Capitalizing on the momentum created by our trainings, the Diversity Team launched a brown bag series in May 2013. Attendance is optional and sessions are designed for library staff who wish to engage more deeply with diversity-related issues.
The Diversity Team reached out to our colleagues at Cascadia Community College (CCC) and UW Bothell (UWB) to help us launch our brownbag series. Dolores Blueford and Ryan Jess (CCC Americorps Retention Specialists) provided short readings and activities to be completed before the discussion and Jessica Wightman (UWB Student) offered a candid perspective on her own experience with generational poverty. As a group, attendees discussed strategies for better serving students who might be experiencing poverty.
Our second brown bag delved into the groundbreaking and critical work of Dr. Todd Honma. Todd's article, Tripping Over the Color Line applies, recent advances in Critical Race Theory (CRT) and whiteness studies to libraries. We spent some time delineating Honma's argument and clarifying terms as librarianship does not often engage with CRT and whiteness studies. Participants additionally discussed whether or not we see libraries as being shaped by a structural racism and what concrete ways we might be able to work against racism in our field.
Honma, T. (2005). Trippin’ over the color line: The invisibility of race in library and information studies. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 1(2), 1-26.
During the 2013-14 academic year, the news and social media saw an outpouring of commentary from Black students attending Predominantly White Institutions. Black students from around the US spoke of experiencing microaggressions, lack of representation, and being stereotyped. For this brown bag we heard, viewed and read several of the responses from students and read an article that described the challenges of and strategies for counseling African American college students. Links to readings and videos are in the Word doc below.
An undocumented student from UW Bothell, also a Student Social Justice Organizer, joined the library to lead a discussion on issues facing undocumented students. Attendees were asked to watch The Dream is Now, a short film about the challenges faced by undocumented students with hopes of going to college in the US like many of their documented peers. The brown bag briefly covered federal and state legislation that has a range of impacts on undocumented students, both positive and negative. Our guest shared her experience of being undocumented and attending college against the odds. The brown bag concluded with attendees brainstorming and discussing strategies for supporting undocumented students through our services in the library.