Diversity Digest: September 2020 Issue

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News and updates from the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI): Raymond Reyes, Robin Kelley and Naghmana Sherazi
September 14, 2020
Gonzaga Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

ODEI Resources

four separate images showing podcast and zoom and video resources 

ODEI Launches “Intercultural Yoga” Podcast Series

What is Intercultural Yoga? Through provocative conversation, this new podcast is designed to stretch us out of our comfort zone. Our assumption is learning begins where our comfort zone ends. Yoga means “union” and is a practice to sustain mental and physical harmony with one’s cultural context. In these conversations we want to provide an opportunity to breathe into new spaces of knowing related to the intercultural encounter of “the other.” Culture is a way of life that allows us to walk the spiritual path with practical feet. In listening to these conversations we are invited to challenge our assumptions and shift our interpretative lens to inform more innovative strategies on how to dismantle structural racism and other systems of exclusion and oppression. We’re proud to launch a new podcast featuring conversations of learning and exploration in the realm of diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • The first two episodes feature the poetic and insightful Dr. Manuel Gomez, who provided interim leadership in Student Affairs.
  • Additional episodes include discussion with a staffer unpacking her whiteness, and a student leader addressing challenges at Gonzaga.
  • Find Intercultural Yoga, with other GU podcast options, at gonzaga.edu/podcasts.


Tribal Land Acknowledgement Video Available

Wendy Thompson, Director of Tribal Relations reads the Tribal Land Acknowledgement. This video message may be played at meetings and events directly from YouTube, here. It's also available on the Gonzaga Diversity website: gonzaga.edu/diversity. We hope this will prove to be a valuable resource for all at GU.


Office Hours with Dr. Reyes

Looking for DEI resources and input on how to participate and facilitate difficult conversations? Dr. Reyes is holding an hour-long session three Wednesdays in September (9/2, 9/16 & 9/30), and then either two, or three Tuesdays in October, November and December, depending on holiday schedules. ‘Office Hours with Dr. Reyes’ is an open forum for students, staff and faculty to hold conversations, swap ideas and air views on diversity, equity and inclusion related topics. The forum was started as a resource and ‘go-to’ platform for all students, staff and faculty, directly in response to the George Floyd killing, and the racism pandemic we are currently undergoing. Look for dates advertised in Morning Mail along with the Zoom link to join the forum on the day Dr. Reyes will be holding the session – we look forward to seeing you there, so far we have had extremely interesting conversations on varying topics.

If you are unable to join the forum, please feel free to contact Dr. Reyes or Naghmana Sherazi: sherazi@gonzaga.edu.



Authentic Self-Promotion (or Why you should share your good news)

IMPACT, DEI’s group of Intercultural Multicultural Professionals Advancing Change, kicks off Sept. 29, at noon with Annmarie Caño, Ph.D., speaking on Self-Promotion and its value to others. She is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of Psychology at Gonzaga University. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association in two divisions (Society for Health Psychology and Society for Couple and Family Psychology), Caño has researched emotion regulation and intimacy in couples facing chronic illness as well as diversity and inclusion in higher education. She has more than 70 publications and has served as principal investigator on four National Institute of Health grants and co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation grant aimed at diversifying the professoriate. Caño also curates and edits public scholarship as an editorial board member of the National Center for Institutional Diversity’s Spark Magazine.

A Latina and a first-generation college student, Caño earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology from Stony Brook University and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Princeton University. She is enjoying exploring Spokane and the Inland Northwest with her husband, Lee Wurm, Ph.D., who is a new professor of Psychology at Gonzaga, and their 9-year-old son Joseph.


Campus Voices

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Two Difference Lessons in Race

Reflect on the personal lessons of two Gonzaga staff members: Kate Vanskike (Marketing & Communications) and Joan Iva Fawcett (DICE). 

Sundown Town Upbringing 

After joining the march for justice in Spokane, following the murder of George Floyd in May, I dusted off books I’d been meaning to read, like “White Fragility.” Once again, I realized I needed to make myself probe and really consider my own biases. Throughout the summer, I reflected on all the places that had taught me something about racism. The small town in Missouri where I grew up, the inner-city St. Louis neighborhood where I worked one summer, the Mission:Possible trip I took with Gonzaga students to Montgomery, Alabama. They all held lessons and insights on what forms my response to racism. While I had participated in intercultural dialogue groups and the IMPACT lunches on occasion, and often sought opportunities to expand my understanding of things like microaggressions and implicit bias, the reality is, I had still failed to see clearly my own position of power and privilege. And so, as I wrote about the places of my lessons in racism, I ultimately had to come to explore the landscape of my own heart and mind. If you’re interested, you can read the full experience on my personal blog at wordsncoffee.com.

– Kate Vanskike | Marketing & Communications

What America and My Mother Taught Me about Racism

"Black Face! Black Face" It only took a couple strikes from the pouty lips of my blonde, blue-eyed classmate before this childish taunt spread across my pre-school playground like wildfire. I do not remember what I did to upset this little girl, or even if I did anything at all. What I recall most vividly is the instant unison in my classmates’ voices, the derisive flames on the tongues of every four-year-old in my school.

Of course, I now acknowledge – almost 40 years later – that not every single child probably took part in the name-calling that day. There were likely silent witnesses all around me, perhaps even a few sympathetic glances.  Unfortunately, those kids fade into the background. What stood out – then and now – is how sad and alone I felt as the new girl.

I was also confused. The thing is I am not Black.

(Read the full story on Gonzaga's To Be Continued blog.)

Joan Iva Fawcett | Diversity, Inclusion, Community & Equity (DICE)


Faculty Highlight

Dr. Kristine Hoover Publishes Book Countering Hate: Leadership cases of non-violent action

Director of Gonzaga Institute of Hate Studies (GIHS) talks about her book: Countering Hate: Leadership Cases of NonViolent Action that explores case studies where hate groups (predominantly the Aryan Nations and factions there of ) have come to towns across the United States and how communities have responded and continue to respond. The book begins by recognizing that communities have a range of response strategies, and history provides us with examples of how some strategies have resulted in violent outcomes. In contrast, the 10 cases studies that compose the body of the book provide multiple examples of non-violent outcomes, persistence and resiliency. The 10 cases start with the rise of the Aryan Nations compound in Hayden, Idaho and include communities in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. The cases have been selected because each community reached out to the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations for guidance and expertise.

In many ways, the book tells the story of local heroes, lessons from ordinary people who have continued to provide leadership, standing for the rights of justice, freedom and equality to inform actions of today and the future. The timing of the release of the book coincides with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Aryan Nations compound as well as the 40th anniversary of the creation of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations. The closing chapter provides resources for communities to consider as they work for responses that are unique and contextualized for their specific needs. There is no one size fits all strategy, but rather a commitment to sharing options so that communities can build a culture of inclusion and be prepared to act with solidarity. The electronic classroom version includes quizzes and discussion questions, while the hard copy version this fall will include the case studies with discussion points for community reads.

In Our Community

No Honor in Genocide

Restorative Justice is a concept that talks about reparations. Why are reparations important? They are needed to bring us all on equal footing and combat systemic racism. Last month I spoke at the No Honor in Genocide rally. Restorative Justice is a concept that talks about reparations. Why are reparations important? They are needed to bring us all on equal footing and combat systemic racism.

Last month I spoke at the No Honor in Genocide rally; coming from the perspective of how Muslims from Bosnia and other parts of the world have been given refuge in Spokane, and know a thing or two about racial and ethnic cleansing or genocide; I as a Pakistani immigrant understand because I was brought up with stories of one of the largest and bloodiest partitions in history when India and Pakistan came into being in 1947. We, as Muslims stand in solidarity with our Native, Black and other oppressed/ colonized brethren. About 150 protesters marched east on Fort George Wright Drive on Saturday, advocating to change the name of the Spokane road that many Native Americans find offensive.

Read more in this Spokesman-Review story, Aug. 24, 2020

Naghmana Sherazi

National Efforts

Billionaire Robert Smith Urges Corporations To Take ‘Action’ On Reparations

Billionaire financier Robert F. Smith — the nation’s wealthiest Black investor, according to Forbes — doubled down on his belief that corporate America, which benefited from the slave trade, should consider making reparations to African Americans. Read more at Forbes

New Guidelines Aim to Break Down Racial, Gender Disparities for Young Girls of Color

“We want to give students, families and school districts the tools to change school climate, so that girls are no longer being suspended for reasons that are informed by adults’ race and sex biases – offenses like ‘willful defiance’ and dress code violations,” said Emily Martin, vice president of education and workplace justice at National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). “We want to spur school districts to abandon criminalization models and reliance on school police and instead focus on creating healthy, sustaining communities within schools.” Full article at diverseeducation.com

How Some Educators are Teaching Antiracism to the Youngest Students

Ankita Ajith can recall learning about slavery, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks at her Katy, Texas, elementary school in the Houston area. But looking back, Ajith, now a student at Northwestern University, also vividly remembers how superficial those conversations were, and how much she wishes that her predominantly white, suburban school district had given her the tools from a young age to understand America’s racist past and its connection with the present. Full story on PBS.org

UC Berkeley’s Niloufar Salehi on Restorative Justice in Social Media

Victims of stalking, harassment, hate, election interference and other abuses have for years argued that we need to rethink the way social media functions. But a consensus has been growing in recent weeks among people tired of the way social media works today, with advocates for reform ranging from civil rights groups to antitrust regulators to Prince Harry. The work of University of California, Berkeley associate professor Niloufar Salehi might very well play a role in such a process. Salehi was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to consider what it would be like to apply principles of restorative justice to conflicts that occur on social media platforms. VentureBeat story here.


International Day of Peace – One Peace, Many Paths

Since 2016, the Gonzaga Institute of Hate Studies has co-hosted International Day of Peace celebrations on the global date for all humanity to commit to building a Culture of Peace. In partnership with Spokane’s One Peace Many Paths, this year’s special guest Ann Dinan, Ph.D., will give a short talk entitled Peace Leadership: Be Peace for Peace. The virtual gathering will include Hope Lingers On sung by the Gonzaga Concert Choir, the Eva Lassman Take Action Against Hate Awards and an interactive World Peace Flag Ceremony. The virtual event will take place on Sept. 21, from 6-7:30 p.m. PDT. Registration is free and open to the public. For more information, see www.gonzaga.edu/events.

Have an event, story, or resource to share for an upcoming Digest? 


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