The killing of a black man by white police officers in Baton Rouge on Tuesday, July 6, prompts members of the Diversity, Equity and Poverty Communities of Interest (DE&P COI) to speak up and encourage action to improve outcomes in race relations.
Dr. Paula Zeanah, Director of Research at The Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development & Lifelong Learning and steering committee member of the DEP COI, deeply disturbed by the execution of Alton Sterling initiates the discussion with the question “what can we do?”
As a White American, Dr. Zeanah shares a blog, Advice for White Folks in the Wake of the Police Murder of a Black Person. This thought provoking article offers some modest advice to White Americans who are trying to figure out how to be good allies and move race discussions forward.
“What can we do? What must we do?”
Dr. Michael Dunaway, Director of The National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies (NIMSAT) Institute and steering committee member of the DEP COI is compelled to contribute his perspective.
“I start by restating my own question: "What must we do?" As an individual, it is a challenge to answer this, except for the general responsibility to be a good citizen, maintain a compassionate outlook on tragedy in all of its forms, and be a force for good where one can be. (There are, of course, examples of single individuals who have made great contributions. My personal favorites: John Walsh for his work in child protection, and Lady Bird Johnson, whom you may recall championed the campaign that cleaned up America's roadways and much of the countryside). “
“Collectively, however, we are probably exactly where we should be to make a difference. Much of the research at this University is focused on the big national challenges--childhood education, disaster preparedness, business and community continuity, police-citizen relations, public health, community leadership mapping, environmental and coastal mitigation, to name only the ones of which I am aware.“
“If I were going to add anything to this, it would be to include our students, particularly the undergraduates, at every step of the way both as education toward solving their own grand challenges, and to reinforce awareness in these future leaders that "doing something" has many dimensions and that everyone can contribute to a cause greater than themselves. All it takes is the commitment to do so.”
In line with this, Dr. Dunaway shares an interesting editorial surrounding the power of altruism.
As a community, we should strongly be encouraged to recognize the anger, frustration, and grief that so many Americans are feeling – feelings that are being expressed in peaceful protests and vigils in our own city and across our nation.
Our DE&P COI team would like to offer their backing as the starting point for us to be a visible force for good--in this community, but more importantly on a national scale where the force is truly needed.
Author: OVPRIED - Dominique N. Rosado
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