By Carley Crain
March 25 marks a special and historic day for the Springfield College community as this year it is the first annual “Day to Confront Racism.”
The day was put together in collaboration with the Legacy Alumni of Color group and includes various workshops to speak about the issues of race, privilege and power. March 25 also is the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic Slave Trade which helped inspire the creation of a “Day to Confront Racism.”
The day starts off with four webinars featuring numerous professionals and students of the Springfield College community.
The first workshop is entitled “The Past is Present: How the historical legacies revealed by the 1619 project impact our professions and communities.” The workshop is presented by panelists Keisha Green, Samantha Hill and Kareem White, who all have successful careers in the fields of healthcare, journalism and education.
Their main focus will be hosting a discussion on the impact of white supremacy and how that correlates to all aspects of life, while promoting the work that the 1619 Project does. This workshop will kick off at 9:25 a.m. and will end at 10:40 a.m., after a question and answer session with the panelists.
The next workshop is “John Brown: The city of Springfield Connection to this Abolitionist and Accomplice” featuring William Nash, Daryl Moss and Joseph Carvalho III. Each of the panelists focus either on community outreach, research or journalism. The workshop will run from 10:50 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. and will discuss issues of diversity in the city of Springfield.
The third workshop, a moderated dialogue with members of the Legacy Alumni of Color group, starts at 12:15 p.m. and finishes up at 1:05 p.m. Panelists include: Donald Brown (’69), Richard Griffin (‘73), and Teresa Burr (‘70) where they will share their experiences as students at Springfield College and what can be improved on in regard to diversity.
The last workshop of the day is centered around current student life and is a moderated conversation with the Director of Multicultural Affairs Felicia Lundquist, eight students, and Stephanie Logan, EdD, Associate Professor of Education and Chair of the Department of Education. Topics of discussion include racial injustice on campus, how to deal with zoom fatigue when having conversations about race and more.
“Some of the workshops we are learning from students then some alumni and I think it will allow people to realize what some other people have gone through and it will help for the future,” said junior Brianna D’Haiti.
“Like yeah, we are working on things now, but is it really going to stay like this or in a couple of years is it going to go away? I am hoping people will realize that this stuff is happening now, but it also happened in 1969 and it could happen again in another 40 or 60 years. The point of us doing this now is so it won’t happen again.”
After the workshops conclude the night ends with No. 1 New York best-selling author Ibram X. Kendi’s presentation. He is the keynote speaker of the annual Arts and Humanities Speaker Series.
Kendi is most notably known for his book “How to be an Anti-racist” and “Be Antiracist: A Journal for Awareness, Reflection, and Action.” He has won numerous awards for his books about social justice, such as the W.E.B. Du Bois Book Prize and the National Book Award for Nonfiction.
On top of this, he is also a professor in the humanities department at Boston University, as well as being involved in the fields of history and journalism.
Getting Kendi on campus has been a work in progress for almost a year and the hope is for the campus community to learn more about how to be an ally, and what it truly means to be an antiracist.
Kendi’s work specifically focuses on actively being an antiracist, instead of just saying the phrase “I am not racist.” He pushes others to educate themselves on issues of diversity, inclusion and equality while prioritizing actions over just words.
Having Kendi on campus is a step in the right direction. His experiences and knowledge will help spark important conversations and changes on campus.
“My favorite thing is that they are not only asking students to talk, but actually talking about previous issues and it is not being swept under the rug. There are a lot more issues that could be talked about, but this is a good one and a good start,” D’Haiti said.
Kendi’s presentation starts at 7 p.m. and is followed by a question and answer session that is limited to a certain number of participants.
March 25 is an important day for Springfield College and their mission in regard to creating a more inclusive campus environment all starting with informative workshops.
Photo Courtesy of Springfield College