As the Dean of FHS, I am in a position of immense privilege. I know that many unearned advantages are derived from society’s patterns of injustice and we share an obligation for changing those patterns. In a recent article on the topic, Dr. Stephanie Nixon notes that “The obliviousness of people about their positions of privilege is a key strategy required to sustain the hegemony of systems of inequality.”
Addressing EDI is not a one-step journey. It involves cultural transformation and will require permanent attention with iterations of evaluation and adaptation. We will need to ask hard questions and listen well to people whose voices have been barely audible. We should be prepared to hear anger, hurt, and pain and we must be prepared with mental health supports, including Indigenous Elders who can offer their wisdom and healing circles.
Our collective success will require personal, organizational, and cultural humility. We will all need to study, to learn and un-learn about history and culture. And importantly, we must act on what we learn, with cycles of self-reflection, recognition, and informed action. In our work, we will strive to meaningfully demonstrate our commitment to the principles of EDI in our workplace as well as our teaching, research, and care.
We will make mistakes, but through this work, I believe that together we can build an even stronger FHS.