News and Perspectives
The following message was sent by Dr. Katrice Albert, Vice President for Equity and Diversity, to the Twin Cities campis community on Nov. 9
Dear Twin Cities campus community,
Like many of you, I am processing the divisiveness that has characterized the prolonged election season, and am working to understand how it will impact our communities, our university, our nation and our world.
While there is no expiration date for the raw emotion many are feeling, we will continue to work diligently toward a campus climate that supports respect and inclusive excellence as we work across our differences. I say "we" because none of this work happens in isolation; it requires time and effort from all of us. As famed poet June Jordan said, "We are the ones we have been waiting for." We can only transform and enrich our institution by learning from one another, working in partnership, and continuing to find ways to positively contribute to our campus community.
Some members of our community feel vulnerable and marginalized, and are most directly impacted by this contentious election cycle. We are grateful for those who have already shared resources or organized spaces to foster understanding and discussion, including:
According to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, “nationally, 1.4 million black men have lost the right to vote” due to felony conviction laws in various states, and today, “current housing for approximately 2 million Americans—two thirds of them African American or Hispanic—is a prison or jail cell.” Does the United States have two justice systems – one for people who are white and have resources – and one for people of color and the poor? From charges of profiling and unfair treatment by police, to racially-influenced decisions by prosecutors and the courts, to the construction of a prison system that is increasingly privatized and profit-based, critics describe a justice system that itself should be ‘held in contempt’ and is in need of major reforms. Gain insights from a discussion with panelists from higher education, law enforcement, community engagement, and the legal system, that may lead to useful changes in our justice system.
Panelists: Keith Mayes, University of Minnesota Associate Professor, African American and African Studies; Mary Moriarty, Chief Public Defender, Hennepin County; Tomas E. Smith, (Retired) Chief of Police, City of St. Paul, Minnesota; Justin Terrell, Program Manager, Justice 4 All, Take Action Minnesota.
Moderator: Kimberly Hewitt, Director, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, Office for Equity & Diversity.
Being Young and Arab in America, Wed, Nov. 16, 2 pm, Coffman Theater. Free and open to the public. Part of the Provost's Conversation Series.
Featuring Moustafa Bayoumi, author of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?
Editor’s Note: In the case of all posts, the opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Minnesota or the University of Minnesota Women’s Center.
Content note for this blog post and accompanying video: sexual assault, sexual violence, rape culture.
Sidhra Musani started high school at a private Islamic school. Now, she said she is the only visible Muslim in her advanced classes.
Musani enrolled at the University of Minnesota and became president of the Muslim Students Association, but she said she still worries her classmates judge her for wearing a hijab.
“I had to think three times [about] everything I was going to say,” she said, “because I knew that there is that pressure … whether you like or not, people are [going to] judge you for what you say, and they’re [going to] attribute it [to] your faith.”