By Olivia Montes
The Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion initiative released their workshop schedule for the 2021 fall semester via email on Sept. 13.
There will be a total of five virtual workshops focusing “on a variety of topics related to racial and social justice,” according to the email. These workshops will include Anti-Racism, Identity & Privilege, Racism & Stress, Gender JEDI, and Courageous Conversations.
According to Associate Professor of Mathematics and Director of JEDI Dr. Emerald Stacy, each workshop will have 15 participants or fewer — mirroring the sizes of classes at the College — to achieve “meaningful discussions,” as well as educate WC community members as to how they can help recognize ways in which they not only continue these discussions, but advocate for effective and impactful change.
“Policy is a crucial component of [WC] evolving into a more inclusive space,” Dr. Stacy said. “I hope that JEDI sessions help give our community a common vocabulary and a starting point for further conversation as we as a community decide how to implement policy to support effective change.”
Each session will take place over Zoom, and are open to all WC students, staff, and faculty. To RSVP or learn more, those interested can scan the QR code available on JEDI posters across campus and attached to the email sent by the initiative. They will then be redirected to an available form that will provide further information regarding each workshop, including when they are available.
The Identity & Privilege session will “explore the social identities participants may have — including race, gender, sexuality, social class, disability, and others — and the privileges that often accompany some identities within society.” This session will run on Oct. 5 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Oct. 27 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and Nov. 18 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
For the Courageous Conversations workshop, the session will “work with participants to identify ways to have productive, constructive, and positive courageous conversations,” as well as to “approach future situations with greater empathy, sensitivity, and awareness of difference,” according to the email. This session will run from Oct. 4 from 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.; Oct. 19 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.; and Nov. 3 from 12 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
The Anti-Racism session, whose titular topic “is the continual process through which racism is identified in systems, policies, practices, and attitudes, and actions are taken to eliminate this racism,” will “provide participants with the opportunity to start this process or further evolve along the anti-racist continuum by fostering a safe space for the exploration of racism and anti-racism at levels from individual to systemic.” This session is available on Oct. 12 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Nov. 17 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Introduced this fall, the Gender JEDI session aims to teach participants about “basic vocabulary about gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth, and pronouns and have the opportunity to learn more about gender identities in a low-risk space.” The workshop will also strive to “create basic protocols and policies that are more inclusive of all gender identities and expressions … to better assess pedagogy, procedure, and institutional language around gender identity and gender expression,” according to description.
This session will be led by WC Diversity Liaison Claire Hansen ’14, and will be available on Nov. 12 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Nov. 22 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
The final session, Racism & Stress, which was also introduced this fall semester, strives to teach participants “how the chronic stressors of discrimination, racism, and associated traumatic events negatively impact physical and mental health,” as well as “how racism and discriminatory practices in our society perpetuate these cycles of stress and what can be done to help break these cycles.” This session will be available on Oct. 12 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Oct. 18 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Any questions or concerns regarding any of these sessions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I hope that attendees will continue the conversations that start in the sessions…[and] talk to each other on what they learned and liked about the sessions, how JEDI could improve, and then get involved — either in JEDI, or in some other aspect of social justice in our community,” Dr. Stacy said. “We do not all have to fight for every issue we see, but I hope that people pick at least one they can get behind, and push for change in that direction.”