Friday’s Stand Against Racism events aim to ‘create positive change’

By Cecilia Prado

(Amanda Creegan/Daily Collegian)
(Amanda Creegan/Daily Collegian)

The weeklong Stand Against Racism campaign will culminate in a series of events on Friday, kicking off with a march around campus at noon.

At the Haigis Mall, student speakers will tell their stories of resistance just before the march, gathering at 11:45 a.m. The walk is open to the public and t-shirts will be given to participants.

The march will end in Wilder Hall where additional talks and workshops are scheduled to honor the Stand Against Racism day.

Willie Pope, assistant director of the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success, said there is a great need for the University of Massachusetts community to take a stand against racism and oppression due to the current status of numerous alarming incidents against people of color across the country.

“We must work together, not just today, but continuously throughout the year to raise awareness, educate and take action to eliminate racism as well as create positive change for all members in our community,” Pope said.

The first talk, “Strategies for Liberation,” hosted by Professor Emeriti of Social Justice Education and head of the Black Liberation and Community Development Project of the International Reevaluation Counseling Communities Barbara Love will begin at 1:15 p.m. Her research is centered on social and individual transformation and liberation.

Four open discussion forums and interactive workshops will follow Love’s talk at 2:25 p.m.

Eva McDonald will facilitate “Views of Racism on Campus.” A short video created by UMass students and Love targeting racism on campus will be presented, and participants will be encouraged to discuss issues of racial prejudice at the University.

Christopher Tinson will organize the workshop “Black(im)possibilities: Navigating the effects of state violence on Black Communities,” which is part of the Black Lives Matter session. It will consider strategies against state violence in the wake of the recent shootings of unarmed black people by police.

Another of the open discussion forums, “Talking to Race-Racing to Talk,” will be facilitated by Krysten Lobisch. It is aimed at engaging participants in conversation about “raced” language and speech-based stereotypes.

In addition, Sara Duey will be hosting “Queer and Trans People of Color at UMass,” an interactive workshop featuring the experiences of trans and queer people of color at UMass.

At 3:50 p.m., two renowned speakers will be presenting lectures on relevant issues dealing with racial oppression.

Hind Mari, director of the Women of Color Leadership Network, will be presenting a talk on Islamophobia, talking about the ways in which the community can work together to eliminate it, as well as other forms of oppression.

Jane Elliot, an internationally known lecturer and diversity trainer, will be conducting the famous exercise “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes.” In this exercise, participants are labeled as superior or inferior based only on their eye color, allowing them to gain perspective of what it’s like to be a minority.

The end of the Stand Against Racism day will take place with a Closing Reception at 5:15 p.m. in Wilder Hall. It will include a performance by Phallacies and the reading of the Stand Against Racism Pledge.

The Stand Against Racism campaign was founded by the YWCA in 2007 and is one of its flagship campaigns. It aims to create a sense of community among racial activists and raise awareness about the importance of eliminating racism while celebrating diversity.

This event is hosted by CMASS, the WOCLN, Sustainable UMass, Center for Health Promotion, Commonwealth Honors College, Student Bridges, Stonewall Center, Residential Life, UMass Unions United, Citizens for Racial Amity Now, the Social Justice Education Concentration, the Graduate Employee Organization, the Higher Education Program and African Diaspora Certificate and Public Policy.

Cecilia Prado can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @thececiliaprado.