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FSU anti racism grant recipients


Dear FSU Members, 

As you know, the FSU and university administration agreed in the last round of bargaining that $25,000 would be devoted to anti-racist initiatives in both year two and three of the contract.   

FSU members answered the call and submitted 24 proposals for anti-racist initiatives for the upcoming academic year.  The FSU’s Anti-Racism Committee evaluated the proposals and made recommendations to the Provost’s office, who then approved them.   Not surprisingly, $25,000 was not near enough to fund all the wonderful proposals, but the Anti-Racism Committee is excited by the range of initiatives that are being supported by FSU Anti-Racism Funds.   Please see a short description of the proposals below. 

Funded Proposals for 2022-2023 (in no particular order) 

Authors: Dana Francisco Miranda and Nir Eisikovits  

Title: In Her Name: To Make a Monument of Phillis Wheatley  

Description: The Phillis Wheatley building at UMass Boston houses key academic departments, classrooms, and offices. Many of us work or study in this building or pass by it every day. But how much do we know about this person? Who was Phillis Wheatley? How did we come to name a building after her? What does her legacy mean for us today? And why is she still invisible and unknown to so many of us? As part of its ongoing Monuments Project, the Applied Ethics Center will sponsor a series of events to engage both campus and Boston communities in thinking about the work and importance of this African American poet. These events will include a scholarly workshop, a design competition for enhancing awareness of Wheatley, and other community conversations.  

Author: Lauren Sullivan  

Title: Speaker (Whitney Peoples) and workshop for Intermediate Seminar instructors on developing anti-racist pedagogy in teaching and assessing student writing 

Description: These two zoom workshops will bring in Dr. Whitney Peoples (the inaugural director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Michigan School of Public Health) to aid Intermediate Seminar (IS) instructors in more explicitly developing an anti-racist pedagogy in teaching and assessing student writing to create a more inclusive learning environment for our students. As IS sections are taught by faculty from many different disciplines this type of professional development is especially important to promote anti-racist teaching practices across the university community.  In addition, all IS students are automatically enrolled in in the Electronic-Writing Assessment Portfolio (EWRAP) so it is essential to have the instructors of these classes consider, reflect on, and begin to address different racist structures that create disparate learning opportunities for our increasingly diverse students. Dr. Peoples will lead one workshop on defining and operationalizing anti-racist pedagogy and another on assignment design and assessment. 

Authors:  Tahirah Abdullah and Azizah J JorDan 

Title:  Promoting Anti-Racism through Community Care among UMB Black Women Faculty  

Description: Higher education research shows that Black women faculty engage in a disproportionately higher amount of service, support, and care for their respective universities. As of Fall 2021, Black women faculty make up a mere 3.6% of full-time faculty members at UMB. We are organizing peer-mentoring community care gatherings of UMB's Black women faculty. This initiative will provide a consistent, dedicated space for Black women faculty members across departments and colleges to connect, mentor, consult with, support, and uplift each other. Additionally, we foresee this peer-mentoring group as a way to strengthen retention, promotion, and recruit other Black women faculty, as well as increase the sustainability of our collective anti-racism efforts by establishing ongoing community-building and community care among Black women faculty at UMB. Supporting community-building and community care among Black women faculty members promotes anti-racism and health within our institution.  

Authors: Luis Jimenez Jeff Pugh of McCormack 

Title: Supporting Diverse Student-led Immigrant Rights Efforts in the Boston Community   

Description: In partnership with the Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice (SCIJ), a local NGO, they will train a cohort of UMass Boston students in AY 2022-23, implementing student-led legal advocacy and community organizing efforts within the Boston immigrant community, including supporting the efforts of pro-bono attorneys working on immigration and asylum cases.  Given the heterogeneous UMB student population with a significant proportion of immigrant-origin students, the project will diversify and support the practice of immigrant accompaniment, while also providing opportunities to assess the impact of their participation through program evaluation. 

Author: Chris Barcelos 

Title: Lecture and Workshop with Loretta Ross 

Description: The Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies requests funding for a lecture and workshop with Lorretta Ross in the fall 2022 semester. Ms. Ross is a legendary Black feminist organizer, writer, and public intellectual who is a vanguard of the reproductive justice movement in the United States. Ms. Ross is one of the co-founders of SisterSong: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice Collective, which has spearheaded the movement since the mid-1990s. As a framework, political vision, and social movement, “reproductive justice” reframes the narrow focus of “reproductive rights” to a broader analysis of how structural racism, classism, sexism and so on affect reproductive freedom. In addition to her prolific writing and lecturing on reproductive justice, abolishing white supremacy, and calling in the call out culture, Ms. Ross is a currently an adjunct professor in the Program in Women and Gender at Smith College. 

Author: Kerrie Wilkins-Yel 

Title: Advancing Gendered Racial Equity in STEM through a Multigenerational Mentorship Initiative at UMB (I CAN PERSIST STEM initiative) 

Description: The I CAN PERSIST STEM Initiative is an innovative culturally sustaining counterspace designed to advance STEM persistence among women from Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian ethnic communities using a holistic multigenerational mentorship framework. Here, WoC, currently enrolled in STEM academic majors at UMass Boston, are surrounded by an oasis of diverse, talented, multi-disciplinary scholars committed to affirming each other’s belongingness to STEM while honoring and uplifting their intersecting identities. The I CAN PERSIST STEM Initiative is a year-long program that spans both the fall and spring semesters of each academic year. Scholars enrolled in the Initiative will participate in an array of activities, including: 1) STEM Equity seminars 2) Empowerment Forums and 3) Sistah Circles where scholars participate in bi-monthly support spaces designed for ‘real talk'. 


The FSU Anti-Racism Committee  

Keith Jones, Glover Martin, and Mickaella Perina  

Caroline Coscia (ex-officio) and Jeff Melnick (ex-officio)   

For information on the FSU, links to our contract and bargaining updates, and a calendar of events, see the FSU webpage