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Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation

Engaging the Challenge, Together. Information for a remote-only fall semester.
This past winter, Agnes Scott College was selected by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) as one of 24 universities to host Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) campus centers across the United States in a national effort to eradicate racial hierarchies and eliminate social inequities. As a THRT campus, the college partners with local and community groups as well as the campus community in projects that advance transformational racial change, promote racial healing activities and erase structural barriers to equity and equal opportunity. The taking of more black lives and national outrage has lent a new sense of urgency to this work.

To bridge the college’s mission of “engaging the social and intellectual challenges of our times” and the work of a TRHT campus, we are proud to launch our Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Courageous Conversation Series. These discussions will engage campus and community leaders, across racial lines, on race and racism.

View more upcoming events, ongoing programs and social justice resources on the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion's Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation webpage

 

 

Courageous Conversations: Anti-Racist Work Begins at Home

Courageous Conversations: Local Leaders Take Action To Combat Racism

Courageous Conversations: Tackling Social Injustice- Strategies for Action

 

Community Messages 

Read messages of solidarity and support  from members of our campus community. 

Dear Agnes Scott College Community,

I am deeply saddened and heartbroken by the complete disregard for George Floyd’s life. This incident has left a chilling effect, reminding us of the systemic racism and injustices that continue to plague our country and the perpetual racialized acts of aggression experienced by people of color every day.

My heart goes out to George Floyd’s family, and to the Agnes Scott community. I recognize that many within our campus community are deeply impacted by this traumatic incident, especially our students, faculty and staff of color, for whom these unfortunate events are too often a part of their lived reality. I share in your sorrow and outrage over this injustice. I know that there are no easy solutions to historic, deeply embedded racism. However, I do believe that now, more than ever, we must be committed to our values and mission to "engage the intellectual and social challenges" of our time. These times require all of us to work together to confront and condemn racial injustice in all its forms.

We are proactively thinking about how our campus community can contribute to the solution of healing and reconciliation for our city, state and country, as we move forward in unity and hope. As such, the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion is planning a series of virtual conversations on racial healing and transformation. Through this series, we will discuss our roles as community members in confronting hate and bigotry, while striving to create an open and equitable society, as part of the promise of our unalienable rights in the very foundation of our Constitution. I hope you will join us.

 

In solidarity,

Leocadia I. Zak

President

Dear Agnes Scott College Community,

Across the country, people are horrified by the recent taking of three more Black lives: Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. President Zak’s May 29th message echoed that outrage, not just about these killings but also about all the other Black lives lost while in police custody. 

What has haunted me the most, beyond the cruelty of these acts, is the unconscionable casualness that has accompanied them. This kind of indifference can only be possible when there is no regard for Black lives. I once heard that the process for dehumanizing another race often begins with racial indifference. I also know that connecting across our differences is an antidote to racial indifference.

Our work at the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion is centered and grounded in dismantling systems of oppression, including structural and systemic racism, as well as empowering each individual to take action that uplifts and builds community. In fact, the Center was named for an international human rights leader and the first African-American student at Agnes Scott College, Gay Johnson McDougall, who also experienced these indifferences during her time here as a student in the late 1960s. As protests and demonstrations against injustice sweep across our nation, it's even more pressing and necessary that we live out our institution’s mission of “engaging in the intellectual and social challenges of our times.” 

We are proactively creating space to get together and connect with each other’s humanity through courageous conversations about race and Rx Healing Circles. Next week, Monday through Thursday from Noon to 1 p.m., I have opened my lunch table to create more room for Black faculty and staff to come together, decompress what they are feeling, and share resources. You can join us here.

We continue to partner with our colleagues in the Division of Student Affairs to offer space for our Black students to connect and try to heal from the daily trauma of what is happening across the country.

Many have shared with me that the recent events in the country, in Georgia, in Decatur, and particularly to fellow students from Morehouse and Spelman have drained their souls and that they are tired right now; others have never been more energized. Please take care of yourself. Show up when you have enough air to 'breathe' for others. As such, we will host a conversation on anti-racist work that must be done at home by everyone, from all races. This session will be held on June 10th at 3 p.m. We will soon advertise other sessions that bring in voices from the city, the community, and from our student body particularly from our Black students. I hope you will join us. But words are not enough. In order to address, fix, and eliminate the systems that enable acts of racial prejudice and discrimination, we must all take action. This past spring, Agnes Scott College joined 23 other colleges and universities around the country in a national effort to eradicate racial hierarchies and eliminate social inequities through the AAC&U Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation project. As a TRHT campus, the college will partner with local and community groups on projects that advance transformational racial change, promote racial healing, and erase structural barriers to equity, equal opportunity, and social justice. The recent events have spotlighted a new sense of urgency to this work. 

I join my colleagues in the president’s cabinet in recommitting ourselves to ensuring that our policies and actions are aligned with our values and mission-- that we create environments of teaching, learning, living, and working where no one is excluded or “invisible.” 

We invite you to take a look at the Agnes Scott TRHT Website for ways to get connected. We hope you will not only join these efforts but will also lead in the stance against racism. 

 

Together we are stronger,
Yves-Rose
VP for Diversity and Inclusion 

Dear Members of the Agnes Scott Community,

The Agnes Scott Department of Public Safety stands with those who are outraged over the horrific actions that ended the life of George Floyd. Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to George Floyd’s family and friends.

As Agnes Scott’s Chief of Public Safety and a Black man raising sons in America, I am appalled and sickened by the circumstances surrounding the death of George Floyd. The blatant disregard for the life of Mr. Floyd has left me and my team infuriated and shocked by the actions of these officers.

The appalling actions of these former officers were inconsistent with procedures and protocols, and not reflective of all police officers. Many officers, including those of us here at Agnes Scott, work tirelessly to secure their community’s safety, trust and confidence. My team and I are here to support the college’s commitment to create a community that values justice, courage and integrity, to ensure that all Scotties and our campus colleagues are provided with a safe environment to learn, work and live, and to continually work with our campus partners so that together we can root out all forms of injustice.

Demonstrations have understandably occurred across our state and nation as a way to express legitimate concerns regarding police practices and policies, including the use of force, bias in policing and accountability. To effectively implement these practices and policies, the law enforcement community must be willing to listen, to embrace the concerns and criticism that are being given voice during these protests and to re-examine our commitment to maintaining a foundation of trust and understanding. Police departments must also identify and weed out officers that harbor explicit bias toward anyone.

Yesterday, President Obama called on “mayors, city councils and police oversight bodies to pledge to address police use of force policies.” My team and I are committed to this pledge, and to social and procedural justice. We will continue to embrace and respond to our community’s concerns. And we will ensure that our team continues to maintain the ethical values and standards that this community expects.

Please reach out to me or any of our officers if you have suggestions on how the Agnes Scott Department of Public Safety can partner with you in our collective fight against racism.

In Solidarity,

Henry C. Hope, Chief

Agnes Scott College Department of Public Safety

 

A message from Whitney Ott '03, President, and Giselle Fernandez Martin '98, Immediate Past President, Agnes Scott Alumnae Association

The Agnes Scott Alumnae Association Board of Directors stands against racism and intolerance. The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others are a painful reminder that many of our Scotties, in particular those in our Black Scottie family, continue to face hardships in the face of systemic racism, violence and injustice in our country. We share in your sorrow and outrage, and the Alumnae Board stands by each of you. We are an organization of strong, diverse leaders committed to building better Scottie communities. Accordingly, we must recognize these human rights issues and take them seriously. Now more than ever, our actions are critical. It is our duty as Scotties to educate ourselves, engage in difficult conversations and learn from one another so we can live up to Agnes Scott’s mission to “engage the intellectual and social challenges of our times."

Here are a few ways to engage:
  • Consider adding these books to your reading list: "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates, "The Color of Law" by Richard Rothstein, "Black Like Me" by John Howard Griffin, "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander, "So You Want to Talk about Race" by Ijeoma Oluo, "White Privilege" by Paula S. Rothenberg and "White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo.
  • View a list of anti-racism resources for alumnae here.
  • Participate in the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion's Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Courageous Conversations.
    • You can watch and read about the first conversation in the series, “Anti-Racist Work Begins at Home," here(link to second conversation "Local Leaders Take Action on Racism" when available.)
If you or a fellow alum needs additional support, please contact the Office of Alumnae Relations at alumnae@agnesscott.edu.