CREDE to host Summer Race, Reflections and Discussion Series this month

The Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education will host four discussions focused on race, racial injustice and anti-racism during its annual Summer Race, Reflections and Discussion Series.

As the nation and world call for racial justice reform following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people at the hands of police, Elon’s Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education is looking to spark meaningful discussions throughout the campus community.

Beginning July 9, the CREDE will kick off the 2020 edition of its annual Summer Race, Reflections and Discussion Series. This year’s discussions on race and racism are for Elon students, faculty and staff and will be hosted virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The four sessions, scheduled for July 9, 16, 23 and 30, will be hosted via WebEx from noon to 2 p.m.

“We are in the midst of a current racial revolution, and it’s not just relegated to the United States,” said Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the CREDE Tyrone Jean. “There’s a lot of support internationally and globally for Black Lives Matter, for people bringing awareness to anti-Black racism and police brutality, so this is very timely for our community.”

The CREDE will host this summer’s discussions in collaboration with Elon African & African-American Studies, the Office of Leadership & Professional Development, the Center for Leadership, the Gender and LGBTQIA Center, the Center for Equity & Inclusive Excellence and Teaching and Learning Technologies.

The July 9 discussion will be focused on systemic racism and the ways in which it has been embedded throughout history. The event will conclude with break-out sessions in smaller virtual rooms to allow groups to discuss systemic racism and what they can do to combat it. The discussion will also explore anti-racism strategies and offer tools and resources to understand what it means to be an anti-racist on a personal and organizational level. Facilitating the discussion will be led by Buffie Longmire-Avital, associate professor of psychology; Damion Blake, assistant professor in political science and policy studies; and Tyrone Jean, assistant dean of students and director of the CREDE.

The July 16 discussion will include conversations catered toward specific racial caucuses – a Black Caucus, a Non-Black Persons of Color Caucus, and a White Caucus. After a brief discussion to begin the session, the three caucuses will join smaller, more focused conversations on topics pertaining to each group. The Black Caucus will have a discussion on healing, the Non-Black Persons of Color Caucus will discuss anti-blackness within communities of color, and the White Caucus will discuss White guilt, fragility and accountability. Facilitating the discussion will be Tyrone Jean, assistant dean of students and director of the CREDE; Kiah Glenn, assistant director of the CREDE; Luis Garay, director of the Gender and LGBTQIA Center; Annabel Bunton, program coordinator in the Center for Equity and Inclusive Excellence; Becca Bishopric Patterson, assistant director of the Gender and LGBTQIA Center; and Stacie Dooley, director of student life in the Office of Career and Student Development.

The third discussion is scheduled for July 23 and will take a look at the ways racism has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Discussion topics will include health disparities that impact indigenous and Black communities, as well as some of the experiences that Asian communities have encountered during the pandemic. The discussion will be led by Kiah Glenn, assistant director of the CREDE, and Stephanie Baker, assistant professor of public health studies.

On July 30, the summer’s final edition of the Race, Reflections & Discussion Series will focus on sustained activism. Facilitators will encourage participants to consider the personal, professional and educational steps they can take to move forward  and engage in a lifetime of work geared toward anti-racism. This discussion will be led by Director of the Center for Leadership Melanie Bullock Harris and Tyrone Jean.

“People really have a desire and a yearn to want to engage in a dialogue around these topics, and we try our best to create opportunities and spaces that are brave, that allow us to be courageous, and challenge appropriately in those spaces,” Jean said.

Each virtual discussion will be uploaded to the CREDE website following the July 30 event for any member of the Elon community who misses a session.