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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Update

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This is part of a series of regular updates that Vice President for Equity and Inclusion María Pabón Gautier sends to the campus community.

Dear St. Olaf Community,

Say their names. A phrase that we have become too familiar with over the years. A phrase that signifies the weight, tears, and pain that many Black families carry after one of their own — a child, a sibling, a parent, a grandparent — has been murdered. Last week, we witnessed once again the murder of a Black man at the hands of police. Amir Locke’s killing leaves his parents, family, and friends mourning a senseless death. It leaves communities calling out for justice and accountability. It has ripple effects that impact the sense of safety, peace, and humanity that many members of our community feel.

Today Professor Timothy Rainey II and Vice President for Student Life Hassel Morrison will lead our students in conversation, processing, and solidarity. Students who have been affected by the murder of Amir Locke have been invited this afternoon to join in conversation and support. This conversation with Professor Rainey and Dr. Morrison is one example of how we can show up for each other. Make sure that you keep checking in with your students, peers, and yourself. The amount of loss that has been suffered by the Black community and other communities of color and Indigenous communities is cumulative. When we least expect it, we may encounter someone who will need us to lend an ear, a hand, or an opportunity to be in community. To our Black students, faculty, and staff: reach out if you need anything. I am here for you. The Taylor Center and the college ministry staff are here for you. Whether you want to talk or just sit in silence, we are here for you. We see you.

Black History Month Event: To Repair: An Introduction
To continue the conversation about justice and racial reparations, join Assistant Professor of Music Tesfa Wondemagegnehu as he introduces his “To Repair” project. “To Repair” was a 60-day, 40-stop research pilgrimage across the eastern half of the United States, collecting narratives from Black community members, activists, artists, clergy, and politicians whose work focuses on repairing the Black community.

To Repair: An Introduction

February 15, 2022 at 5:30 p.m.
Virtual Event
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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Symposium
Save the Date: May 6-7, 2022: Join us for our inaugural St. Olaf Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Symposium, where we will recognize and share the excellence, challenges, and work ahead in higher education and beyond.

Call for Proposals: The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office and the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion invite students, staff, faculty, and alumni to submit proposals for presentations, posters, or roundtables for our inaugural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Symposium: Recognizing Excellence, Challenges, and the Work Ahead. We seek proposals that address ongoing and emerging areas of social justice, representation, equity, access, inclusion, and psychological safety pertaining to communities in higher education and society at large. For more information and to submit proposals, go here.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism (DEIA) Work Lessons Learned
The Database for Historically Underrepresented Composers is now live! The database was the idea of Raina Swanson Edson, the St. Olaf Libraries Student Associate for Inclusive Collections, who has worked tirelessly for nine months to design and populate it. It contains 853 scores by 351 composers and counting. Congratulations, Raina! The database features scores by BIPOC and women composers and complements Catalyst by providing additional metadata to make it easier for users to search by a composer’s identity and to discover scores by instrumentation, genre, language, and more.

Opportunities for Development on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism
Reading is one of my guilty pleasures, and I am constantly looking for books that speak to the times and that are written by members of underrepresented communities. In recognition of Black History Month, I would like to share the reading list of Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr., chair of Princeton University’s Department of African American Studies:

  • The Souls of Black Folks by W.E.B. Du Bois
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Price of the Ticket by James Baldwin
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
  • South to America by Imani Perry
  • Read Until You Understand by Farah Jasmine Griffin
  • The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones
  • The Business of Race by Margaret H. Greenberg & Gina Greenlee

Making Black Lives Matter: Confronting Anti-Black Racism (First Edition)

Edited by renowned scholar and psychologist Kevin Cokley, Making Black Lives Matter: Confronting Anti-Black Racism explores the history and contemporary circumstances of anti-Black racism, offers powerful personal anecdotes, and provides recommendations and solutions to challenging anti-Black racism in its various expressions.


Dr. María C. Pabón Gautier
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion