Tulane to host Anti-Racism and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Teach-In for faculty, staff

Tulane’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will host an Anti-Racism and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Teach-In for faculty and staff on Friday, April 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. via Zoom featuring addresses by nationally and locally celebrated anti-racist leaders and interdisciplinary panel discussions with Tulanians with expertise in anti-racism work, diversity initiatives, and inclusive learning and teaching. (For a full schedule and to register, visit: https://tulane.edu/edi/anti-racism-teach-in)

Following a welcome and opening remarks by President Michael Fitts, a morning keynote address will be presented by Rhonda Broussard, founder of Beloved Community, a New Orleans­–based nonprofit consulting firm dedicated to implementing sustainable solutions for diversity, equity and inclusion.

The teach-in’s afternoon keynote session will feature a dialogue with Ibram X. Kendi, author of several books including Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and New York Times bestsellers How To Be an Antiracist; Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You; and Antiracist Baby. Kendi is also the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research.

“...I think the biggest thing is to not treat race and racism like words, but like we’re building a muscle where we can not only talk about race and racism with one another at Tulane, but we can take action.”

Anneliese Singh

Broussard and Kendi were selected to speak at the teach-in because they are part of a community of global and national anti-racist scholars, and their work exemplifies what Tulane is building, said Anneliese Singh, Tulane chief diversity officer and associate provost for diversity and faculty development and head of the teach-in organizing committee.

The teach-in will focus on five key learning goals: to become anti-racist; understand how oppression works; know intent vs. impact; understand marginalization, paternalism and patriarchy; build community and organize against racism.

The goal for faculty and staff who attend the teach-in is also to connect, learn and challenge each other to do the work of anti-racism in a way that translates into systemic change that promotes racial equity at Tulane, Singh said. 

“I think so many times we can talk about anti-racism and EDI values, but then maybe we forget to go back to our home units and do that work on identifying where the racism lives and our policies and our practices and procedures.”

The panel discussions in between the morning and afternoon keynote addresses will focus on the levels of systemic racism and ways in which to challenge and dismantle racism. Panelists include several Tulane faculty and staff from across disciplines who have helped implement anti-racist initiatives, programs and skills on campus.

Singh said she had several conversations in the fall with faculty and staff who have been doing anti-racism work on campus about creating an event like this. The Anti-Racism Professional Development Council (Sienna Abdulahad, Carolyn Barber-Pierre, Paula Booke, Ben Brubaker, Angel Carter, Laura Osteen, Anneliese Singh) then began planning the teach-in.

“As we planned, we decided to ground our anti-racist conversation in local New Orleans community with a morning keynote, bring together interdisciplinary panels to help us learn from people doing this work right on our campus every day, and invite a national speaker who would push us a little out of our comfort zone,” she said.

Carolyn Barber-Pierre, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and Intercultural Life, was also part of the organizing committee for the teach-in. She said the event coming to fruition and with support from across the university is “amazing.”

“We have two great speakers and several panels that I think will start to raise the issues of how giving people language and better understanding, particularly around structures. Structural racism, white supremacy, paternalism and impact versus intent, what does that mean? And how has it negatively affected our ability to truly be the institution we want to be?” Barber-Pierre said.

“I think it is a great opportunity to begin the dialogue intentionally, strategically around these issues.”

Singh encourages faculty and staff who attend the teach-in to be engaged in the sessions and take notes to refer back to for themselves and for their respective departments.

“What are the equity indicators you can start working on when it comes to racial equity in your group? I think the biggest thing is to not treat race and racism like words, but like we’re building a muscle where we can not only talk about race and racism with one another at Tulane, but we can take action. And that is the defining feature of being an anti-racist is the action.”

The teach-in will end with a debrief on the learning from the day. Those who register will also be able to view “The Veil,” a documentary created by Tulane student Raven Ancar about the experiences of Black students at Tulane. Ancar’s documentary will be on view until April 4.

Additionally, the first 500 people who register will receive a workbook from Kendi, Be an Anti-Racist: A Journal for Awareness, Reflection, and Action, and a mask with the five teach-in key learning goals, which can be picked up at 200 Gibson Hall.

For more information and to register, click here: https://tulane.edu/edi/anti-racism-teach-in