The ten members of the Lift Every Voice and Teach workgroup finally met in person on the grounds of the University of Virginia over three days in September.
Sociologist Dr. Korie Edwards started the workgroup by leading a discussion flowing from her research into the power of race in interracial churches.
Later that afternoon we gathered at the recently built Memorial to Enslaved Laborers with DeTeasa Brown Gathers of the Descendants of Enslaved Communities at UVA. It was a powerful and focussing experience on how our academic institutions are shaped by historical forces of white supremacy and now how we have a responsibility to address and engage those forces in our classrooms.
We had been working in pairs over the past year on our areas of focus and over the next day and a half, we shared our findings and thoughts with the whole group which provided valuable feedback:
- Gideon Park & Aida Ramos: Structural Change
Beyond Institutional Performative Unity: Building a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable Christian higher education, with a specific focus on self-care and racial healing for faculty of color
- Mark Mulder & Kelly Figueroa-Ray: Christian Perspectives
Christian Perspectives on Teaching Race: An apologetics for teaching about race and white supremacy in the classroom
- Karen Jonson & Drew Hart: Narratives
Re-Thinking Our Own Narratives: Telling more truthful stories about positionality and race
- Patricia Brown & Peter Slade: Diverse Classrooms
Teaching Race in Diverse Classrooms: Approaches that teach to all students in the room, minimizing hurt and seeking redemptive possibilities for all constituencies
- Rebecca Kim & Nicholas Rowe: Positionality of Faculty
Recognizing power and the possibilities to decolonize, diversify, and amplify unheard voices
We also took time to look forward to our May 2023 colloquium at Hamline University, where we will be joined by twenty more colleagues from Christian and Church-related colleges and universities.