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AWS Faculty Participate in Multi-Week DEI Study

Beginning in the month of October, the Core Faculty have been participating in a multi-week Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Study led by Annie Balagur and Charity Cimmaron. We choose to start our engagement in anti-racism work as a whole group by acknowledging and delving into our experience as a predominately white faculty. Over the summer the faculty committed to reading Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility” and we also more recently listened to a lecture she gave on the same topic (https://www.c-span.org/video/?447421-2/robin-diangelo-white-fragility) as study material. In this lecture DiAngelo stated “we are not just having a universal human experience. We are having a white experience in a society that is deeply separated and unequal in terms of race.” It is only from a place of awareness of the privilege granted to us by the color of our skin that we can move forward in engaging with the necessary changes needed in our larger society, within our institutions, and within ourselves to create a world in which we are all accorded the same levels of opportunity and freedom.

 Our faculty has worked in small break-out groups to discuss questions such as “Do we all here agree that white bodies are afforded privilege in this country?”, “What is your reaction to  that statement “niceness will not end racism” ?”, and “Why do you think DiAngelo asserts that white liberals often cause the most harm to BIPOC?”.

This study is expected to be the first of many studies that the faculty will work on together in an effort to build and strengthen its ability to provide an educational experience that is open and welcoming to students of all races and backgrounds and to continue to grow our own awareness and understanding. We would like to acknowledge that the source material for our first study is authored by a white woman, and we intend as we go forward in our study to listen to the voices of individuals of color who are directly affected by institutional racism in our world. As we as a community continue our commitment to growth around equity work, it is important to notice whose voices we are listening to and why. 

If you are interested in joining the DEI Committee, please contact Annie Balagur at a.balagur@ashevillewaldorf.org.