Black History Month: advancing education, advancing democracy
University Diversity and Inclusion Officer Eloisa Gordon-Mora talks about Black History Month, democracy and the new Diversity, Equity and Democracy Series
Black History Month is, among other events, an occasion to reflect on our history and the nature of our democracy. As a republic, the U.S. is a 244-year-old country, but not a very old democracy. Some social-science analysts would say that in terms of approximating a fuller, participatory democracy, it dates only to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. What the decades following that legal democratic advancement has taught us is that a robust, inclusive, and diverse democracy requires of access and capacity for involvement of all different socio-economic, racial/ethnic, and cultural sectors, a need that is premised on access to sound information and education.
As an institution of higher-learning—and even further, following our land-grant, mission-inscribed mandate of recognizing and embracing the critical importance of diversity in preparing students for global citizenship—we understand our public educational mandate as also educating on effective civic and democratic engagement. As part of this educational commitment, we need to confront the harmful histories and narratives that sustain different forms of oppression and challenge democratic co-existence. We know that racism is at the heart of the most troubling aspects of our American history and an ongoing, consistent challenge to our democratic aspirations.
Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) is initiating the Dialogue, Equity and Democracy Series, a series of panel discussions, guest speakers, workshops and teach-ins this spring. We will lead the series with a special event to commemorate Black History Month titled, "What follows a commitment to ending systemic racism?" and hosted by Professor Kenya Minott. We invite you to join the D&I team and President Sandoval, on February 18th at 3:30 pm, to launch the educational series.
Professor Minott has over twenty years of teaching experience as a tenured sociology professor with the College of Southern Nevada. She was trained to be a dismantling-racism facilitator through the Western States Center in Portland, Oregon and Race Forward in Chicago, Illinois, and has led over 30 training sessions for grassroots organizers, college students, labor groups, government employees, and non-profit organizations throughout the Midwest and Western regions.
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