Exhausted, frustrated, heart-broken, angry – these were the feelings expressed by Chapman students, staff, and faculty who have gathered over the past week to collectively grieve the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbrey, and Breonna Taylor. The rise of white supremacy, ongoing police brutality, Covid-19, systemic institutionalized racism, black and brown lives lost – racial injustice is exacting a heavy toll right now. What is our path forward? Is social and racial justice achievable? Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences has long struggled to build a truly anti-racist campus culture at Chapman University. Our determination is unwavering as we fight for the soul of our nation at this historic moment. We stand in solidarity with the BlackLivesMatter movement.
Black Lives Matter.
Here is what Wilkinson is doing in the short-term.
*Fall 2020 is the inaugural year for our Africana Studies minor, which was successfully added to the curriculum after a long campaign by committed faculty and students. We are in the process of hiring a director for the minor.
* As many of you are aware, Wilkinson College has been long planning a fall interdisciplinary series, “Engaging the World: Leading the Conversation on the Significance of Race.” We began a preview of the series with our spring virtual film series, and will continue our interrogation throughout next year with guest speakers, a virtual film series, podcast, and student-centered scholarly conference. The fall schedule is forthcoming, but information about our next film event, A New Color: The Art of Being Edythe Boone, on June 19th, can be found here: https://www.chapman.edu/academics/undergraduate-education/general-education/wilkinson/index.aspx
* Wilkinson College’s First Year Focus Program is focused on the theme of “Engaging the World: Leading the Conversation on the Significance of Race.” The listing of courses is available here: https://www.chapman.edu/academics/undergraduate-education/general-education/wilkinson/index.aspx
* Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and the Fowler School of Law have partnered to organize a special community conversation with two remarkable and inspiring individuals whose commitment to combatting racial injustice has never wavered. Please plan on joining us on Tuesday, June 9th at 2 pm for a special virtual event featuring Jimmie C. Gardner and “Prexy” (Rozell W.) Nesbitt on “Turning Anguish to Purpose: The Path Forward.” Gardner was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for more than 27 years before being exonerated. Nesbitt is a Presidential Fellow in Peace Studies at Chapman and has worked for decades for civil rights reform. These two incredible speakers will help Chapman engage in a much-needed dialogue on the persistence of racism in our society and actions we can take towards positive change. You can join the event using this link Please click the link below to join the webinar:
In the long-term, Wilkinson College offers its partnership to the Black Student Union in its demands for the aggressive recruitment of black faculty and staff, mandatory diversity training, scholarship programs, the creation of an Ethnic Studies minor, and much more.
We are ready to continue the conversation with our students, faculty, and staff about the path forward.