About Allies at MIIS – An Initiative for Racial Equity

Since much of my work as a CDO will include continuing Allies at MIIS,  I think it might be helpful to explain the origins and nature of the initiative. It is also possible that Allies at MIIS could turn into a model for future actions on diversity and inclusion on our campus.

The goal of Allies at MIIS is to further racial equity. The term “race” in this initiative includes all identity groups based on race, ethnicity, religion, language, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability status, age, physical attributes, class, cultural background, nationality, and more are affirmed.

To learn more about our goals, objectives, and approaches, please visit our website.

Members of Allies at MIIS are expected to carry three core values:

  • Self-Reflection
  • Courage
  • Social Justice

These three core values are supported by others such as Integrity, Learning, Innovation, Accountability, Responsibility, Collaboration, Advocacy, Humility, and Respect.

I credit Ericka Huggins, activist and educator, for influencing my thinking and commitment to being an ally in the struggle for racial equity. Ericka is an incredible resource and someone I  lean on frequently. She gave me a framework to understand my encounters with diverse people on this campus and in the United States – something I have struggled with for a long time. She is my role model – her courage and wisdom are what I would like to emulate in my work on racial equity.

Starting Allies at MIIS has not been without challenges. I have spent countless hours with students to give them a holistic experience of being an ally. I have spoken relentlessly about the experiences of minority community members on this campus and I have created the spaces for difficult conversations. I have experienced frustration but my journey has been rewarding especially when I see how far we have come since Spring 2016 when I started Allies at MIIS. I am grateful for the support I receive from a few of my colleagues, some of the leadership here at MIIS and President Laurie Patton; they give me the courage and strength to persist in this difficult work. Laurie has served as a great sounding board, has always been interested in my work and her encouragement has meant a lot to me, not just in my professional role here at MIIS but as a woman.

Allies at MIIS is central – it might be the applied or practice part of my leadership efforts as Chief Diversity Officer. I plan on continuing the initiative and look forward to your presence in our many events.