New initiative working on ending oppression

James Sharpe, Staff Writer

February 12, 2016

“I believe that we can inspire this to be an anti-oppression institution,” said LGBTQQA Coordinator Parker Hurley. “There are connections to be made and that was the significance of our meeting on Saturday.”

On Feb. 6, the Diversity Action Committee convened in the Community Center. This was the first meeting of the year for the committee.

“The meeting created an open and safe space for people to speak about racism,” said freshman Terri Daniels. “We spoke about how to make Guilford a racism-free campus and we created many steps for moving forward.”

The meeting was comprised of a diverse group of individuals, but everyone sought common grounds on the issue of oppression.

“There were 36 people in attendance,” said DAC chair and Professor of Economics Bob Williams. “There were faculty, staff, students and alumni at this meeting.”

At the meeting, much was spoken about the many hands of oppression that exist on Guilford’s campus. The DAC is currently working together to end this oppression.

“There are multiple forms of oppression,” said Hurley. “Rather, it is racism, sexism or any other form of oppression. We are not just working on anti-racism; we are working on anti-oppression all together at this institution.”

The committee is making multiple action steps to fight oppression on campus. At the meeting, they assigned positions and objectives to students and staff to work on before the next meeting.

These positions, roles and meetings are all voluntary. There is no monetary pay, but there are many accomplishments to come from all of this hard work, according to many members of the committee.

“This committee came along because we wanted to discuss anti-oppression and anti-racism,” said Latin Community Coordinator Irving Zavaleta Jimenez. “First, we are working on where we came from and understanding the history of racism at Guilford. Next, we want a report from stakeholders on campus and from black alumni.

“Finally, we are focusing on things to work on in order to move forward with anti-oppression work and initiatives.”

The meeting on Saturday was only the beginning of their plan to end oppression. The group plans on convening many more times this semester.

“People left the meeting feeling that we had some ideas on how to move forward,” said Williams. “The momentum from last semester was lost over break, but this meeting helped to get things going again.”

So did winter break cause any uncertainty among the groups members?

“People were really anxious,” said Hurley about the initiative. “Anxious that this was just another initiative, but there was a lot of investment. This is the first time that a coalition of students, staff and alumni have really come together to speak about these issues.”

The first meeting was a success and no one left empty-handed. The DAC is hard at work on Guilford’s campus with exuberant energy and goals to be met.

“We can continue to change current structure and policy,” said Williams. “We are a bubble in a larger society. We have to work not only internally, but externally as well.”

– See more at: http://www.guilfordian.com/news/2016/02/12/new-initiative-working-on-ending-oppression/#sthash.VO6LaJSF.dpuf

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