Undoing Racism Workgroup

Undoing Racism is a community collective of students, staff, and faculty in the School of Social Work dedicated to fighting white supremacy at the individual, school, and structural levels.

This workgroup was established in 2019 after students, staff, and faculty took part in the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond Undoing Racism© workshops. Since then, the Undoing Racism workgroup has been working to implement the People’s Institute anti-racist community organizing model – recognizing that community organizing within our school is critical to move toward an anti-racist and anti-oppressive program to bring along all members of the community.

The Undoing Racism workgroup also emphasizes the role that white members of our community must take on to dismantle and undo white supremacist structures that benefit and maintain power for white people. Our work has largely been focused on building collective community – a fundamental step in the People’s Institute organizing model. Our dialogue and strategic planning to advance towards an anti-racist and anti-oppressive program and school community must begin with building relationships and strengthening community bonds to engage in internal and external anti-racism work.

Meetings are held monthly on the last Thursday of the month from 12-2pm. All members of our school community are invited to attend.

  • January 27th, 2022
  • February 24th, 2022
  • March 31st, 2022
  • April 28th, 2022
  • May 26th, 2022

Registration link

Detroit River Story Lab: Community Narratives and Carbon Economies

Detroit River Story Lab: Community Narratives and Carbon Economies
Rebecca Hardin and David Porter, University of Michigan

Monday, Mar. 28, Open Talks will be held noon to 1pm, and the Grad Workshops will be held 1 to 3pm.
In-person in ISR-Thompson 6050
Presentations will also be available online via Zoom

U-M’s Detroit River Story Lab is comprised of interdisciplinary faculty, partnering with a wide array of Michigan based organizations in efforts to reconnect residents with the Detroit River. The Story Lab uses the term “narrative infrastructure” to refer both to the fabric of shared stories that binds a given community together and the pipelines and platforms by which these stories are circulated and elevated. For decades, the needs of Detroit riverside communities’ have been framed in terms of physical infrastructure (transportation, utilities, etc). Today, community leaders and scholars alike have recognized how the arts, civic life, local journalism, and public history are also critical to social cohesion and vitality. Alongside Detroit’s legacies of inequity due to pollution, the privatization of shorelands, the bulldozing of neighborhoods, and mass-incarceration, has come the loss of sustaining stories about the Detroit River–or resident’s stories for framing sustainability for the city’s and region’s future. Learning from local residents who do (or who seek to) engage with its waters, the Story Lab partnership seeks to strengthen the narrative infrastructure of the Detroit River corridor with respect to its indigenous sacred sites, roles in the Underground Railroad, and long histories of water activism, among other themes. We work together through independent media, software platforms, innovative secondary and higher education curricula, and interpretive programing in public spaces. We are also developing youth participatory research trainings in river heritage, ecosystem regeneration, carbon accounting and equitable landscape design, to encourage direct personal ties with the river as well as community identification and advocacy along the corridor. Drawing from pathbreaking recent scholarship on Detroit’s history and collaborative sustainability science, we work toward possible narrative transformation from the one and only “Motor City” to a preeminent “River City” worthy of emulation as an international and intercultural confluence of innovations in climate change adaptation, active learning and environmental and social justice.

The 6th Annual Robert J. Berkhofer Jr. Lecture on Native American Studies: A Conversation with Robin Kimmerer

Robin Kimmerer, speaker of Berkhofer Lecture on Native American Studies

Robin Kimmerer, speaker of Berkhofer Lecture on Native American StudiesThe Native American Studies program at the University of Michigan requests sponsorship for the sixth annual Berkhofer Lecture on Native American Studies to be given virtually by Robin Kimmerer.

The past five Berkhofer Lectures, featuring Tommy Orange, author of the bestselling New York Times novel There There, were grand affairs, with some 300 people in attendance each year. These audiences consisted of students and faculty from U-M, interested residents of Ann Arbor, Native Americans from the Metro-Detroit area, and with the event now online, audiences worldwide. In asking Robin Kimmerer, a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment we seek to shift the focus of the Berkhofer lecture to highlight emerging indigenous literary talent.

Event link: TBD

Anti-Racism Series Session 3

Jazmine Williams McCoy, Director of DEI for Rocket CompaniesWe are pleased to officially announce our third anti-racism series event and speaker on March 28th, at 5:00pm, in Tauber Colloquium. Jazmine Williams McCoy, Director of DEI for Rocket Companies, will facilitate a conversation titled: Statements, celebrations, and donations: Exploring the corporate approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  Registration information is now available!

Equity Talks: Achieving Environmental Change through Nourishing the Planet (and Ourselves!)

As the heat of the planet rises, so too does the pressure on rising generations to find solutions to heal our environment. Such pressure gives rise to a new climate-induced crisis: our own mental health. How is climate change altering the way we relate to stress and trauma, our decisions about our future, and the increased disparities experienced by marginalized communities? Join us as we sit at the intersection of climate change, social justice, and mental health and discuss how we can all contribute to the harmony of our world and our own inner peace.

Centering Social Justice in Community Engagement

A thumbnail with event information on it, including headshots of Tabbye Chavous and Tania Mitchell

A thumbnail with event information on it, including headshots of Tabbye Chavous and Tania MitchellFaculty and staff across higher education are re-imagining service-learning and community engagement work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing racial justice efforts in the last couple of years. The inequalities we are seeing make clear the need to center social justice in these efforts.

The Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning (MJCSL) in collaboration with the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan published a timely special issue on Centering Social Justice in the Scholarship of Community Engagement, highlighting the opportunities and challenges of higher education civic and community engagement and ways for scholars and practitioners to move towards more just and equitable community outcomes.

This special conversation will feature journal special issue guest editors:

Dr. Tania Mitchell, Associate Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development at the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development
Dr. Tabbye Chavous, Director of the National Center for Institutional Diversity; Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; and Professor of Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan

Moderated by Dr. Cecilia Morales, managing editor of MJCSL, this special conversation will offer insights and experience in using community engagement as a practice for achieving social justice, within higher education and beyond our institutions’ walls. They will also offer advice for scholars seeking to define and advance social justice principles in their research and practice, as well as recommendations for how institutions can transform policy and practices such as hiring, promotion, tenure, and reward systems to advance the work of centering social justice in community engagement.

Participants will also have an opportunity to join topical breakout sessions with special issue authors that will explore:

-Designing and Measuring Student Learning Outcomes for Social Justice
-The Value of Interdisciplinary Methodologies for Achieving Social Justice
-Centering Community Partners in Knowledge Production

Zoom link

Recognizing Privilege: A True Beginning to Social Change

This session will explore privilege as it relates to dominant identities and discuss how one’s privilege has systemic advantages regardless if earned or aware. Participants will receive a basic introduction to privilege followed by an interactive activity that will identify individual areas of systemic advantage based on social group affiliation. The participants who would gain the most from this session are those who are willing to go beyond their comfort zone and engage in difficult conversations that will not only challenge them to be more conscious of their behaviors, but also serve as motivation for social change. This session is not intended to target anyone’s identity or make folks feel guilty about their privilege(s); rather, make them aware of their personal advantages and hopefully inspire them to be more inclusive. A brave space will be created so participants can engage in dialogue and not feel judged or targeted.
Learning Objectives:

Identify common advantaged identities
Understand their own privilege(s) based on association with various social identity groups
Reflect on personal experiences where privilege was consciously or unconsciously manifested in their daily interactions

This workshop is designed for University of Michigan master’s students, doctoral students, and postdoctoral fellows. For faculty and staff, please contact rack-prof-dev@umich.edu to see if we can accommodate your attendance.
Registration is required at https://myumi.ch/WJ24w.
We want to ensure full and equitable participation in our events. If an accommodation would promote your full participation in this event, please follow the registration link to indicate your accommodation requirements. Please let us know as soon as possible in order to have adequate time, preferably one week, to arrange for your requested accommodations or an effective alternative.

Discussion with Dr. Feranmi Okanlami: Race, Place and Ability

Photo of Dr. Feranmi Okanlami, smiling, with arms crossed
Photo of Dr. Feranmi Okanlami, smiling, with arms crossedDr. Feranmi Okanlami, Director of Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services, will lead a discussion that centers on the intersection of Race, Ability and the process of finding one’s Place or sense of belonging. Through sharing his own personal experiences of living with disabilities and advocating for more robust and inclusive services for university students living with disabilities, Dr. Okanlami will push participants to think critically about what a truly inclusive and accessible university culture looks like, and will invite them to move away just from theorizing about change, toward enacting the changes they would like to see.

“Approaching Equity and Justice in Music Teacher Education: Lessons for All Who Teach” – Carlos Abril

Carlos Abril, Professor of Music and Associate Dean at the University of Miami Frost School of Music and Chair of the Society for Research in Music Education

All music educators must be prepared to construct learning environments that are equitable and socially just. Much of that preparation begins in our university-based music teacher education programs, where a critical foundation is laid. Built on the assumption that this work is essential for teachers of any subject area, this talk will consider how three domains of the music curriculum—content, context, and pedagogy—can be approached through a lens of equity and justice. Research and personal reflections will inform a discussion of the imaginative potential and problematic practices of this work in today’s sociopolitical climate.

Carlos Abril, Professor of Music and Associate Dean at the University of Miami Frost School of Music and Chair of the Society for Research in Music Education Carlos Abril is Professor of Music and Associate Dean at the University of Miami Frost School of Music and Chair of the Society for Research in Music Education. His body of research seeks to document visible and invisible barriers to the study of music in schools, as well as to illuminate ways to make the study of music more relevant and accessible. His work is published in numerous research and professional journals, as well as in books. He co-edited the books Teaching General Music: Approaches, Issues, and Viewpoints (Oxford University Press) and Musical Experiences in Our Lives: Lessons We Learn and Meanings We Make (Rowan & Littlefield) and has published music and instructional materials for World Music Press and Macmillan/McGraw-Hill. His latest book, General Music: Dimensions of Practice (with Dr. Brent Gault), is currently in press with Oxford. Abril has served on the Research Panel for the National Endowment for the Arts and is the recipient of the Phillip Frost Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship.