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Anti-Racism

We prioritize community in our values and life choices—that is active citizenship. And we know that which communities we choose to prioritize and how we engage is shaped by racism, white supremacy, and many other systems of oppression. We offer limited perspectives, miss things, make mistakes, and reinforce inequalities, especially as a predominately White staff. Still, we are committed to working for justice and understanding our role in that process. We know that Black lives matter and there is much more for us to do to work for a society which values the full potential of all. 

We have chosen to share our efforts publicly because we believe in the power of collective action and community accountability. Sharing our actions may offer an opportunity for you to join us in this work and allows you to provide critical feedback that makes our work better.  

We offer this overview of our anti-racism work as individual staff members as well as the collective Office of Community Engagement. We will provide updates on these efforts regularly.  

Staff actions and OCE policies
Staff Engagement with Anti-Racism Work 

These are actions individual members of our staff have or are taking, as well as opportunities we are engaging in together.  

  • Created and joined anti-racism reading groups with family and friends
  • Incorporated more content by Black authors about race and racism into courses and trainings
  • Participated in the YWCA 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge
  • Moved money to local and Black-owned banks and shopped from Black-owned businesses
  • Established recurring donations to Black-led justice organizations
  • Read Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks together as OCE staff and incorporated that learning into our work. We are now reading Teaching Race: How to Help Student Unmask and Challenge Racism. Suggestions for future readings are welcome. 
OCE Programming and Policies 

These are actions we are taking as an office to engage more deeply in anti-racism in our programs and policies.  

  • Recommended our donors give to Black-led W&M initiatives on One Tribe One Day including W&M Lemon Project, Center for Student Diversity, W&M Diversity & Inclusion, and WMSURE
  • Using bias-reduction strategies in all selection processes in OCE which include a first round anonymous review of applicants 
  • Including racial justice resources from the YWCA in our weekly community engagement listserv messages 
  • Facilitating Action Book Clubs in which small groups read a justice-focused book and engage in remote service  
  • Initiated campus-community conversations focused on liberation 
  • Launched the Making our Mark Initiative hosted by Lafayette Kids
  • Partnering with Student Leadership Development and student advocates and activists to build a tool kit for student advocacy and activism, particularly focused on anti-racism and within pandemic circumstances

We share our actions so you know what we are doing and what we value and so that you can offer your feedback and suggestions. You are also welcome to share your anti-racism work with us, as we are eager to support and partner with others through sustained commitment.  

You are welcome to email us directly at oce@wm.edu or submit ideas and feedback anonymously