When speaking on the issue of racism a lot of feelings manifest. Dealing with these issues in America right now is hard for us people of color because we want justice for the wrong brought against us. Not being able to have your voice heard in a situation that pertains not only to you, your friends, family and members of your community, but also to a whole nation, feels suffocating. The Anti-Racism task force is an outlet for voices to be heard in a safe and nonjudgmental environment. At the same time, within the task force, what it truly means to have equity is taught and preached through the group members who want to spread their learnings to others.
During the last meeting we broke off into groups of 3-4 and we listened to one another share our history. We heard stories of where each other came from and what our backgrounds meant to us. As everyone told their stories we became more engaged in finding the differences between one another and the similarities of our lives.
Afterwards we listened to the Director from El Concilio, Adrian Vazquez, where he shared with us through the modeling of a one-on-one about how his organization supports our Latino community members, in a day and time when they are targeted overtly by racism. He shared how they had to prepare paperwork for people to get their IDs in order, scramble to get passports that take up to six months, and how the children of these workers and parents in the community are handling the situation of harassment, discrimination and bullying. When he spoke about children who have experienced racist comments from peers about getting “sent back to Mexico” just for being of a certain nationality and have done no wrong, it hurt me to hear. With the ending of the meeting we took a moment to reflect and think. During this moment of reflection, I thought of how if everyone just embraced each other and helped one another, like we were placed in the world to do initially, hate wouldn’t exist based on the color of someone’s skin. Hate is the manifestation of not knowing, so with this group I think the intention is to spread knowledge of what is going on, not only within our community but also in the world. Another goal is to work toward racial equity statewide and in national policies.
We would like to extend a special thank you to Ebony Ross and Oronde Miller for facilitating our “getting to know you” activity discussions. A sincere thank you to Adrian Vazquez, Director at El Concilio, for sharing with us about the work of The Council and policy information on DACA.
Join us at our next Anti-Racism Task Force Meeting as we continue researching and conducting one-on-ones with those community members already engaged in Anti-Racism work. Our next meeting: March 20, 2018, 6:30pm at St. Luke’s.
– Ashante Collins-Davis, ISAAC Student Leader