ASC Leadership on Racial Activism

Agnes Scott College recently held its latest Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation virtual courageous conversation titled “ASC Leadership on Racial Activism.” The discussion was hosted by the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion, and the Gué Pardue Hudson Center for Leadership and Service.

The discussion featured the four female Black vice presidents at the college: Robiaun Charles, vice president for advancement; Karen Goff, vice president for student affairs and dean of students; Danita Knight, vice president for communications and marketing; and Yves-Rose Porcena, vice president for equity and inclusion. The conversation was moderated by Dr. Tawana Ware ‘96, trustee at Agnes Scott College. The conversation was timed to also take place in support of of the national #ScholarStrike on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. The president’s cabinet canceled its regularly scheduled meeting to focus that time on racial justice and center the voices of the college’s four Black vice presidents.

The conversation started with Porcena providing context for the event, “Let me be clear on a couple things. The ScholarStrike is not a strike in the classic sense of strike, but rather a time of reckoning. A time for us to pause, take ourselves out of our academic bubble, and look outward and tell the world ‘enough is enough’. To our students and communities of color, we share the pain of this moment and we want to acknowledge that and talk about that.” Each of the vice presidents talked about the challenges and rewards of leadership. Goff challenged us to question the status quo in leadership and ask who is not present at the table. Charles elaborated on the invisible labor of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals on campus. Knight shared lessons for Black women in positions of leadership based on each generation of their lives. Other topics discussed included reconciling racial justice and business needs at institutions during the pandemic; exercising self-care for mental health for BIPOC leaders dealing with oppression and exhaustion; and ways in which students can get involved and educate people on important DEI issues.

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