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?
DEI work is central to creating an inclusive and equitable space for all individuals. I’m not sure there will ever be a time where DEI work is not needed because identities evolve and change as does the world and there needs to be a constant effort to ensure a safe space for all people. What I hope that would look like is a place where BIPOC do not have to work twice as hard for less pay and limited promotion opportunities, nor do we struggle against a system that works without our best interest and advancement at heart. I imagine that we do not fear micro-aggressive conversations or get labeled as not being team players. I hope for a place where there is no need to hide any part of your identity and where women and people of all genders are treated with respect. In ideal environment, varying cultures are acknowledge and respected without negative influences.
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?
To be involved in the practice of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion is to assess your surroundings and evaluate whether your environment values you and your identity, especially if you are a member of a marginalized group. Stamps in Color has made it a goal to actively support students of color who seek community in a space where the experiences of their peers and predecessors are minimal or seem nonexistent. In our meetings we create supportive environments in which students of color at Stamps are able to discuss the ways in which they feel as though the school has supported, harmed, or erased them. During the first meeting of Fall 2021 everyone was invited to share their experiences at the Stamps School of Art and Design thus far and there was an overwhelming influx of negative responses that my peers felt as though they could not share any where else. We were able to discuss ways to improve our experiences, protect our peers, and advocate for each other. The sense of community that one meeting created chipped away at the feeling that we were alone, granted us spaces to look forward to, and promoted unity amongst peers.
What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the MLK Spirit Awards?
To receive this award means that regardless of how minimal our reach may seem there are people in the School of Art and Design who have been impacted by our group.