The murder of George Floyd in May of 2020 awakened our community to what we already knew: that racism in our institutions is hurting people and, and in extreme instances, killing them. We processed over the summer and experienced new shocks as the violence against people of color proliferated. In the Fall of 2020 the CEW community came back together resolved to move antiracism to the front and center of our thinking and our practice. We know that language is power, and we do language.
We decided to implement an initiative that involved both consciousness raising and action.
First, we wanted to get our own house in order. Therefore, we devoted the majority of our professional development activity that semester to reading and discussing the collection Writing Centers and the New Racism: A Call for Sustainable Dialogue and Change. Upon completion of that reading and discussion, we crafted a statement and a plan. Our statement attempts to lay out our vision for an antiracist writing center. The plan specified particular actions we resolved to implement to achieve that vision.
Since then, we have continued our reading and discussion and have worked to implement and develop our plan. Having turned our gaze inward for a hard look at our own policies, practices and messaging, we are now reaching out to other units and entities on campus to join efforts, continue the conversation, and contribute transformations in our institution that will truly make a difference.
The good news is that so far in our process of centering antiracism, we have found that our shifts in practice and policy are healthy and empowering for our entire community of writers, writing consultants, and staff. For example, we have been delighted to find the research overlaps and congruencies between antiracism and translingualism, which informs our work with international and non-native English-speaking students. Through the process of our linguistic justice initiative, community members have identified areas of justice to which we needed to pay more attention. This led to our focus upon gender inclusivity and more recently, disability justice.