News

UDARI Subcommittee Grant Award Winners for 2021-2022

Posted on November 22, 2021 at: 9:44 am

The following subcommittees of the UD Anti-Racism Initiative have been awarded grants for anti-racist projects or events they are organizing this academic year:

Associate in Arts Equity and Inclusion Committee: 

The University of Delaware Associate in Arts Program (AAP) Outreach subcommittee will be utilizing UDARI grant funding to fund three AAP students (one from each campus) to support the AAP Equity and Inclusion Committee. Students will be collaborating with community partners and activists in Wilmington, Dover, and Georgetown to organize a racial-justice event on each campus in the spring of 2022. Additionally, students will assist with organizing and hosting listening sessions with current and recently graduated AAP students attending the Newark campus who identify as Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native or multiracial. They will gain qualitative insights into their experiences attending a predominantly white institution. UDARI grant funding allows the students to work for the committee and thus cut back on paid employment outside of school, which will assist in furthering the anti-racist goals of both the AAP and the University. Since AAP students are, and have historically been, excluded from meaningful engagement, internship, and professional development opportunities at UD, these positions will contribute to the ongoing antiracist work of making such opportunities available to those whom racism has excluded.

Legacies of Dispossession & Enslavement Subcommittee: 

The Legacies of Dispossession and Enslavement Subcommittee will be utilizing UD Anti-Racism Initiative grant funding to employ two graduate research assistants. The research assistants are designing and creating a WordPress site to publicly host findings and sources generated by students in HIST460/660: Race and Inequality in Delaware. This course is also cross-listed with AFRA/ANTH/ENGL460, GEOG428, and with AFRA661, ANTH660, ENGL660, and GEOG628. The graduate research assistants are also responsible for completing two in-progress data collection projects: a spreadsheet of data entered from 19th and early 20th-century U.S. censuses schedules for Newark, Delaware and a spreadsheet listing all trustees, staff, faculty, and students associated with Delaware College. These spreadsheets will enable advanced research, including a demographic analysis of the populations associated with the Newark area and Delaware College, as well as biographical and genealogical research into particular families and individuals. These projects will advance the goals of UDARI because both the website and spreadsheets will allow the products and sources of recent research to be publicly accessible. These materials will be useful for a variety of future projects associated with the history of racial inequality at UD and the surrounding community.

Anti-Racism Programming Subcommittee:

Unearthing the Collection: An Interactive Workshop at the Mineralogical Museum is a collaborative endeavor of the Anti-Racism Programming subcommittee, the University of Delaware Mineralogical Museum, the Geography and Spatial Sciences Department, and the Museum Studies Program. The subcommittee will be utilizing UDARI grant funding to host three half-day workshops to train advanced undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Delaware to initiate anti-racist practice and scholarship in museums through the University’s mineral collection. This workshop contributes to the application of anti-racist approaches in a critical engagement of scientific knowledge production, particularly in, and through, physical science collections. The subcommittee will raise awareness of anti-racist science communication in museums. This will allow for anti-racist practices in the mineralogical museum’s digital repository to be archived online and shared with other interested parties. The Anti-Racism Planning subcommittee will also create a blog post that addresses not only this project, but the evaluation of data and presentations at Artefacts Consortium 2022 and American Geophysical Union (AGU 2022). Unearthing the Collection has the potential to be run annually by the Museum Studies program and the Mineralogical Museum, or developed as a Continuing Professional Development course for museum practitioners. UDARI funding is providing the vital first step toward any such continuing education.

First State First Chance Subcommittee: 

The First State Chance Subcommittee will be using UD Anti-Racism Initiative funding to cover student enrollment in courses offered in Winter and Spring 2022. Offering incarcerated people of all races and genders the opportunity to earn a college degree is a matter of social justice and can be articulated as a form of reparations. Those previously denied an opportunity for an education and access to social, educational and cultural capital can gain a pathway to full citizenship through prison education. Tuition will be spread across courses with preference given to those students enrolling in courses that fulfill either degree or certificate pathways. The First State First Chance Subcommittee remains optimistic that funding will allow for the roll out of several non-credit bearing certificates to be offered through the Professional and Continuing Studies. This funding will allow the First State First Chance subcommittee to continue building capacity, while troubleshooting the pedagogical and institutional issues unique to this kind of program delivery.

Asian-American Anti-Racism Initiatives (AAAI) Subcommittee: 

The Asian-American Anti-Racism Initiatives (AAAI) will be using UDARI grant funding to support two events in Spring 2022: a film event and a workshop with high school teachers in Delaware. This project is in response to the success of their project in Spring 2021, “Fighting for All,” which emphasized alliances and social activism across racial and class differences with a focus on two prominent Asian American activists. For Spring 2022, the film event will consist of a public film screening, a structured panel of discussions that include film producer(s) and experts, structured questions from graduate students, and a Q&A period open to all participants. The in-person workshop will be at UD, in which our community’s members and high school teachers participate to develop classroom activities to promote cross-racial activism and a cross-racial alliance against racism.

The Indigenous Programming Subcommittee: 

The Indigenous Programming Subcommittee will be utilizing UD Anti-Racism Initiative’s grant funding to employ two graduate students for research tasks for the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters. These graduate students are organizing student support for the living land acknowledgement, managing data collection, and organizing events on federal and tribal law in relation to the University of Delaware’s history of dispossession of Indigenous lands and other related issues. Additionally, these students will be researching and writing UD’s land grab history and a glossary of key terms, which will be housed on the UDARI webpage. These two graduate students will have a critical role in organizing students to transform UD’s institutional norms and culture towards accountability regarding its colonial legacy.

The Latino and Hispanic Heritage Caucus: 

The Latino and Hispanic Heritage Caucus (LHHC) will be utilizing UDARI grant funding to host a series of “Out of the Box” workshops to educate and train faculty and staff on racial consciousness to increase cultural proficiencies and advance the objective of fostering an anti-racist campus. The LHHC has contacted two groups to develop a program for a small group of participants at UD. First, is the Just Act group (https://justact.org/), which uses techniques from Theater of the Oppressed to address issues of racial justice. The second is the Creative Reaction Lab (https://www.creativereactionlab.com/our-programs), which educates, trains, and challenges Black and Latinx youth to become leaders working for healthy and racially equitable communities. The LHHC hopes that educators will adapt the workshops to the needs of their learning spaces, to amplify and shift power to youth, while understanding their roles in designing equitable outcomes.

HIST 135 Students Prepare Community Altar for Día de los Muertos Event

Posted on November 19, 2021 at: 5:29 pm

 

Students prepare community altar for Day of the Dead event.

Dr. Sonia Robles watches as students prepare a community altar for Día de los Muertos

finished community altar

Mementos of loved ones fill the community altar in the lobby of Munroe Hall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students in HIST 135 “Introduction to Latin American History” prepare a community altar in the Munroe Hall lobby for the 2021 Día de los Muertos (Days of the Dead) event. This ritual, which blends pre-Hispanic beliefs that the departed travel from the underworld to their graveside or home altar once each year with Roman Catholic All Souls’ Day, takes place the night of November 1 into November 2. This year’s altar was dedicated to those who have died as a result of COVID-19. Dr. Robles’ students were asked to participate by creating mementos of loved ones who had passed, place them on the altar, and write about their experience.​

This event was sponsored by the UD Anti-Racism Initiative’s subcommittee, the Latino and Hispanic Heritage Caucus.

Indigenous Programming Committee Visits With Historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Posted on November 16, 2021 at: 12:34 pm

The UD Anti-Racism Initiative’s Indigenous Programming committee organized a visit with the historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. As a chronicler of white supremacy and Native American history, Roxanne spent much of the day with our students and colleagues. She was a guest speaker in Dr. McKay Jenkins’s Environmental Humanities class; then at an informal “coffee hour” with faculty and members of the Lenape and Nanticoke tribes; and lastly in a major lecture that was attended by some 270 people from UD and the surrounding community.

Lecture Recording

Passcode: UMSREC04!

Vimalin Rujivacharakul, Asian American Anti-racism UDARI Small Grants Sub-committee Update

Posted on August 4, 2021 at: 11:00 am

UDARI Grant Report: Asian American Subcommittee
Fighting for All: Legacies of Yuri Kochiyama and Grace Lee Boggs

The Asian American subcommittee applied and received a grant in the amount of $1000 from
UDARI to support our project Fighting for All: Legacies of Yuri Kochiyama and Grace Lee Boggs.
The project consisted of two major weeklong events, each comprising a public film screening, a
structured panel of discussion, structured questions from graduate students and undergraduate
students, and finally a Q&A period open to all participants. Both events are virtual. We had a
record of 237 registered participants for the first event, and 186 registered participants for the
second event. Panelists in the first event included the Kochiyama Family members (Audee,
Akemi, and Zulu) and renowned film producer Rea Tajiri. Grace Lee was the guest of honor for
the second event. Peter Feng and Madinah Wilson-Anton moderated both events. Participants
for structured Q&A sessions were: Angela Yu (undergraduate student, president of Asian &
Pacific Islander Student Association), Marissa McClenton (undergraduate student, vice
president of Black Student Union), Danni Statia (undergraduate student), Jessica Thelen
(graduate student, English), and Jennifer Semrau (faculty member, Women’s Caucus). Drs.
Michael Vaughan and KC. Morrison gave opening remarks at the beginning of each event.
The Asian American subcommittee also worked with UD’s Admissions Office to invite high
school teachers and students from Delaware and nearby states to participate in both events.
Additional funding (see below) allowed the subcommittee to acquire rights for participating
high schools to stream films about Yuri Kochiyama and Grace Lee Boggs for 14 days. We also
developed teaching materials and circulated them to participating high schools in advance of
the events.
For this project, the Asian American Antiracism subcommittee received a grant from UDARI in
the amount of $1000. We subsequently raised additional funds from the Center for Black
Culture ($500), Student Diversity and Inclusion ($1000), the Center for Global Studies ($200),
the Department of History ($100), the Department of Art Conservation ($200), the Department
of Art History ($200), the Department of English ($200), and the Japanese Studies Program
($100). UD’s Office of Equity, Equality, and Diversity generously financed all participants’
background check fees. UD Admissions kindly covered the costs of all PR and service to
circulate materials to all high schools in Delaware and nearby states.

Respectfully submitted,
UDARI- Asian American Subcommittee

Ogechi Nwordu, UDARI Community Engagement Award Update

Posted on August 3, 2021 at: 10:53 am

Healing Us: Cultivating Healing and Change Through Empathic Listening (copyright 2021)

PROJECT TEAM

Ogechi Nwordu, Psy.D.
Primary Investigator
Psychologist
University of Delaware
Chestnut Hill College
Project conducted while completing graduate degree

Julie Garson, Psy.D.
Supervisor
Psychologist II
University of Delaware

COLLABORATORS

Liora Schneider Mirmanas, Psy.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
Swarthmore college
Chestnut Hill College

Kaseem Parsley, M.S.
Doctoral Student
Chestnut Hill College

Andrew Wilkins, M.S.
Doctoral Student
Chestnut Hill College

1. PROJECT BACKGROUND

“Healing Us: Cultivating Healing and Change Through Empathic Listening Workshop” was designed to facilitate and foster racial healing among students identifying as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) within the University of Delaware campus. Healing Us is a structured, process-oriented workshop, inspired by the significant need for community based racial healing initiatives. It uses group therapy techniques and collectivist community-based practices to guide participants through the process of developing empathy for their peers. Healing Us was funded by a community engagement fellowship grant from the University of Delaware Anti-Racism Initiative (UDARI).

All materials for this project were created through extensive research, as well as through the infusion of knowledge gained from lived experience as a member of the BIPOC community. The hope was that the structure and content of this workshop would be appropriate for a diverse range of students because it was created from a lens of cultural sensitivity/understanding, allowed for discussion flexibility, and supported collaborative thinking. Thus, rather than focus on one BIPOC group, diversity of group members was selected to help foster increased empathetic listening and understanding across racial groups with a goal to help reduce racial divides among BIPOC communities and propel racial healing.

Four workshops, lasting 90 minutes, were conducted once a week, over a four-week period through Zoom due to COVID-19 restrictions. Below is a brief description of the four workshops conducted. A more detailed description can be found in the Appendices.

2. WORKSHOPS

June 28, 2021
At this first workshop, 9 participants joined. The focus of this workshop was for participants to get to know each other through the sharing of their salient identities. Group guidelines were established to help cultivate a safe climate that was respectful and non-judgmental. Lastly, workshop goals were explored.

July 5, 2021
At the second workshop, 8 participants joined. Crisis management skills were discussed. Tiers of Racial trauma healing were discussed, and components of empathic listening were explored. Learned empathic listening skills were practiced by group members.

July 12, 2021
At the third workshop, 7 participants joined. Session two skills practice continued. The power of disclosure and vulnerability were discussed. Additional crisis management skills were discussed.

July 19, 2021
At the fourth and final workshop, 8 participants joined. Components of empathic listening were explored and practiced. Participants engaged in a reflection about their experiences.

3. COMMUNICATION AND DISSEMINATION OF WORK

Prior to workshop
After the IRB approval was secured, Zoom calls were held with individuals from various departments and organizations to explain the project and seek recruitment assessment. A recruitment flyer was emailed to various departments and organizations on campus. These departments and organizations forwarded these flyers to students. Interested participants emailed seeking more detail about the project. Individual Zoom meetings were held, and consent documents were reviewed. Recruitment during the summer presented with some challenges as students were not as readily available and accessible by email.

After Acceptance
Upon acceptance to participate in the workshop, consent forms were sent and signed through Qualtrics. Information and updates were shared with participants through regular email updates, which provided information about the workshop schedule, Zoom link, and any instructions for assessment completions.

After the Workshop
After the workshop, two post-workshop surveys were shared with participants. Final incentive was mailed to each participant.

4. AUDIENCES

Recruitment attempted to gather a diverse range of student body within the BIPOC community with regards to race/ethnicity, and student status. Out of the eight participants who completed the workshop, seven identified as female, and one identified as male. Two participants identified as African in origin. Three participants identified as African American. Three participants identified as Latinx in origin. Four participants were graduate students, and four participants were undergraduate students.

5. ASSESSMENT and FINDINGS

The first evaluation was conducted with a pre-workshop survey which assessed current levels of empathic listening skills of participants. A post-workshop assessment using the same survey was also administered to participants. Additionally, participants completed a feedback survey regarding their experience in the workshop.

Seven participants completed the Active-Empathic Listening Scale (AELS) pre-assessment, and five participants completed both the AELS pre- and post-assessment. All five participants who completed the pre and post assessment reported improvements in the active-empathic listening skills in three or more areas assessed.

Responses to the workshop experience, both in the feedback assessment and in individual comments from participants, were predominantly positive.
Five out of eight participants completed the post workshop feedback survey.

Two participants strongly agreed and three agreed that they learned skills to enhance their empathic listening. Four participants strongly agreed and one agreed that they increased their awareness of active listening.

Participants reported learning the importance of the following skills when actively listening:
Four participants reported learning reflective listening and observation of non-verbal cues .
Four participants reported learning how to provide reflective feedback (ex. Paraphrasing), Building Empathy, Building a Safe Space, Using Vulnerability to Build a Safe Space, while two participants reported learning to recognize Roadblocks. One participant reported learning Crisis Management skills when actively listening and letting people continue voicing their thoughts rather than interrupting with questions.

Three participants agreed and two strongly agreed on reflecting on the importance of racial healing. Four agree and one strongly agrees that their understanding of the racial healing process has increased. Two participants strongly agreed, two participants agreed, and one reported being neutral about feeling comfortable sharing experiences in the group. Upon further elaborations, participants reported feeling “accepted”, “valued”, “not judged”, and “heard”.

All the participants strongly agreed that the facilitator created a safe space to share experiences about racial healing and learn empathic listening. All participants felt completely safe in the space that the facilitator created. One participant strongly agreed, two agreed, and one felt neutral about the usefulness of the Mindfulness Activity. Four participants reported that virtual platforming had a negative effect on their experience and one reported feeling neutral. Upon further elaboration about the virtual experience, they reported experiencing “distractions”, “difficulty connection” and being as “vulnerable”. However, these challenges were minimized during the “smaller breakout rooms”. Participants appreciated the “convenience” of the virtual platform.

All participants would recommend this workshop to other students due the ability to share experience with other BIPOC community members in a small group setting. Participants reportedly wanted more gender diversity and would prefer the workshop in person in order to minimize challenges presented by virtual interactions.

Recommendations for future workshops include providing PowerPoint or handout, increasing breakout room time, and having the workshop in-person. Overall, participants reportedly felt very comfortable during the training.

6. SUSTAINABILITY

The unique advantage of this workshop is the emphasis on emotional experience and emotional expression. Both of these factors are necessary for the degree of empathic listening that we hoped for our participants to achieve. It is our belief that this functions as an advantage because it provides real time opportunities for BIPOC members to reflect and process aspects of our workshop. Not only is space for these reflections and processes built into the structure of our project, it is also an explicit part of the culture that we worked to craft with each workshop. From our perspective, the key to the sustainability of the workshop is to allow space for members to process and reflect upon the current experience that they are having with respect to the purpose of the workshop. This includes voicing concerns, criticisms, negative experiences, and negative emotional experiences. Within this space is also an emphasis on the importance of dissident experiences and opinions. By allowing a wide brevity of thought, reflections, and experiences (ADDRESSING Model) we create a community where each member shapes the dynamics of the group. allowing them to feel essential to that particular group’s process. More importantly, the act of emotional expression is an act in stress reduction and toleration. It is our philosophy that unmanageable stress is the greatest threat to our group’s cohesion and sustainability.

Additionally, at the end of each group, the facilitator was responsible for discussing group dynamics and implementing creative prophylaxis meant to correct directions that would be unfit for the setting. The facilitator also consulted directly with participants for suggestions around improvement.

7. LOGISTICAL CONSIDERATIONS

Workshop Schedule and Location
The workshop was held over Zoom due to Covid-19 restrictions. Consistency in day and time of meetings allowed for ease in scheduling. The participants were able to reserve four Mondays, from 5pm to 6:30 PM, on their schedule. A Zoom link was sent each afternoon on the day of the workshop to reduce the challenge of having to search through email to find it. Evening time frame was selected due to participants’ schedules. Participants reportedly finished classes, research, and work by the start of the workshop. The workshop was reduced from five to four due to recruitment challenges around time commitment.

Virtual Communication
Conducting all aspects of the workshop through virtual communication presented its pros and cons. Technical difficulties consisting of poor internet connection were experienced at times by participants. Some participants reported difficulty with being fully present during the workshop due to distractions such as computer notifications, phone calls, phone notifications, environmental noise, etc. While some participants reported some difficulty practicing empathic listening skills virtually, they exerted optimal effort in each session. Even with the limitations of virtual meetings, participants reported feeling comfortable with self-disclosure due to the safe, respectful, and non-judgmental climate that was established. All participants reportedly liked the smaller group breakout room practices, citing that it allowed for increased willingness in self-disclosure.

Workshop Material
Workshop materials were discussed without visual aid. However, several participants reportedly preferred to have the materials presented in PowerPoint or handout form so they can continue to reflect on the learned/discussed materials after the sessions. Although sessions were 90 minutes in length, session content was reduced or carried over to another session due to participants’ high level of engagement in discussions.

8. CONTINUATION/Recommendation + LONG-TERM IMPACT

The vision for this workshop was to generate a method and structure that was accessible to all populations. We worked hard to create a strong philosophical and scientific basis, but also wanted to recognize and emphasize that the ultimate agents of change were empathy and listening. It is our hope that this workshop can be implemented in any setting whether it be spiritual gatherings, academic institutions, corporate and business settings, small interpersonal gatherings, or even public discourse. We believe that if our culture is given the opportunity to fully process our racial reality and history, then we stand a greater chance at unity, healing, and freedom. The long-term impact is intended to stimulate social and individual change.

Many of our constituents have expressed interest in this endeavor. The recent social upheavals and international recognition of those social upheavals has generated a culture that is very much interested in processing racial trauma but lacks the means to do so. This has created a pocket in the culture and the market for a methodology that could address these concerns. Our intent is to produce talks, presentations, manuals, theoretical books, and other forms of media for these ideas to be accessed.

9. References

Bodie, G. D. (2011). The Active-Empathic Listening Scale (AELS): Conceptualization and evidence of validity with the interpersonal domain. Communication Quarterly, 59, 277 295.
Christopher, G. (2018). Empathy: The Power of Healing Within Us. Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://www.aacu.org/diversitydemocracy/2018/summer/christopher.
Miller, W. R. (2018). Listening well: The art of empathic understanding. Wipf & Stock.

 

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