On 2/14/22 Sac State hosted its Antiracism and Inclusive Convocation. One of our very own Sac State interns, Joseph Sais (click here to learn more about him), who also serves as the Executive Vice President of Associated Students, Inc. on campus, spoke at the event and gave us some wonderful notes on this event to base this piece off of.
What happened at the event?
CSU Sacramento held an all-day convocation that was created by the Division of Inclusive Excellence to showcase the implementation of the Anti-racism & Inclusive Action Plan (70+ faculty, staff & Students drafted the Plan to create a vision of antiracism on campus). You can check out the Plan by clicking here.
Students were upset that the university was not taking quicker steps to begin implementation, especially when the university delayed the convocation from the fall semester to the spring semester. Read a piece from the The State Hornet (the student newspaper) laying out student concerns by clicking here.
The community of Sacramento & Sac state were able to go into different breakout rooms throughout the day.
(Dr. Love pictured below)
The breakout addressed in this report-back was called: "Liberation in Praxis: Respect the Process, Examining our Social Justice Perspectives," and it was lead by the keynote speaker Dr. Bettina Love; Athletic Association Endowed Professor at the University of Georgia.
According to Dr. Love's website (linked here) her work is defined as follows:
The aim of her scholarship is twofold: firstly, to advance how the field of education understands and critiques the systemic and structural racism of public education within the U.S.; and secondly, to advocate for abolitionist approaches in the field of education that seek new possibilities for educational justice.
During the breakout session Dr. Love spoke on how to apply abolitionist philosophy to education reform, with the goal of building a campus that can be inclusive. In regard to moving past information gathering, and moving toward action taking, she mentioned that there does not need to be another Climate Survey. Rather, she stated that there should be coalitions built and meaningful actions taken.
Dr. Love described how individuals can learn to incorporate the needs named in the antiracist framework to help create an anti-racist campus. Emotions are important, she said, but it is even more important to have an action plan that is constructive and that empowers folx to move forward.
(Ruby Bridges, as a child, pictured below)
Dr. Love mentioned the struggles of Ruby Bridges (the first African-American child to desegregate an American elementary school in the South) and the strength she had to gain an education. She pointed out how that historical event is similar to the current reality of BIPOC students being forced to pay higher tuitions that their white counterparts, and who are calling for changes to scholarship requirements in order to make quality education more accessible and attainable.
We want to highlight this powerful quote from Dr. Love during her time speaking:
Black Americans live in a constant state of surviving where all we want to do is thrive
This statement should always be lifted up and emphasized, especially when folx are navigating through the development of policies that are supposed to be "antiracist" and "equitable."
Why was this event important to social justice in Sacramento? What can readers do?
Convocation was important because it served as a healing process for many faculty, staff, and students. Important next steps include seeing that the Action Plan is implemented and seeing that the campus is not only consistently and continually acknowledging the pain of BIPOC community members, but that it is also making meaningful efforts to address the harms that have been inflicted upon these community members. Students need to call for antiracist action and for the provision of spaces to express issues caused by racism and discrimination going forward.
It is suggested that readers look into the history of racism in higher education (especially at Sac State), help to ensure that the Plan becomes implemented, and make sure to call the University out if they are not listening to the voices they have suppressed.