Why are you serving on the Council on Equity and Inclusion?
For as long as I can remember, the topic of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has been in the forefront of my life. For me, Equity and Inclusion are the first steps toward a better society. We can’t move forward without giving voice to those whose voices have been marginalized. Because of this, I am very excited to join the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at St. Olaf.
What drives your interest in and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracist work?
I remember my dad telling me stories about the racism he faced as a young man growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, even into the ’80s. Then I found myself in the ’90s, and 2000s living many of those same experiences. I now have two children myself. I know I can’t change the world, but I want to be part of any change — no matter how big or how small that change is.
When someone asks you how they can support this work on campus, what is your advice?
First, take the steps to learn and be right in yourself. We are all learning every day. As lifelong learners, it’s important to find opportunities to have conversations on these topics. Look for events from the Taylor Center, and other places around DEI. Ask our office if there are places to help or be part of planning, like MLK Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the future.
What is your hope for the future of St. Olaf?
I cannot deny that St. Olaf College helped shape me, and the person I’ve become. I also know that some students who have experienced St. Olaf have had harmful experiences. I hope to be part of something that will change that for students moving forward. There is a lot of trust to build, and I want to be part of that.