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Undoing Racism Collective Holds 2nd Open Meeting

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By ANA FOTA
Contributing Writer
Published: March 4, 2015

The Undoing Racism Collective at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), an organization that meets monthly to discuss present issues and ways of advancing social change within the Fordham community, held its second meeting on Monday, March 2nd.

The Collective’s goals are to engage students, faculty, and administrators in wrestling with racism and it’s impact, to create authentic relationships with each other and create a course of action. This marks their second open-to-the-public meeting since its inception. The first one was held on Dec. 1st, 2014, and it was prompted by the anti-racism protests happening in New York City . While a regular meeting was already scheduled for this week, opening it up to the public was a decision made after a recent email sent out by Father McShane, entitled “A Week of Reflection on Race Relations in America”, in which he addressed the Fordham community, stating: “We are challenged and called to examine the causes of racial inequality, to identify remedies, and to engage in transforming acts of mediation and reconciliation.”

The meeting was moderated by members of the collective Kathy Crawford, Associate Coordinator of Community Service and Service-Learning at the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice at FCLC, and Bethany Hugghins, Associate Coordinator of Community Service at DDCSJ at FCLC. Four out of the 17 attendees were undergraduates, while the rest were members of the Faculty Senate, graduate students, members of the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice, and members of the administration. The Collective was formed by members of Mission & Ministry who had gone through the Undoing Racism and Community Organizing Workshop facilitated by The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond.

At first, the scope of the collective’s discussions were focused on planning the organization’s future. The discussion moved toward ways of promoting awareness regarding social injustice issues and ways to undo racism by actively fighting it. Social Justice Leaders (SJLs) on campus play a big part in that. Hanna Tadevich, FCLC ‘15, knows there are “a variety of ways in which both students and faculty fight racism at Fordham.” It is important to draw awareness to events that need to be discussed. “Fordham students have called for Town Hall Meetings to address hate crimes, and have opened up conversations about undoing racism and recognizing the importance of language,” Tadevich said.

Members of the meeting at FCLC conferenced with attendees of the meeting at Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH), via Skype. The participants were asked to split into small groups and discuss various ways in which the Collective could advance social change within the Fordham community. Among the most popular discussion topics were acknowledging and battling daily microaggressions, a form of implicit and often unintentional discrimination. The Collective created a safe space for a variety of voices, allowing anecdotes and personal stories to be heard and empathy to be shared.

A member of the Collective is Juan Carlos Matos, Assistant Dean and Director for the Office of Multicultural Affairs. He believes confronting racism is key when it comes to moving the Fordham community, and society, forward. “Having conversations [about racism] and recognizing it is crucial, ” he stated, “and this collective meeting is one way people have an opportunity to meet up on a consistent basis and discuss.” Carlos Matos expressed difficulty in promoting the Collective, “But just because people aren’t here doesn’t mean they don’t care. Many different areas of the University are having similar dialogues, conversations, or programs focused on race.”

 

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