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Gallaudet’s Systemic Stand Against Racism and Violence Recap

Gallaudet’s Systemic Stand Against Racism and Violence Recap

Gallaudet’s Systemic Stand Against Racism and Violence

(article dated June 10, 2020)

Gallaudet University’s Division of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, in partnership with the Gallaudet Staff Council, the Faculty of Color Coalition, the Organization for Equity for Deaf Staff of Color, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and the Faculty Senate is hosting a series of internal weekly webinars that will foster anti-racist dispositions, behaviors, and actions necessary to further positive systemic change and intentionally support the well-being of Black communities and other communities of color. These weekly events will feature diverse panelists from the Gallaudet and Clerc Center communities.

The first panel consisted of several people from the Anti-Racist Commitment Team:

Bunmi Aina, representing EDI

Kyle Amber Clark, representing FoCC

Usherla DeBerry, representing OEDSOC

Tamer Mahmoud, representing GSC

The second panel consisted of students:

Faith Sanders

Delresia Mornes

JC Smith

The conversations with each panel discussed individual and community pains associated with systemic racism and violence. Each panelist shared personal experiences with racism, violence and discrimination, at home and at Gallaudet. Common themes arose:

  • Black men and women are routinely treated as criminals by police and by society.  

  • Black people are in constant fear for their lives, particularly at the hands of the police.

  • Black children learn about racism and how to survive systemic racism at an early age.

  • Assumptions about Black people are usually negative.

  • Black people have to work three or four times harder than white people to get ahead in life.

  • Black students are ignored in the classroom.

  • Black students are often disrespected by non-Black students.

  • Black staff and faculty are not promoted; some have been demoted.

  • There are very few Black leaders at the higher levels; leadership is not equitable.

The bottom line is, when we talk about systemic racism, we are not just talking about the police and violence. We are also talking about the education system, the medical system, and society as a whole. Black students, staff, and faculty are demanding action and they say white people must do the work of dismantling institutional racism/systemic racism.  

Several suggestions were made:

  • White people must be able to have uncomfortable, hard conversations about race.

  • White people must acknowledge and understand how their whiteness comes with privilege and power that Black people do not have.

  • To support Black communities, white people must unpack those privileges and do the right thing – create a more equitable environment that brings Black people into the fold, allowing them to share in the power.

  • White people must take accountability for their words and actions.

  • We, as a whole community, must be proactive, not reactive.

  • We need policy reform; better hiring practices; professional development opportunities; and more Black teachers, professors, staff, and administrative leaders.

  • Cross-cultural conversations must continue. 

‘Bunmi Aina described his hope for the future: That Gallaudet can become a place where we only have one race. We are all Bison and we all bleed Buff and Blue.  We have much work to do to heal the pain that is here and to come together as a community, with all the diversity that we have that makes us so rich.

Posted by Darrius Doe | Posted June 12, 2020 at 2:43 PM

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Gallaudet

800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002