-Laura Carroll, MRN Social Chair and Culture Fest Liaison
As we gear up for Convention, there is excitement in the air. Whether we are finalizing lodging and travel logistics, preparing our packing list, wrapping up tasks at work, organizing our meeting and social calendar, wondering what new and innovative discussions we’ll engage in, updating our resumes, coordinating plans to reunite with good friends or joyful at the thought of making new friends…Convention season is upon us!
I’m excited to share one event that you won’t want to miss!
On Sunday, March 26th from 8:00-10:00pm the Coalition for Multicultural Affairs will, once again, host Culture Fest. Culture Fest is a collaborative effort of the five singular Networks within CMA: (1) Asian Pacific American, (2) Latin@/x, (3) Multiracial, (4) Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous, and (5) Pan African. This year we’re recognizing and celebrating the 30th anniversary years for APAN, LN, NAIN and PAN!! Culture Fest has a resilient history throughout ACPA Conventions and has grown and shifted over the years to better represent intercultural advancements, celebrations, knowledge, and advocacy through creative expression.
This year the Culture Fest Planning Committee is working diligently to create a space that is more socially and politically conscious. With the historical divisiveness in our country and ongoing threat to our human rights, now more than ever we need safe spaces to come together as a community In Solidarity. The theme In Solidarity describes the collaborative atmosphere and collective depth that will be evident at Culture Fest 2017. We will join together in Columbus, OH for an evening of fellowship, reunion, affirmation, remembrance, and strength.
Our featured artist, Illogic, will express his thoughts surrounding our unifying theme. Illogic is an American hip-hop artist, poet, producer, writer, and speaker. A native of Columbus, OH, he began his career at the age of 16 when he claimed the 1996 Columbus Hip Hop Expo MC Battle. Since, he has released multiple full length albums and EPs and is with Weightless Recordings. You can check him out on:
- ACPA Convention Announcement: http://convention.myacpa.org/columbus2017/Illogic/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Illogicmusic/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/illogic614?lang=en
- Website: http://iamillogic.com/
As MRN, we will highlight the 50th Anniversary of Loving vs. Virginia with a video montage and moments of reflection. In 1967, this landmark decision was made by the Supreme Court and courageous Richard and Mildred Loving led with their case vs. the state of Virginia. It is our hope to raise awareness, spark discussion, and celebrate the countless interracial partnerships who have the freedom, rights, and respect to love one another. We welcome you to visit our table and share your thoughts. We’ll have plenty of resources to support multiracial students, deepen awareness of multiracial and transracial adoptee concerns, create a more inclusive campus climate, plus giveaways!
During Culture Fest, CMA and all of the Networks will be represented and we invite you to connect with us at our individual tables. There will be plenty of opportunities to learn more about each Network’s mission, goals, meetings, and socials. Light refreshments will be provided and there will be plenty of seating. Connect with us at CelebrACPA prior to the opening speakers. Then, join us for Culture Fest directly after the Opening Speakers! Find MRN events, presentations, and meetings during Convention on Twitter @ACPA_MRN and Facebook.
Check out our CMA family for more convention events in the links below:
With a little over a month left until convention, MRN is excited to congratulate the recipients of the 2017 MRN Awards!
MRN Outstanding Initiative for Multiracial Awareness Award
is presented to
for exemplifying an innovative approach to exploring the unique experiences of multiracial students or professionals
Jenifer Logia is an Outreach Coordinator and Management Fellow for the County of San Mateo, and is also the President and Founder of the UCLA Mixed Alumni Association. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2015 with a B.A. in International Development Studies and Asian American Studies.
As an undergraduate student, Jenifer served as a board member for the Mixed Student Union at UCLA for one year, and as co-director of the student organization for two years. Through Mixed Student Union, she helped organize the first and second annual Mixed Heritage Conference at UCLA, which was featured in the Los Angeles Times in 2013, and had over 100 attendees in 2014.
As President of the UCLA Mixed Alumni Association, Jenifer coordinates with UCLA alumni, students, and staff to plan events for alumni of mixed heritage/multiracial identity, and provides support for current undergraduate students.
Jenifer works in the County Manager’s Office in San Mateo County, engaging predominantly low-income residents in a variety of community development initiatives in the Bay Area.
MRN Professional of the Year Award
is presented to
For exemplifying significant achievements and contributions to their institution(s) regarding the promotion and encouragement of multiculturalism
Charlene Martinez is a multiracial Asian-Latina American, educator, mother, and cultural worker. She serves as the Associate Director of Integrated Learning for Social Change within Diversity & Cultural Engagement and is affiliated with the School of Language, Culture, and Society at Oregon State University. Her current work includes developing innovative and transformative learning programs which integrate the arts and social justice education inside and outside of the classroom. She is the co-founder of a multiracial retreat, student drop-in group, and oral histories project at Oregon State University. She received her master’s degree in education with an emphasis in multicultural counseling from the Community-Based Block Program at San Diego State University, and her bachelor’s degree in global studies with an emphasis in culture and ideology from UC Santa Barbara. Charlene’s professional experiences include work in cross/multi-cultural centers, and student life programs at Sacramento State, Mills College, Contra Costa College, UC San Diego, and as well as a non-profit, the Rockwood Leadership Program.
MRN Research of the Year Award
is presented to
Dr. Marc P. Johnston-Guerrero
For exemplifying cutting-edge research devoted to the enhancement of multiracial education
Marc P. Johnston-Guerrero is an assistant professor in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program at the Ohio State University. He received a Ph.D. in Education (with an emphasis in Higher Education & Organizational Change) from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he worked as a Graduate Student Researcher for UCLA’s Office of Residential Life and served as a Graduate Fellow in UCLA’s Institute for Society and Genetics. These experiences integrated his background in Human Biology (BS, Michigan State University) and Student Affairs Administration (MA, Michigan State University). He has worked in multicultural affairs units across several institutions, including New York University and the University of Arizona. Marc’s research interests focus on diversity and social justice issues in higher education and student affairs, with specific attention to advancing and nuancing understandings of multiraciality. He has given over 70 presentations on best practices and research findings at conferences around the country and has co-authored over 25 articles and book chapters focusing on diversity related issues. Marc is active in several higher education associations, including being a past MRN Co-Chair and currently an editorial board member for ACPA’s Journal of College Student Development and NCORE’s Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity.
MRN Graduate Student of the Year Award
is presented to
For exemplifying significant promise and potential to exceed in Higher Education as well as an interest in promoting and encouraging multiculturalism
Victoria K. Malaney is Ph.D. student in the department of Educational Policy, Research and Administration focusing on Higher Education in the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Victoria’s research interests focus on multiracial college students, intergroup dialogue, race, and student activism. Victoria is a research assistant for Dr. Chrystal George Mwangi and works in the Dean of Students Office as a Special Assistant to the Deans supporting students in personal and academic crisis. Prior to graduate school, Victoriawas an AmeriCorps VISTA and VISTA Leader for two years. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College and her Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from UMass Amherst. Victoria is the Current Chair of the American College Personnel Association’s Multiracial Network (MRN). She was formerly the Scholarship and Resources Coordinator and has been in involved with MRN since July 2012.
Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS) is an annual conference, journal (JCMRS), field of study, and scholarly and activist community. Their fourth conference is in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California, hosted by the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture. With Keynote RUDY P. GUEVARRA JR.; over 50 panels, roundtables, and caucus sessions organized by the CMRS Association; two feature film screenings as well as a LIVE performance show and Performance Sampler produced by Mixed Roots Stories. Don’t miss it! Register today!
MRN will also be at CMRS facilitating a Student Affairs Caucus from 1:00-2:30pm on Saturday, February 25th. Room location will be determined.
We hope to see you there!
-MRN Leadership Team
By: Annette Girion -MRN Scholarship & Resources Coordinator
Many of our schedules cram up around this time of year. In my own experience, since the beginning of the academic year, I have progressively grown busier, spoken less to my family, had fewer gatherings with my friends, and have completely stopped doing any of my hobbies such as reading for pleasure. But with the holidays comes a break from all of those factors contributing to my ever full schedule: school, work, and everyday responsibilities. I have never had to hustle so much as I have within this last semester, so I am going to take advantage of my small break like I never have before, and reconnect with everything I have been neglecting including my hobbies, my friends and family, and myself.
A great tool for these kinds of reconnections is a book that I discovered during my search for multiracial student resources. It is called Mixed: Multiracial College Students Tell Their Life Stories, edited by Andrew Garrod, Robert Kilkenny, and Christina Gómez and it was published in 2013. The compositions in this book are by multiracial college students and take us through their identity development processes, recounting specific people and moments in their lives that their identities had an impact on. The personal stories cover their journeys as multiracial students who have struggled with their identity, felt in between two races like they don’t belong, and who find appreciation for the multiple perspectives built into their lives. As I read through the stories of multiracial students coming to terms with their racial and ethnic identity, I was surprised to discover how shockingly similar some of these students’ experiences were to my own. Each essay served as a reminder of my own experiences growing up in a multiracial household, and reading the book with the holidays approaching, put a focus on traditions. I cannot help but reflect on the differences and similarities of my two cultures.
A few years ago on Thanksgiving, I had a unique experience of my Japanese family and my American family coming together for the first time. My cousin from Japan was visiting and we brought her to our Thanksgiving potluck. I remember feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness because I was unsure how to split my attention and worried about my cousin having a good experience as her English was not fluent. It ended up being as relaxing and enjoyable as any other Thanksgiving, except I got the added pleasure of having both sides of my family who live continents apart in one room, getting along and learning from each other. A few years later, just days from now, I get to have both sides of my families together again, with my aunt and grandmother from Japan visiting. I am grateful to be able to spend time with both sides of my family and if I could change one thing, it would be to have more time with them; time that is demanded from me by my many commitments. I realize that I am lucky to not only have two such differing cultural experiences because of my mixed race, but that both sides of my family accept each other and can enjoy each other’s company.
The holiday season is a time we get the opportunity to spend more time with our families and reconnect with ourselves. Just like Mixed was able to provide me with a look back at one of my identity realizations during the holidays, consider it as companion stories to help you with your reconnection to your own identity and appreciation for your cultural celebrations and traditions, whether it is one or many.
You can get a preview of the book here: https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00H2G2KBW&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_4A3mybPQZRYZM
Consider the book, Mixed for reconnecting with yourself, with your friends and families.
This time of year always makes me really reflective. I don’t know if it’s the holidays or just the first time we get to catch our breath after the busy start to Fall, but November in particular has become a Pondering Month for me. This November, like this whole year, there’s been a lot to consider. First, we had the twists and turns of the election, which sent me and many others reeling afterwards. Second, I turned 30, which feels like an especially big milestone when coupled with the fact that my wife and I just announced the arrival of our first child in April. And to top it off, the Loving movie just came out, with widespread release this week. These three moments, the election, my personal life changes, and the Loving movie feel very interconnected in my mind, and I hope my thoughts here have relevance to the entire MRN family.
Back in June, MRN celebrated the anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia (1967) court case, which invalidated the laws prohibiting interracial marriage. We held a Twitter chat, of which I’ve shared some screenshots here. You can see these are issues and discussions with a wide range of impacts that we still feel today, even if to our more modern thinking an interracial marriage does not seem uncommon at all.
I’ve included a few screenshots of our Twitter chat. It took place the day after the Orlando Nightclub shootings, another heavy time of year when oppression felt very real and dangerous, something we sometimes forget just living our lives out. You can find the full story here: https://storify.com/ACPA_MRN/mrn-loving-day-chat-mrnlove
The Loving case feels especially relevant to me today as I think that when my parents were children, they wouldn’t have been allowed to marry. I wouldn’t exist today if it wasn’t for this case. My Latino mother could not have married my White father some 30+ years ago and me, a multiracial individual talking about race on a Multiracial blog, couldn’t have been possible. When I put it in terms of my lifetime, or my parents’ lifetimes, that court decision doesn’t seem that long ago.
This last tweet, in particular, caught my eye. As I look to the future, my own child is coming into a world where multiraciality will be even more common, though that doesn’t mean easier. My wife identifies as Korean American and our child will be Korean, Latino and Caucasian. I hope my own pride at my multiraciality, a way of identifying myself that I did not use until introduced to the concept in college, will help him grapple with the question of race much earlier than I did. I also hope to continue to instill the values of three different cultures in a blend of positivity, honoring those who went before us while acknowledging that he is going to look at the world through different eyes then we, his parents, or his grandparents. It’s funny, because I feel “ready” to raise a multiracial child, but not a Korean child. My wife feels ready to raise a Korean child, but does not fully grasp the challenges of multiraciality.
Sounds like we just acknowledged one of the many struggles of parenting we’re about to face together.
One comfort was the baby party we threw, where both sides of our family came together for the first time since our wedding. It was a reminder that we are not alone in raising this child with all the values of all his backgrounds. Multiracial isn’t just our “exotic” complexion, it’s both our families’ way of life now.
All this talk about the past and the future brings me back to the present, at a time when we feel a lot of uncertainty about the new regime in our federal government. And with that uncertainty, there comes fear. Fear that feels much more informed and tangible than in any election I can remember. And as we look around, I think it’s important to remember that we’ve never really had to stop fighting for something. In 1967, it was fighting for something as basic as interracial marriage. Today, it’s not like racism, homophobia, sexism, islamophobia and the litany of others has gone away. If you look at the Loving story, the Supreme Court Case was the last step. The grassroots movements, the culture shifts and earlier court battles were key to getting to the end of the story. And perhaps one day my son will have his own reflection on how the rights of any of the number of his identities were won and fought for during his parents’ lifetime.
As a final note, if you haven’t already, go check out the Loving movie. What an easy way to reimmerse ourselves in the history, the struggle, and reconnect with the individuals that often get lost in the story of the movement. We’ve gotten to work closely with Focus Films already, and we really believe in the cause of the movie and appreciated unpacking the stories behind it. I hope you have that opportunity too.
May we keep doing the work together, learning from the past to make ours and our children’s lives better. Happy belated Thanksgiving and may these winter holidays be a time of reflection, hope, and togetherness for you, our MRN family.
-James Engler, MRN Past Chair with support from Rachel Luna, MRN Past Chair
As a reminder of our ACPA President Donna A. Lee stated in her email on November 14th “In this time where the issues and challenges of our world may feel overwhelming, and disempowering, I encourage you to focus your attention on the light. Take time to breathe and take of each other. Take care of yourself. And know that we will persevere through these challenges when we truly work together.”
MRN would like to share resources collected after this month’s election results. The resources were collated by the Higher Education Case Managers Association.
MRN wants to emphasize the need for us as professionals and for the students we work with to take a moment for self-care at this time. A lot of anticipation and anxiety has been building up for many of us over the past few months and many may be experiencing a range of emotions, both positive and negative, leaving our students and selves feeling drained.
Now that the election season has come to a close it is important to take time to acknowledge our emotions and do what is best to find our own sense of balance. For each person balance looks different–some need to unplug from media, engage in physical activity, eat a balanced meal, or surround themselves with a community of support. However that looks for you, we hope that you do what you need in order to achieve wellness at this time.
As we continue to work with students who may be feeling excitement, exhaustion, confusion, or even trauma following this election season, it is important that we provide the best resources that we can. Below HECMA has linked a few examples that have been posted for coping with election stress, as well as a few tools that may be helpful for some of the students you may see over the next few weeks.
Furthermore, in the statement we’ve referenced by our ACPA President Donna A. Lee you’ll see additional resources.
- CAPS at the University of Michigan: https://caps.umich.edu/content/manage-election-related-stress-information
- University of Northern Colorado Counseling Center: http://www.unco.edu/counseling-center/pdf/Election-Stress.pdf
- The College Fix: http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/29824/
- Ways to Manage Election Stress:
- Anxiety Levels at UVA: http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2016/11/nearly-87-percent-uva-students-election-anxiety
- 7 Cups of Tea: A free online and anonymous chat tool to speak with a trained listener.
- Pacifica: A free app for Android, iOS, and the web that helps teach mindfulness and encourages individuals to use CBT and medidation to cope with stress and anxiety.
- Headspace: A free app to teach mindfulness and meditation.
MRN would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions on ways we can come together as a community to advocate for our needs before, during, and after convention. Contact us at email@example.com
Join the Multiracial Network in a hour long webinar discussion on Friday, October 28th with Dr. Kathleen Odell Korgen (Editor) and Dr. Marc Johnston-Guerrero (Chapter author) as they discuss in the first book to offer a closer look at the effects of multiracial citizens on race-related policies.
Registration link: gotowebinar.com/register/9102985786355176193
Webinar is open for all and is free!
Downloadable mrn-webinar flyer.
“As the number of people who identify as multiracial is growing rapidly, policies that relate to race continue to lag behind, failing to properly account for the ways that a multiracial citizenry complicates programs aimed at mitigating the effects of racism, ameliorating past discrimination, and more. The book takes up key questions relating to the intersection of race-based policies, social welfare, education, and multiracial citizens, while drawing on tools and techniques from a range of fields to present a picture of where we’re at today and what possible steps are needed to create more effective and more inclusive policies in the future.”
Purchase the book and get 20% off of the price by using code PR20RACE
Current Chair: Victoria Malaney (she/her/hers)
Victoria K. Malaney is Ph.D. student in the department of Educational Policy, Research and Administration focusing on Higher Education in the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Victoria’s research interests focus on multiracial college students, intergroup dialogue, race, and student activism. Prior to graduate school, Victoria was an AmeriCorps VISTA and VISTA Leader for two years. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College and her Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from UMass Amherst. Victoria is the Current Chair of the American College Personnel Association’s Multiracial Network (MRN). She was formerly the Scholarship and Resources Coordinator and has been in involved with MRN since July 2012.
Past Chair: James Engler (he/him/his)
I serve as the past chair of the Multiracial Network and am very excited as the 2016-17 year is underway. When I was in graduate school, I attended my first ACPA conference in Louisville 2012. I remember wandering around and being overwhelmed by so many presentations and socials and groups. A friend of mine had told me to come to the MRN social and as soon as I walked in there I was greeted like a family member by people I’d never even met. Before I even realized it, I felt safe and happy and home.
Since then, I’ve been involved in the MRN leadership team as Historian, Blog Coordinator, and now in the past chair position. Joining the MRN family was just the beginning for me. MRN connected me to the larger ACPA network and introduced me to the broader higher education world. MRN has shown me what advocacy looks like, whether it’s educating privileged groups with our “10 Tips for Working with Multiracial Students” or being part of a bone marrow donor campaign since multiracial folks have more trouble finding a match. MRN has even led to my first public spoken word performance at Culturefest last year. As much as I challenge my students to grow and develop, MRN has give me that chance to grow too. Currently, I am the Program Coordinator for UC San Diego Parent and Family Programs.
Past Chair: Rachel Luna (she/her/hers)
Hi there, I’m Rachel Luna. I’ve been connected to MRN since 2010 and am currently Past Chair. I joined MRN as a graduate student and immediately found a professional and personal home. I’ve stayed involved with this community of scholars because I continue to learn with and from our members. Through my involvement with MRN, I’ve presented at conferences, hosted webinars, enjoyed socials, read articles, and chatted on social media with some really great folks. I spend my days as Student Services Coordinator at Samuel Merritt University in the San Francisco Bay Area. Most nights and weekends, I’m wearing my other hat as a first year doctoral student in Higher Ed Leadership at Colorado State University.
Awards Coordinator: Rob Kunicki (he/him/his)
Rob Kunicki was born and raised in New York City to a native New Yorker and an Ecuadorian immigrant. A first-generation college student, Rob holds a BSEd in Adolescence Education with a concentration in Mathematics and a MSEd in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from St. John’s University as well as a MA in Higher Education Administration from Stony Brook University. He has experience working in New Student Orientation, First Year Seminar Peer Mentoring, and Fraternity and Sorority Life. Currently, Rob serves as the Assistant Director for Student Success, Assessment, & Enrollment Initiatives at Baruch College of the City University of New York where he has been able to translate his experience in student life to his work with retention and graduation initiatives in Enrollment Management. Rob is driven by his passions for education, exploring cultural identities, leadership development, and equal opportunity and access. He is a self-proclaimed data nerd who works diligently to support his Division to improve the student experience and meet strategic priorities. Rob also serves as Chapter Advisor for Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at St. John’s. His interests include traveling, exercising, and binge-watching Netflix.
Social Chair: Laura Carroll (she/her/hers)
Hello! My name is Laura Carroll and I’m an Academic Advisor for the College of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh. I received my Master of Education in College Student Personnel Administration from James Madison University and my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Slippery Rock University. I’ve been an active member of ACPA for the past 5 years, and am excited to return to the MRN Leadership Team. Initially, my interest in MRN derived from my experiences as a multiracial individual. After learning several theories in graduate school, I became fascinated with multiracial identity development. I began intentionally reflecting on and exchanging stories with fellow multiracial students, staff, and faculty. I quickly noticed the varied struggles and successes that we had in common and those that differed. Through my involvement with MRN, I have enhanced my knowledge of multiracial research and issues within higher education. I’ve had opportunities to coordinate and execute social and cultural events with some amazing individuals and thoughtful artists. MRN provides a safe space for multiracial educators and allies to engage in critical dialogue, which I truly value.
It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences. -Audre Lorde-
MRN Liaison: Michael Dixon (he/him/his)
My name is Michael Dixon and I serve as the Director of Intercultural Services at Manchester University in the midst of my 6th year. I’ve worked in higher education since 2004 in a variety of departments (intramurals, residential life, multicultural affairs, student activities, admissions, career development & international student support services) at 10 different institutions. I’m currently working on a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Higher Education Administration at Indiana State University via distance education.
Scholarship & Resources Coordinator: Annette Girion (she/her/hers)
I am a student affairs professional with a passion for serving higher education students. I graduated from UCSD with majors in Communication and Psychology. I am now in my last year of graduate school at Claremont Graduate University, studying Higher Education/Student Affairs. I spent the summer as an Orientation and Student Life Intern at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, where I got the opportunity to work in both the student center and residential life. I am also beginning an internship in the Employer Relations at the Career Center at Cal Poly Pomona this year.
Social Media Coordinator: Kelli Campa (she/her/hers)
Hello MRN folks! My name is Kelli Campa and I am excited to be apart of MRN again this year! I work at SUNY Binghamton as a Resident Director. Originally a California native, I received my Bachelors in Communications from California Lutheran University and my Masters in Higher Education from Iowa State University. In my free time I love to travel (both domestically and internationally), am an avid Netflixer, and hang out with friends.
MRN Advisory Board: Beth John (she/her/hers)
Beth John has been working in higher education for 15 years. She is currently the Director of First Year Experience and adjunct faculty member in the Higher Education Leadership Graduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Beth also serves as a Dissertation Advisor for the Edgewood College Doctoral program in Educational Leadership and a Research Assistant for Roar Enterprises, Inc. Beth received her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Higher Education from Edgewood College and her M.S. in College Student Personnel from Western Illinois University. Beth’s primary areas of interest and research include multiracial identity development, diversity and inclusion, first year students, and students in transition. Beth has been actively involved with ACPA for many years and has held several leadership positions within the Commission for Student Involvement, Standing Committee for Multicultural Affairs: MultiRacial Network (MRN), and the Mid-Level Community of Practice. She has been invovled with MRN since 2009 and is a past chair. Beth serves a co-advisor to the first Mixed Race Student Union (mXd) at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, which was established in 2015.
Identity development is cyclic, contextual, and complex. It is never set or static, and facets of identity can be salient at different times, in a variety of places, and triggered by certain events.
Over the past two months, my family and I have navigated personal, professional, and political transition from California to Minnesota. For those folks who know me, my life is in a constant state of transition, which causes perpetual reflection, interrogation, and processing what it means to navigate daily tasks with the identities I hold. Just when I thought I had a firm grasp on my race, gender, ability, class, sexuality, and the intricate intersections of my narrative, I have found myself humbly re-learning and exploring my politic as a queer, cisgender, mostly-able bodied, Multiracial, Asian, womxn of color.
Transition is nothing to joke about.
As I continue to contemplate my positionality in my new community and workplace, the intersections of my identities, and how to make impact, I am challenged to recognize the ways that the personal continues to be political. As a racially ambiguous mid-level administrator at a predominantly White institution, I’m thinking all the time about how to tactfully address microaggressions in my role. Whether it’s “you’re intense,” being mistaken as a Latina or Chicana, or being positioned as a “model minority,” I’m finding myself having to pick and choose how to address these assertions, while also understanding that racial equity and campus climate are not solely placed on my shoulders. All this, while I’m navigating the cyclic nature of racial identity development, immersion, and finding affinity and community in my new home.
I find myself wondering- how do I pick and choose how to address the many subversive forms of racism. Do I address it head on? Use some good ol’ passive aggressive comments? Do I make a funny comment? Do I wait and talk to people ‘offline?’ Use all these moments as educational with colleagues, supervisees, and/or students? Do I remain silent until I have more capital? The answer really is- I don’t know. I’m not really sure. I’m relying on friends, mentors, accomplices to help me navigate the challenges of being a small, younger, brown, Multiracial, cisgender womxn in my current context. It’s complicated. Transition is complicated. Transition is especially complicated when moving from a feminist, holistically caring, trauma-informed, intersectional work environment, to a much more uncharted context. Even in my experience navigating, I just don’t really know.
So this blog post, albeit short, is a shout out to those new and mid-level professionals navigating new spaces and contexts. Who are navigating transition. Who are struggling, searching, and hoping to find solidarity and support in racialized, gendered, sexualized spaces that are White supremacist. The microaggressions are real. What you are perceiving is real. You are real. And precious, and deserve to take care of yourself and your community. You will find your way to navigate, and master those oppositional tactics, but just know- you are not alone. You matter. You are not alone. And you have the capacity to be transformative.
Heather C. Lou (she/her/hers) is a past chair of the Multiracial Network. She enjoys thinking critically, making art, cuddling her cat, Olive, and love as praxis.
A Call for Healing, Solidarity, and Action
We have been silent. But the silence has been intentional. We are in mourning and we are simply trying to heal. From Orlando and Baton Rouge to Dallas and Minnesota, we are in shock at the lengthening chain of violence against people of color. Over the past three years, we have continued to observe increased awareness of police brutality against marginalized populations. Know this, the number of tragedies are the same. The behaviors correlated with the propagation of these issues have not changed. The system has battered, bruised, imprisoned, and murdered folx of color for centuries. What has changed is the increased visibility of these incidents through social media and technology.
Some of us are trying to protect our psyches. Some of us must be strategic in how we protect our bodies. Some of us are trying to reconcile the fact that we may not be able to guarantee the safety of our loved ones. In our silence, we’re making sense and making meaning. We wonder. How many of us are too tired, angry, hurt, and/or overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness? How can we make space for you and others in the middle of this? How can we serve as advocates, allies, and activists within ACPA, our campuses, and our field? Here are some of our thoughts:
We live in a time where dichotomous thinking has pitted us against one another; but we recognize an alternative way to be – to be both/and. We acknowledge for example, that one can be both pro-Black lives and pro-police. As the Coalition of Multicultural Affairs, we wish to emphasize that we are anti-violence in all of its forms, and against police brutality. As we have observed in recent weeks and months, police brutality geared towards people of color is more likely to result in violence – in serious injury or death.
We invite you to be mindful.
Appreciate both intent and impact. If someone is making a conscientious effort to learn and serve, allow grace if mistakes occur. Use these errors as teachable moments for growth, not spaces for shame.
We encourage you to practice self-care.
Utilize your personal and professional support system, including allies and human resources options that may be offered by your employer. Utilize sick leave and child care options to practice wellness and to create a quiet space for yourself.
We urge you to act.
Identify representatives within your district, county, and state. Identify those who have made progressive strides towards civil rights and call out (not in) individuals who have demonstrated complacency. Demand that the lives of people of color matter and that the end of police brutality should be a priority in the coming election.
Finally, we encourage you to engage the literature on best practices for your campus and community. Use the resources our Association affords its members.
• Parallels Between the Cases of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and the Black Male College Experience – http://www.myacpa.org/public…/developments/volume-12-issue-2
• ACPA Videos on Demand – Confronting the Reality of Racism in the Academy Channel: http://videos.myacpa.org/product-cate…/channel/racism-series
• Black & APIDA Coalition Building Resources – https://goo.gl/fJNJNO
While the urgency of action and care is upon us, we wish to move forward with love – for ourselves, for each other in the Association, and for those on our campuses. We cannot achieve a more equitable world alone; we must move forward together.
Shawna M. Patterson
Chair, Coalition of Multicultural Affairs
Pan African Network (PAN)
Latin@/x Network (LN)
Multiracial Network (MRN)