Educational Session Themes
As we consider the work environment for higher education personnel, there have been conversations surrounding the level of comfort minorities feel in being their authentic selves in their workspace. In our discussions it was discovered that often times marginalized groups feel as though we cannot fully express all of our thoughts or concerns especially when it pertains to sensitive topics. While we may feel comfortable discussing the issue (s) amongst our own race or group, there does not appear to be an opportunity to speak freely and unapologetically amongst our colleagues on issues that directly affect us and our communities. In turn, we are essentially stifling a part of ourselves each day while still being expected to perform at a high level in our roles. This expectation to continue to resiliently push forward despite a lack of a safe space for marginalized groups to fully express themselves is taxing to say the least. As we bring awareness to this subject it is our hope that the work place culture shifts to one that is supportive of all employees showing up fully as their authentic selves.
Compliance vs. Complicity
With the University of South Florida being a state University, there a been a bit of legislation passed that has changed the ways educators teach certain topics surrounding diversity, equity, and justice. Compliance refers “the action or fact of complying with a wish or command.” At this year’s conference, we refuse to ignore conversations surrounding marginalized identities. While we respect any and all legislation, we will work to still have the conversations that are needed and refuse to ignore the conversations. Complicity refers to “involvement in a wrongful act.” Meaning recent legislation has made certain social justice conversations feel wrong legally. In fact, we plan to challenge this by respecting the law and reframing the conversations. We hope you join us to also contribute and continue the fight for a society that centers equity and justice.
In today’s society it appears institutions have placed more of a focus on having conversations surrounding issues of diversity and inclusion on campus and the lack thereof. While having discussions, conferences, and trainings are indeed beneficial, the focus on proper representation and inclusivity usually goes no further than the conversation. There is typically no evidence of any action or steps taking place after these meetings to produce the changes necessary to make an impact for underrepresented groups. Without any true implementation it creates an endless cycle of discussions followed by inaction. Our goal during this year’s conference is to challenge our departments to create actual plans and solutions that will produce real change.
In the realm of education and general society, things have been a bit difficult in today’s world. Marginalized communities have faced oppression for numerous years, which the oppression they face still happen today. Ultimately, the has taken a large toll on the mental health of individuals who have a marginalized identity. Not only will this year’s conference have real conversations surrounding mental and marginalized identities, it will also focus on the intersecting marginalized identities and how this too has taken an effect on the mental health of marginalized communities. This year’s conference plans to specifically highlight the oppressions marginalized identities face and how those oppressions ultimately affect the mental health of marginalized identities.