We’ve been slow at announcing this but the MRN Team has gone through major changes over the last year and we excited to give everyone an update. As you know, MRN strives to help create and foster inclusive spaces within ACPA and postsecondary education with and for students, staff, and professionals who identify as multiracial, multiethnic, transracial adoptees, and with fluid racial identities. We accomplish this work through a variety of means, like our social media presence, webinars, presentations at various higher education conferences and input and participation from you, our readers and followers. It is our aim to develop intentional educational initiatives, engage in critical dialogue and community building, and supporting institutional change through advocacy on our campuses and within the larger ACPA organization. As the new school year is well underway, we have a challenge for you to consider incorporating into your own personal and professional lives.
We use the word “Critical” in our field a lot. The word generally has a negative connotation, but we as educators try to encourage people to see the word as meaning “investigative,” “curious,” “seeking development” or “going deeper”. In fact, we use the Webster definition three: “Using or involving careful judgment about the good and bad parts of something.” MRN’s new goal is to stick with a broad theme for the whole year. Right now we have settled with a key component of our mission for our first theme: “Engaging in Critical Dialogue.” There will be workshops, discussions, and campaigns to guide us toward new and exciting areas of advocacy and support. The key to this theme will be collaboration and participation, since we can’t have dialogue alone. We hope you will join us in thinking critically and discussion with colleagues, students, family and friends about Multiraciality and it’s various components and help us spread this conversation to increase that “careful judgment” and determine the best avenues to support those who identify or who wish to be allies.
We are committed to serving all those who needs our space, or need to know more about the multiracial identity. In an effort to help you get to know us a bit, the team has shared some brief bios and some thoughts on “Engaging in Critical Dialogue”. Some have also offered some reflection questions about the theme for you to consider or bring to your offices and students. Join us as we go forward together!
Meet the Team
I serve as the current chair of the Multiracial Network and am very excited as the 2015-16 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 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.
In the spirit of the theme, I ask our readers to consider the following questions:
- What, this week, have you specifically done to support your multiracial students and/or staff?
- Where do you see positive and negative portrayals of multiraciality in the media?
- How can you spur “critical dialogue” for others to engage with around multiracial identity?
Hello my name is Victoria Malaney and I am the Incoming Chair for MRN! I joined MRN in the Fall of 2012 after coming across a MRN blog post I reached out to MRN and was invited to join the leadership team. I’ve been fortunate over the past years to make some great connections with folks across the country that are really invested in mixed race studies and multiracial organizing. I am currently a first year doctoral student in Higher Education at UMass Amherst. I am also a graduate assistant for the Dean of Students Office and Research Assistant for Assistant Professor Dr. Chrystal George Mwangi in Higher Education.
I joined MRN because I was looking to critically engage in dialogue surrounding what it means to be multiracial in a monoracial world. I also have an strong interest in researching the experiences that our multiracial individuals have on college campuses. I have found that being a part of MRN has brought me closer to current events, allowed me the opportunity to attend and present at ACPA Convention, and introduced me to the new, innovative multiracial scholarship that is being published. I have found a true community in MRN, which has allowed me to critically think about the structural oppression that multiracial individuals navigate around each day. During this year with MRN I hope to continue the dialogue with you all on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages. Stay connected with us and feel free to reach out to me with any questions or ideas. I am so excited to be the Incoming Chair for MRN and look forward to an ongoing dialogue with you!
Hi there, I’m Rachel Luna. I’ve been connected to MRN since 2010 and am currently Past Chair. I spend my days as Student Services Coordinator at Samuel Merritt University in the San Francisco Bay Area. 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. In these ways and more, MRN encourages critical dialogue by inviting everyone to the conversation and challenging us all to “think outside the box.”
Hi everyone! I’m the Director of Student Affairs at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, TX. Originally from NY, I received my Bachelors’ from SUNY Oswego and my MS from Binghamton University. My multi-racial background and professional work with college students, adolescents, and children have lent themselves to my passion for social reflection and cultural analysis, and motivated the publication of my book, Call Us College Ready. In my workshops and programs I challenge the ideas behind phenotypes and ethnic identity. I joined the Multiracial Network in hopes of increasing the understanding of a growing group of students and professionals, and to be a part of a community which appreciates that one checkbox is not enough.
Hello MRN folks! My name is Kelli Campa and I am so excited to be on the MRN leadership team this year! I recently started at SUNY Binghamton as a Resident Director and am loving it here! 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 Netflix-er, and read at my local Starbucks.
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-
I am a media strategist with years of experience in leading and fostering communities, namely within the Asian American and multicultural space. I joined MRN to help build a sustainable and visible community for mixed raced individuals during critical phases of identity and learning. I want to be a part of a movement that understands the need for our definition within history, society and culture. I would love to be able to create an environment where pride and heroism can be associated with being mixed race. Thus, I would like to explore the topic of highlighting specific aspects/struggles of mixed race folks in captivating story. I also want to explore how we can create opportunities for in person conversations that can lead to long term communities. I would love to be able to challenge and explore different intricacies of mixed race identity (perhaps within LA) through recorded social experiments, interviews or podcasts. I believe the research can reach greater audiences if the information if a stronger call to action is defined within our group. Anything I can do to bring greater visibility and pride to the mixed race life experience is my main priority. (#mymixedracestory?)
My name is Michael Dixon and I serve as the Director of Intercultural Services at Manchester University in the midst of my 5th 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.
I joined MRN because I strongly identify as a biracial/multiracial male that doesn’t want to be put into a box. As a first generation U.S. American with a Jamaican father and Filipino mother, my racial identity went through many transformations before arriving where I’m at currently. It was my experience growing up that “biracial” meant you were talking about Black/White relations. I usually felt left out of that conversation because I had two ‘minority’ parents and felt my contributions weren’t as valued as those that had that identity I previously mentioned.
I’ve been a long time member of ACPA (since 2005) but didn’t put my energy into an identity group. Still searching but I have a good feeling about MRN…
Questions to consider:
1. How do we expand the conversation about biracial/multiracial identity to those that aren’t in the Black/White paradigm?
2. What do these conversations about multiracial identity look in communities where you don’t have many individuals that identify that way?
3. How do we address battle fatigue of having to define ourselves in spaces that choose to define our own identity?
Got ideas you want to see? Issues you want to discuss. Dialogue you want to engage critically in? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on Facebook or Twitter (@ACPA_MRN)