Students Attend Advancing Racial Equity Institute

Nov. 13, 2019

areiCorey Hawkins poses for a photo after the Advancing Racial Equity Institute. Pictured (left to right): Larry Hearn, CJ Berry, Corey Hawkins, Jillian Wilson.

Four Webster University students recently participated in a students-only workshop focused on advancing racial equity on campus. Coordinated by St. Louis Graduates, the day was designed specifically for students seeking to enhance their understanding, relationships, strategies, and tactics as important political actors in the process of transformative institutional change.

The workshop was the second of a two-day Advancing Racial Equity in Higher Education Institute, a professional development and organizational learning program designed to promote dialogue, enlist commitment, and compel action to shift how access and outcomes differ by race and socio-economic status in higher education in Missouri.

Sophomores Caleb (CJ) Berry and Larry Hearn, and juniors Jillian Wilson and Fatima Isa were selected to attend the institute. They represented Webster among more than 50 students from Maryville University, Missouri State University, Southeast Missouri State University, St. Louis University, University of Central Missouri, and University of Missouri – St. Louis. Corey Hawkins, Webster University transitions coordinator, chose them because of their unique perspectives and interests regarding equity.

The convening of college advocates was led by Karissa Anderson, advocacy director for St. Louis Graduates and The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis. The Institute was planned and facilitated by Dr. Charles Davis and Isaiah Simmons of the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center.

Davis and Simmons began the day began with key findings from the Black Students at Public Colleges and Universities: A 50-State Report documenting what student success actually looks like for Black students at public colleges and universities in the United States and Missouri. By the end of the day, participating students were able to understand the impact of inequitable institutional policies, cultures, and practices on student, staff, and institutional outcomes and discuss organizing strategies to create more equitable institutions.

Webster’s four participating students will now work to engage Webster students in joining the Active Advocacy Coalition and participating in its upcoming advocacy conference in St. Louis.

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