<span class='p-name'>Do The Work</span>
As protests continue to roll around the globe in response to the unjust murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many other People of Color, many of us are trying to identify meaningful ways to enact real change. These events demonstrate the ongoing patterns of systemic and institutionalized racism that impact African Americans and other people of color across every aspect of society. These raise significant questions about equity, access, and justice from housing, to employment, to health care, and education. To address these challenges, we are creating a learning community to support individuals as they become allies, and then eventually advocates for anti-racist work.

As we individually and collectively examine these questions, we must first examine our own perspectives, privileges, and identity. We are watching Americans wake up to the centuries of injustice and dehumanization of others that do not share the same experiences. To ensure that we don’t fall back to sleep in a state of complacency, we need to prepare for when the protests, social media buzz, and hashtags fade. In short, we need to do the work.

We are a small group of volunteers who met as members of the Higher Ed Learning Collective. We were inspired by the initial demand, and the idea of self-study, interracial groups. The initial decision to form this initiative is based on the myriad calls from people of color for white-bodied people to do internal work. To do the work, we are developing a space for all individuals to read, share, discuss, and interrogate perspectives on race, racism, anti-racism, identity in an educational setting. To ensure that the fight continues for justice, we need to participate in our own ongoing reflection of self and biases. We need to examine ourselves, ask questions, and learn to examine our own perspectives. We need to get uncomfortable in asking ourselves tough questions, with an understanding that this is a lifelong, ongoing process of learning.

The purpose of these reading and discussion groups are to strive to understand the history of pervasive structural and systemic racism in America, and how this impacts the present, the future, and ourselves. We intend to create safe, brave spaces to facilitate discussions as we co-investigate anti-racist texts and their role in our individual and collective contexts. You can participate with the groups even if you don’t want to collaborate and co-investigate. We’d like to leave the door open for those that just need the extra push to read these books and question themselves.

Please understand that we are not identifying or positioning ourselves as the experts. To the contrary, we are individuals, just like those reading this, that want to question and reflect on ourselves, seeking to do the work to promote real change. We encourage you to join as co-facilitators, participants, or just to listen. The facilitators are volunteers that are part of the whole, not in charge of the whole. You need to decide your approach point as you interact with these texts, as guided by the purpose of this group. 

All are welcome to join and begin, or continue, their own racial identity journey. Each book study group will be at a different place on the continuum, with different books focusing on different topics. We hope to include options that allow anyone to participate based on where they are at in this process. At least one book will focus on White privilege, while others will focus more on bias, perspective, and social justice. We are hoping to provide space for anyone interested in doing this work.

Choose your level

In order to facilitate growth for individuals as they become allies, and then eventually advocates for anti-racist work we will create three reading groups as guided by this model from Anna Stamborski, Nikki Zimmermann, and Bailie Gregory. The reading groups will operate contemporaneously and autonomously for 8 weeks. We will begin on June 15th, 2020, and conclude the groups on August 15, 2020. Each group will hold their own meetings, and decide on the goals and objectives of the learning collective.

Please review the following three groups and review some of the materials included to decide where you might fit best. You’re welcome to join at a lower ‘level’ than you may feel you’re currently at. We believe there is value to building a solid foundation, regardless of prior reading, knowledge, or experience.

Level One – Starting the Work

These are the types of texts you might consume at this level: 

Level Two: Owning the Work

These are the types of texts you might consume at this level: 

Level Three: Moving from Ally to Advocate

These are the types of texts you might consume at this level: 

Join us

You can then use the form below to indicate the group you’d like to join. Group facilitators will reach out to organize the individual groups and identify the next steps. Please Note, we have stopped accepting new members for the Summer 2020 group. 

We will keep your information private and only share with the group facilitators. You will have an opportunity to introduce yourself to your learning community in the next stage.

Brought to you by an initial group of facilitators

Alexia Buono

Danielle Dennis

Cheryl Hendry

Lynda Keller

Judson Laughter

Will McCorkle

Joaquin A. B. Munoz

Liz Norell

Ian O’Byrne

Rachelle Savitz

Katarina N. Silvestri


  • 💬 From The Block Up
  • 💬 Engaging With Activist Texts in Learning Environments

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