More than 350 Austin Community College faculty, staff, students, community leaders, and education partners gathered at the college’s Eastview Campus February 3 to explore strategies for advancing opportunity and success equity for all population groups.
At “Galvanizing Leaders for Systemic Change: Equity, Empathy, and Ethics in the 21st Century,” keynote speaker Bayard Love, trainer and community organizer with the Race Equity Institute, discussed data that disproves common beliefs about the root of racial inequity — such as socio-economic disparity — and the need to address inequities in education, health, criminal justice, and child welfare systems. (Video below.)
“We have racial inequity in every single system that considers itself a system in the United States,” he said. “We’ve got a structural racism problem, and we have to understand that, and work from that understanding so that we can work as best as we can together and make a city, a country, and a world ultimately that’s going to work for everybody.”
Summit participants also shared viewpoints and experiences through panel presentations and roundtable discussions.
“I was so glad to see a community so eager and ready to eliminate institutional racism and inequity on all fronts,” said Karl Nichols, vice president of investor development for E3 Alliance.
ACC student Juan Zuniga Jr. said the summit opened the door for discussion about critical issues and highlighted how certain ethnic groups have been left behind in education, health, and employment.
“The best part of the event was when the moderator asked ‘Black men and boys are dying, how are you helping out men of color?’ This was a very hard question, but it is the reality of the world that we live in. There is still much work to be done when it comes to equity and inclusion.”
ACC President/CEO Dr. Richard Rhodes and Dr. Molly Beth Malcolm, vice president of the college’s Community Engagement and Public Affairs Division, presented awards recognizing community and college leaders for their activism and leadership in equity matters. (See below.)
The Equity Summit was organized by ACC’s Office of Equity and Inclusion, which is part of the Community Engagement and Public Affairs Division. Member of ACC’s Leadership Academy and others from the college community assisted at the event.
Visit the 2017 Regional Equity Summit webpage to view Love’s keynote presentation and photos from the event. View the Office of Equity and Inclusion website for resources, information about upcoming events, and other opportunities to take part in the college’s efforts to ensure equity for all students and communities.
Regional Equity Summit award recipients
Lifetime Equity Leadership award
Pastor GV Clark, St. John Regular Baptist District Association
ACC Community Equity Activists awards
Asian Desi Pacific Islander American Collective
Austin Justice Coalition
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ACC faculty and staff Equity & Inclusion Pioneers