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?

A time when equity is as important as diversity; the disempowered are not only heard but treasured as real participants.

Robin Marie Wilson

Professor, Dance

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?

When students performed the work “Minstrels Past” at Power Center, which looked at the legacy of icons and stereotypes developed during minstrel shows and how they continue to the present. I was proud of the students’ performances, its message, and the power of the choreography.

As an educator, my proudest moments have been when my students have taken on leadership, such as former MLK Spirit Awardee Johanna Kepler. Creating courses such as my course on the role of black dance in American culture that opens with the statement, “Racism is alive and well” is part of a legacy I am proud of. I go on to say, ” This course looks the role that racism has played in acknowledgement, or lack thereof, of the Africanist presence in American cultural forms, as well as to identify that presence and the means to recognize it.” I started this class in 1997 and it is still taught today. It has always examined the intersectionality of race, gender, class, and ableism and is still relevant and necessary today, 25+ years later.

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

It means that my decades of activism through changes in policy, curriculum, and artistry have been acknowledged and valued. It would be affirmation and encouragement to continue.