Anti-Racism Task force
Faculty Liaison: Fred Newdom
The Anti-Racism Task Force of the School for Social Work actively engages with the School's anti-racism commitment, all year long. At any given time, the Task Force's flexible membership may include students, faculty, staff, and administrators. All are welcome to participate.
Each summer, the Task Force sets its agenda and meets weekly. During the rest of the year, when most students are off-campus working in the field, the Task Force meets monthly.
August 2014 - May 2015
Time and locations vary throughout the year. For information on upcoming meetings, contact one of the faculty members on the Task Force.
Time and location to be announced.
*The first meetings are used to outline plans for the summer.
Role of the Task Force
The Anti-Racism Task Force exists to take action on anti-racism initiatives raised within the school community. Activities include, but are not limited to, campus-wide activities, exhibits, awareness-raising, and coalition-building. The Task Force also facilitates the referral of concerns around racialized incidents.
The group is open to all members of the Smith community and works with other organizations on campus to coordinate anti-racism initiatives.
History of the Task Force
Founded in the summer of 1994, the Anti-Racism Task Force (an ad-hoc committee of students, staff and faculty) was formed in direct response to a major demonstration by second-year students concerned about the isolation students of color were experiencing in the racism in the United States course. All sections at that time were identical and no section had a critical mass of students of color.
Subcommittees were formed to examine and make recommendations in all three of the following areas: the anti-racism course, racism throughout the curriculum in general and racism at the institutional level of the school.
At the end of the summer, the task force decided to meet during the entire year. That winter the task force recommended to the faculty that we make a commitment to work towards becoming an anti-racist (redefined later as anti-racism) institution. This proposal was adopted by the faculty.
This was the first of many changes initiated by and accomplished through the work of the Anti-Racism Task Force from 1994 to present.
- School for Social Work Anti-Racism Commitment
- Revision of the Racism in the United States course structure: The student and faculty discussions that were precipitated by a major student demonstration led to constructive work to improve the way that course is structured.
- Improvement of the Anti-Racism Symposium feedback survey: Improved feedback from this annual event enables the school to refine and enhance the symposium.
- Anti-racism installation: The installation depicted a representation of the most overt forms of this country's history of racism. It invited viewers' comments on slips of fabric hung from a clothes line surrounding the installation. Those scraps of fabric were stitched together to form a quilt, which is now on display in the second-floor Lilly Hall conference room.
- Collaboration with the administration of the School on statements on current events, informed by our anti-racism commitment.
- Facilitation of critical conversations following high-profile incidents of race-related structural inequity