Over the past year, so much has happened nationwide. Again this year, it is crucial that we all stop to reflect, commit, and act to create an antiracist institution at Tufts University.
Citizens around the globe have voiced their resistance to the brutality of U.S. law enforcement, and the enduring harm these systems visit upon Black individuals, families, and communities. Again, the actions of those in the present are preceded by a 400 year legacy of oppression. We believe that silence is violence.
Embedded in the very foundation of our country’s formation, these systems have shaped the trajectory of systemic racism, racial inequity, and social divisiveness across race. It is essential that we, as a Tufts community, continue contributing to the national conversation and contemplate the nation’s histories, the longstanding epidemic of police violence, and commit to our role as change agents in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.
In this spirit of solidarity and racial justice, the Chief Diversity Officers, Office of the Provost, and the Office of the President will be hosting our annual Day of Reflection, Commitment, and Action on Friday, June 18, 2021, the national observance of Juneteenth. While we encourage members of the campus community to engage in this important work with autonomy, we strongly encourage all members of the campus community to attend programming throughout the day, as they are available. We will have opening and closing plenary sessions where all of us in the community can come together to begin to develop the concrete steps we can take as a university, as well as a series of breakout sessions to choose from that will explore, interrogate, and engage attendees in meaningful contemplation and dialogue. Black Lives Matter.
Welcoming remarks - Open to Tufts University alumni and the general public
Keynote Address: Dr. David Harris, Managing Director Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Harvard Law School David Harris has just retired as the managing director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, a position he held since 2006. Under his leadership, the Houston Institute has created a national platform with its Houston/Marshall Plan for Community Justice, an initiative that seeks to change the way public policy is conceived and implemented. The project is designed to amplify the voices, knowledge and expertise of people living in communities devastated by decades of underdevelopment wrought by the war on crime and war on drugs. The Institute’s work is based on developing partnerships with others, emphasizing the directly affected and those working with them.
The Institute has several projects under way at this time, including work with the Beloved Streets of America project designed to renew and revitalize the hundreds of streets named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This work is a kind of mini-Houston/Marshall Plan along these corridors. The Institute has also launched its Justflix project, which works to link college and high school students to create short videos using their cell phones to document social justice, social service and activism in their communities.
David has extensive experience in many facets of civil rights issues, from police practices, to redistricting and domestic violence, as well as voting rights, fair housing, community development and justice reform. He has spoken extensively at local, regional and national forums on civil rights and justice, regional equity, fair housing, and the complex challenges facing American society in the 21st century.
Prior to his current position he served as founding executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston. During his tenure, the Fair Housing Center became nationally recognized among fair housing organizations. The center’s work generated several original analyses of housing discrimination patterns in Greater Boston and the organization became a leading force for fair housing and regional equity.
He previously served with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. His cases at HUD, including the landmark Jane Doe v. BHA, garnered some of the largest damage awards and most extensive affirmative relief in New England. While at the Commission on Civil he conducted studies of the civil rights implications of domestic violence in Connecticut, legislative redistricting in Rhode Island and highway construction on integrated neighborhoods.
He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University and a B.A. from Georgetown University. He has served as adjunct faculty at Cambridge College and a lecturer at Harvard Law School. He currently serves as the Chair of the Massachusetts Advisory Committee to the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights and as Vice Chair of the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry. He served as the Chair of the Medford Human Rights Commission for over a decade. In 2019, he was awarded Massachusetts Governor’s Award in the Humanities.
Breakout Sessions - Open only to Tufts University current students, faculty, and staff, unless otherwise noted
Bringing the Narratives of BIPOC Scientists to Life: Lessons We Can Learn form the Play "Young Nerds of Color,”
Tufts University School of Dental Medicine & Tufts Clinical and Translational Science InstituteThis discussion will be led by Debra Wise, the director of the play and co-moderated by Jonathan Garlick, the director of the Civic Science Initiative at Tufts University. Panelists will include Melinda Lopez (playwright), Des Bennet (Dramatrug) and a BIPOC scientist whose story was told in the play. The powerful framing of the narratives will be shared by this team who created the play to tell the stories of scientists who have stepped into the power of their identities throughout their career. The first part will include an overview of why and how they created "Young Nerds of Color". It will also include reading parts of the script as a prompt for discussion. The remainder of the time can be an open conversation through discussion of prompting questions raised in these narratives and what we can learn from.
Uplifting Black Voices in the Veterinary Profession (Closed Session: Cummings students, faculty, and staff only),
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts UniversityThis workshop will provide information on the historical inequities experienced by Black people in the veterinary profession, present the results of our anti-racism survey, and allow the experiences of Black members of our community to be heard. The breakout sessions will give participants a chance to discuss questions that are raised during the workshop, centering on actions needed to amplify Black voices on our campus.
Immigrants and Immigration: New Books from A&S Faculty,
Tufts University - School of Arts and SciencesThis session will provide an opportunity to learn of new and important scholarship from A&S Faculty. Anthropologist Sarah Luna will discuss her new book, Love in the Drug War, and UEP Professor Julian Agyeman will discuss his new edited volume, The Immigrant/Food Nexus, in an engaging and open conversation.
Recognizing and Working with Resistance (Closed Session: Faculty only),
Center for the Enhancement of Learning and TeachingAs we engage in individual and departmental efforts to add inclusive and anti-racist approaches to our curricula and pedagogy, resistance to this work may surface. Faculty may express concerns about time, resources, an unwillingness to sacrifice course content, or personal worries that may look like resistance during meetings or conversations. In this workshop, we will identify the myriad forms in which resistance may be manifesting in your departmental DEIJ conversations and efforts. Once identified, we will share an approach to responding to these challenging moments and offer a framework for responding derived from Motivational Interviewing.
The Office of Sustainability's Plan to Address Equity and Justice,
Tufts University – Office of SustainabilityAs a sustainability office at an institution of higher education, we recognize the vital importance of social and racial justice in achieving our vision of a sustainable world and the important role we play in repairing, reconciling, and decolonizing relationships with our community and environment along the way. We have drafted a document for action items and ideas for our office to work on equity and justice moving forward and would like to share it with the Tufts community and solicit feedback.
Breakout Sessions - Open only to Tufts University current students, faculty, and staff, unless otherwise noted
"Long Time Coming" A Conversation with Dr. Michael Eric Dyson on Racial Reckoning in America (Closed Session: Faculty, staff, and graduate students only), Tufts University School of Dental Medicine & Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts UniversityThis conversation will take a provocative dive into Dr. Dyson’s new book, “Long Time Coming” and examine his views on the racial reckoning in America over the past year. As we walkthrough Dr. Dyson’s letters to Emmett Till, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, and others, we hope to educate, inspire, and uplift our audience through a thought provoking, moderated conversation. We welcome questions from our audience, which will be fielded through the chat.
Oppression Then & Oppression Now – The Impact of Racism on Research, Public Health and Medical Practice, Tufts University School of MedicineThe goal of this session is to acknowledge the history and impact of racism as a form of oppression on research, public health and clinical medicine and how the TUSM community can be active anti-racist change agents.
Anti-Racism and Reaching New Student Populations (Closed Session: Faculty & staff only),
University CollegeIn this interactive session, we explore how the University College’s non-degree programs may have the potential to expand access to populations that are often under-represented at Tufts. We will provide a short introduction to a few sample programs that have demonstrated an anti-racist approach to their program design, including curriculum choices, marketing, and funding.
Building a Non-Hierarchical and Inclusive DEIJ Coalition, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts UniversityThis workshop will outline the ways in which the Anti-Racist/Anti-Bias Coalition at SMFA has used an activist model to create an inclusive environment for DEIJ work. The goal is to engage and activate as many community members as possible and to create a decentralized and non-hierarchical structure that supports students, staff, faculty, and administration in DEIJ work.
Deepening and Expanding Perspectives on Centering Students’ Voices in Educational Spaces, Department of Education Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice CommitteeOur workshop will hold space for dialogue focused on deepening and expanding perspectives on centering students' voices in the different educational spaces at Tufts. We take the stance that listening to students’ voices in all places--teaching, community-building, administration--is essential to sustaining a just, equitable, and humanizing environment at Tufts. We invite students to join us in expanding on why we center students’ voices to make progress on different forms of how we do this work, and toward what ends. The discussion will feature students and their voices, and will be organized around themes of learning, belonging, and power/positionality/authority in different spaces of the University.
Injustice in the Land – A Panel Discussion with BIPOC Farmers on Farming and Land Ownership in Massachusetts, The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and PolicyLand ownership is at the foundation of the food system. Racist policies and practices in the United States have worked to decrease BIPOC land ownership over time: BIPOC farmers owned 16 million acres of farmland in the 1920s and currently own only two million acres, about 1% of U.S. farmland. Land ownership is critical for shifting power, food sovereignty, and enabling BIPOC farmers to build wealth. In this panel discussion, BIPOC farmers will describe their experiences with farming and working toward land ownership in Massachusetts.