Amplified is the official journal and newsletter of the Office of Equity and Diversity at Washington State Vancouver. Through poetry and prose, the fall publication amplifies historically underrepresented voices, elevates inclusive spaces of equity, challenges systems of dominance, and promotes healing and love to affirm every human being.
Fall 2018 issue
A word from the Campus Director of Equity and Diversity about this issue of Amplified.
We continue to move through and process the recent event of unrest brought to our campus by an outside group, which made many of our community members feel unsafe, unwelcomed, frightened and misunderstood. Unfortunately, such events are becoming more and more common on college campuses. Their adverse impact is all too real, especially for people from historically underrepresented and underserved communities.
During and subsequent to that event, The Office of Equity and Diversity sponsored a number of brave and safe spaces for members of our campus. Thank you to Shameem Rakha, clinical assistant professor in the College of Education; and Sky Wilson, Student Diversity Center advisor, for facilitating one of the spaces during the event, which invited students, staff, faculty and community partners to leverage their voices through the creation of art. The result is a collection of posters that resist an institutional and societal culture of exclusion and encourages a campus community and world of inclusion.
These posters are the focus of this issue of Amplified. They are a symbol of who we aspire to become, especially during extreme moments and/or events that seek to induce fear, cause divisiveness and silence our community. When targeted members of our community share their lived experience of injustice, we should believe them, stand with them and not reject them. These posters represent the affirming voices of our community members ― empowered targets, accomplices, advocates and partners in justice alike.
This is a pivotal moment for us all to reaffirm, recommit to, and become reflections of our campus principles and values. We denounce white supremacy. It is imperative that we strive for inclusive excellence and become a community that appreciates diversity in all forms across multiple social identities and constructs, including race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, faith, ability, age, class, language and any additional attribute of one’s social identity. We must create meaningful opportunities for intercultural communication and connection.
Our success depends on every individual seeing themselves reflected in diversity. We cannot move forward by minimizing difference. On the contrary, we have a responsibility to emphasize individual difference as central to our collective humanity. Too often, people focus on sameness of lived experience when exploring ways to build intercultural community, especially in matters involving race. Even where sameness is shared among individuals, including similar frameworks, feelings and viewpoints, it is expressed in different ways across multiple identities. Furthermore, a sole focus on sameness also perpetuates internalized oppression of targeted groups, replicates those who have and maintains those who have not.
Highlighting sameness should not occur at the expense of not recognizing difference. Rather, with the beautiful presence of all the aforementioned multiple identities, we are stronger welcoming, learning from and respecting differences as well as commonalities. Take intentional steps to become more culturally responsive. Reflect on your understanding of equity and diversity. Increase your awareness and skills to recognize systemic barriers. Take action to create a more equitable and hospitable campus community. There are a number of channels through which you may engage in this work, including diversity education opportunities on our campus. We are building and expanding capacity for equity, diversity and inclusion at WSU Vancouver. There is just no space here for hate, bigotry or discrimination.
Where diversity counts difference across identities, inclusion makes difference across identities count. We will not realize diversity and inclusion though until we commit to interrupting our socialization into oppressive systems, eradicating dominant ideology which maintains all forms of oppression, and building bridges of equity and belonging across and throughout our campus structure. This requires every member of our community, including administrators, faculty, staff and students to dismantle privilege and disrupt white fragility, stand in solidarity with and encourage our community members on the margins, and move toward the center together.
We have a collective responsibility to create space in which we build authentic relationships and transform our community into a place in which our campus values of equity, diversity, mutual respect, inclusion, belonging and love are normalized and institutionalized, especially during trying events that present a challenge to these principles. The posters featured in this issue of Amplified validate our aspirations to become such a community. We have more work to do.
Obie Ford III
Campus Director of Equity and Diversity
Upcoming and Recent Events
Office of Equity & Diversity
- POC 4Cs Reception: Community reception for POC staff and faculty at WSU Vancouver. Come together in community, connection, conversation and celebration. Details to come.
- BaCE workshops: Spring semester 2019, watch the events calendar for dates and titles.
- Diwali – Festival of Lights, Nov. 27
- Council on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Town Hall, Nov. 6
- POC The Get Together, Sept. 21
- Council on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Retreat, Sept. 14
- Massamba Diop: African Storytelling and the Rhythms of Black Panther, Sept. 12
- Unveiling of Building a Community of Equity professional development program, fall semester