I am very excited to have the opportunity to participate as a student presenter at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity. Our Pre-Conference Institute Session was “Developing and Empowering the Student and Young Professional Beyond NCORE”. My giveback project was Rollins Week of Action 2012. I will be posting my presentation materials here as a guide for those interested in giving back to their communities through a social justice initiative like Week of Action.
I will be vlogging (video blogging) about my time at NCORE during my trip from May 28th-June 2nd 2012, I will post the videos here, so tune in!
My Video- Week of Action, A Snap-Shot:
My Personal Handout-Insight and Guidelines for Week of Action:
What social justice issue/issues your project will address on campus?
While attending the NCORE, I was prepared to learn a great deal about race and ethnic relations in our society, but not much beyond that. I was surprised to discover many sessions exposing the intricate dynamics of oppression, which go beyond race and ethnicity. Specifically, I learned about intersectionality: when different pillars of oppression work to support each other in order to bring down people of multiple identities. I had always been passionate about learning about systems of inequality, but I was convinced it was impossible to make change that could truly benefit oppressed people across the board. At NCORE, I realized that the ‘-isms’ that we talk about in social justice work are tightly interrelated, and historically the discrimination and public policies that have held down people of any minority identity, conversely oppresses all minorities. Furthermore, many of the systems in place in American society are utilized to disenfranchise multiple marginalized identities, even though they may not appear as such.
For my Give Back Project, I exposed Rollins College to the intersections between racism, sexism, ableism, classism, homophobia, lookism, religious oppression, xenophobia, political oppression, and introvert oppression through a week long initiative called Week of Action which promoted equality through increasing literacy of these intersections. The 2012 Rollins Week of Action took place from April 16th-21st and each day of the week was centered on addressing two particular forms of oppression. We sought to not only raise awareness concerning how such oppressions are manifested, but also highlight the various ways in which these “isms” intersect. We educated the Rollins campus on how forms of discrimination interact on multiple levels, ultimately contributing to systematic social inequality.
Share one example of how the issue/issues manifest in your personal lives on this campus
All people in our society have multiple identity factors that intersect to make who they are. Personally, as an Afro-Caribbean, queer cis-woman I feel first hand how my multiple identities are interrelated, specifically because many of my identities describe marginalized groups in our society. I have been disheartened to witness real-life situations where economic inequality worked disenfranchise people in a lower socioeconomic class, as well as worked to keep racial minorities from achieving comprehensive education, robbing women and trans-identified people of equal employment opportunities, and blocking immigrant families from gaining the opportunity for American citizenship. These are just a few of the many situations that marginalized people feel the strain of oppression on multiple levels in our society.
Personally, I have had to overcome strong messages of inadequacy that come from our society about being a woman and being black in America. Not only do women have to deal with the strict ideal of beauty in our society, but it is an added pressure when that ideal includes whiteness as the standard. All my life I have been in the racial minority, and my experience was amplified when I began attending the majority white and wealthy Rollins College. I found myself not fitting any ideal of beauty in the eyes of many of my peers at Rollins, but through my awareness of intersectionality, I realized how society utilizes it’s multiple institutions to warp young minds into believing these oppressive ideals about beauty. It is so important to realize how multifaceted oppression is in our society, because if we do not, there is great potential that we will ignore the true roots of that oppression.
Share one example of how the issue and issues manifest in our campus life and system.
Rollins is a predominantly white, upper class, Christian institution. Many students do not realize the intersections of their identities and how they affect themselves and others. This affects the campus climate when students with oppressed identities become part of the campus community. The typical Rollins student does not realize that they have privilege and that their privilege affects other students; therefore many minority students do not feel comfortable on campus. Week of Action with a focus on intersectionality, draws attention to the privileges that students, faculty, and staff have, and engages the campus in conversation to start bridging dominate and subordinated identities. It is difficult to permeate the bubble of privilege in one week with activities and events that may not bring in students that have most privilege and are the most oblivious to their power within the system; having Week of Action as an annual program continues to bring up these discussions and concepts to a group of students that would not have been exposed to it otherwise.
What are the guidelines for your NCORE giveback?
18 Steps for Your Own Week of Action!
- Identify an issue related to social justice that you are passionate about.
- Research your topic’s relevance to your college campus.
- Create a mission statement and identify goals.
- Confirm your giveback goals with your Office of multicultural affairs.
- Separate topic into five main areas. For instance if you were doing a week about feminism, you could organize it into: employment equality, violence against women, beauty ideal, reproductive rights, and lgbt equality.
- Organize a timeline for your goals. Give yourself enough time to achieve your goals while juggling your studies.
- Form a committee. Reach out to people who will be dedicated contributors to your week of action. Try to reach out to people from many different corners of campus. Set up consistent meeting times and appoint a secretary to take notes during meetings.
- Structure of your give back. Identify the types of activities you want to do whether it be campus programming, community activism, or anything else you can think of. Identify who you want to work with and who could potentially support you financially.
- Finalize your giveback activities. Book locations on campus, set up a budget, and reach out to any companies you plan on working with.
- Design advertisements for your activities and plan where you plan to spread the word. Start a Facebook event and other social media advertisements, create t-shirt design, and work out advertisement locations (t-shirts, flyers, radio, campus newspaper, ect.).
- Apply for funding. Utilize your student activity funding, student government association, campus offices, and any other way you can cover the costs of your week of action.
- Check–in with your Office of Multicultural Affairs about your progress and ask for feedback.
- Confirm logistics with all parties involved. Buy supplies, order food and t-shirts, and double-check everything.
- Notify local and campus newspapers, news stations, and other campus and community sources to attend and cover your events. You want this to be remembered!
- Advertise Blast! Reach out every corner of campus and take the time to speak to people personally about your week of action and why you specifically want them to be a part. Talk individually to your administration, PR office, presidents of Greek organizations, presidents of cultural organizations, and professors who may give extra credit for student participation. Put up posters in unique ways and make sure your week of action is visible.
- Execute your week of action and keep calm along the way. Be sure to check in with your Committee throughout the week.
- Thank all who participated in your Week of Action, especially those who supported financially. Personalized thank you notes describing your success and small tokens of appreciation are great.
- Appreciate the work you have done! Create a memory book or photo album. Create a giveback presentation!
Thanks for veiwing!
If you have any other questions, please contact me at email@example.com
Class of 2014
Office of Multicultural Affairs