Wishes for the future: How would you imagine your environment needing to be for you to feel that you don’t have to do DEI work anymore?

I think DEI work will always be necessary, but I suppose if I were to picture a utopian society it would be built upon love, acceptance, and community. It would be free from bigotry in all of its many forms, and would be a safe place for all to be themselves.

Alissa Freeman

4th Year DMA Student, Piano Pedagogy and Performance

School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Being your best DEI self: Think of a time when you were at your best at advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. What happened? Who was there? Why did you feel at your best?

One of the most memorable experiences I have had in advancing DEI work was through a workshop I helped facilitate through my work in the DEI Office. This workshop was part of an intensive course that our Office created called “Inclusive Teaching at SMTD” and was directed towards GSIs at SMTD. During the workshop, graduate students from many different fields shared their experiences and ideas about inclusive teaching. This experience felt empowering both to me and other GSIs as we were able to see DEI work through each others’ lenses, and apply ideas in our own teaching. I believe strongly that DEI work through good teaching can be strongly impactful, and it was wonderful to build community around that discussion.

What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the MLK Spirit Awards?

For me, it is very humbling. When I think of the impact and power of Dr. King’s transformative justice, I think all of my efforts look very small. To me, it’s a reminder that my own small actions can add up and make a difference, and that building a community around DEI work can create very real impact.