Anti-Racism Working Group
Exploring the Results of an Interdisciplinary Partnership at a Large Public University
Keywords:White supremacy, racism, advocacy, interdisciplinary, higher education
Institutions of higher education fail to address ongoing systemic racism within their classrooms, boardrooms, and commons when university personnel and students are not prepared to discuss racism and structural inequalities that exist within the campus community. To address this at a public, Predominantly White Institution (PWI), a group of students, staff, and faculty developed an action-oriented community to increase awareness and advocacy efforts against systemic and micro-level racism. Founded by faculty in the university’s BSW and MSW programs, the Anti-Racism Working Group (ARWG) is composed of faculty, staff, and students from multiple university departments. The goals of ARWG include education and awareness, and dialogue about race, ethnicity, bias, power, and privilege; cultivating interdisciplinary faculty and student relationships, and inspiring anti-racist actions. This paper discusses and disseminates research about ARWG’s inaugural year and early assessments of the program. Data includes responses from students who attended ARWG workshops and found them useful in their conceptualization and self-awareness around race, privilege, and taking anti-racist action. ARWG members benefited around three themes including skill development, relationship building, and the increased awareness and ability to engage in productive discussions around race, power, and privilege. We share these results with other universities and organizations to encourage the creation of similar programs and to facilitate learning from our experiences.
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