We, at Union, over the course of our 187-year legacy, have always been deeply committed to creating a more just society and since the inception of our Justice, Equity and Inclusion (JEI) committee, we have been committed to aligning our external and internal values so that Union strives towards our collective vision of being the just place we all desire it to be.
I want to acknowledge that Union’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging work is a direct outcome of the voices of Black students at Union. I specifically want to thank the Black Caucus, Black Women’s Caucus, and Fierce Caucus for their courage in initiating the work of what would become the Justice, Equity and Inclusion committee.
I also want to thank Union’s Racial Justice Taskforce for their leadership in guiding our racial justice work and bringing our DEI consultant, Dr. Michelle Majors to Union so we could initiate our Justice, Equity and Inclusion work. I would like to thank the faculty, staff, students, and board members who have intentionally served on the JEI committee with care. I would also like to thank all the members of the JEI committee through the last couple of years who have led and guided this important work at Union under the leadership and guidance of Rev. Karmen Smith, Caroline Laguerre-Browne, and Rev. Fred Davie.
As President, I would once again like to reiterate my commitment to engaging myself and our community in the difficult conversations necessary to confront white supremacy and racism in all forms at Union. This is a multi-year process through which we will build a strong foundation to address long-standing inequities and injustices experienced by the diverse members of our community. Together, we will work towards cultivating a proactive anti-racist culture and institution that champions justice and equity both within and outside Union. I also want to thank our board of trustees and our senior leadership team for their commitment to this necessary and important work.
Most importantly, I want to thank our entire Union community for joining us as we engage in this transformative journey to create a more just, equitable, and inclusive Union. We recognize that we are all coming to this conversation from different places – this is only the first step of a multi-year process that will include opportunities for smaller group discussions to delve deeper and in more meaningful ways into the conversations and actions that will bring about this transformation.
This is just the beginning – there is a tremendous amount of work that we need to engage in together over the next several years. Some of our conversations will be more difficult and challenging than others and I ask all of us to be steadfast in our commitment to this necessary work and to be thoughtful and reflective and willing to act on what we collectively learn on this journey together – these conversations are essential to ensuring that we can foster a Union community that is a just, equitable, and inclusive community for all. Thank you.
President Serene Jones