadelphia, and New York City utilizing the powerful medium of film to record interviews with a wide range of people, and capture footage and photographs documenting the staggering differences in economic status of neighborhoods. The final documentary film will highlight stories and facts regarding topics such as redlining, Jim Crow, public housing, and the New Deal. The student filmmakers aim to spark dialogue within and beyond the campus community.

Project Title: Unearthly: The Beauty of Blackness

Student Project Leader: Kalila Calame '22

Mentor: Sarah Knobel

This visual art project, based in photography and film, will depict the natural beauty and misconceptions regarding Blackness.  The planned photographic series and short film will feature Black St. Lawrence students across all four class years and reflect their testimonies around the concept of Blackness as alien, the beauty of Blackness, and what these concepts mean to them. The project seeks to encourage the St. Lawrence and broader communities to acknowledge a new way of interpreting Blackness as not something to fear, but rather embrace.

Project Title: Giving Power to Silenced Voices  

Student Project Leaders: Teal Borden '22 and Agustin Toledo '23 

Mentor: Lucia Pawlowski

This project seeks to encourage linguistic justice on campus and contribute to the WORD Studio’s Social Justice Initiative. Recognizing the need to acknowledge that linguistic discrimination exists on our campus, the student project leaders will focus on conducting research, writing an academic article, and bringing their findings back to the WORD Studio to energize their social justice efforts in Fall 2021 and beyond, including reshaping their mission statement, enhancing professional development opportunities for tutors and, overall, creating an antiracist environment for WORD Studio activities.

Project Title: Weave News: Conflicting Emotions  

Student Project Leaders: Avana Mohandesi ’21 and Iman Maani ’22 

Mentor: John Collins

This series will focus on amplifying the voices of the BIPOC community at predominantly white institutions (PWIs), centering on the St. Lawrence campus but also leveraging the Weaves News network to engage voices from NY6 colleges and demonstrate that these experiences are universal. Through a podcast and Instagram content series, the project will bring to light the complex emotions of BIPOC individuals, giving space for their struggles and raw emotions, while also celebrating their triumphs and joys, which are seldom portrayed in the media. By highlighting positive experiences through storytelling, the project aims to build a community that stands in solidarity and embraces inclusion.

Project Title: Revitalizing the Living Lab 

Project Student Leaders: Alejandra Altamirano ‘24 and Brenda Rubio `21 

Mentors: Aaron Iverson and David Murphy

The goal of this project is to revitalize the Environmental Studies Department’s Living Laboratory and create a truly inclusive and welcoming space that reflects the wide range of diversity in the field of environmental studies. The “decolonizing” of this learning space will include maps with no political borders to depict transboundary environments and cultural landscapes; artwork from local artists and BIPOC activists; and a collection of environmentally-themed books by diverse authors. A major project feature will be a new outdoor mural that embraces social, racial, and environmental themes in place of traditional white-dominated environmental narratives.