I support diversity and defend inclusion in higher education. As a Holmes Scholar, a lifetime title given to me by the Homes Foundation back in 2005, I breathe diversity. Even though I have been privileged by the conditions that my parents had in south America, I understand the struggles that many kids in this country have, especially African American students. I have worked as an interim department chair of a HBCU in my career which has given me first hand experience with issues of multiculturalism, diversity and the need for inclusion. I’m now the Department Chair of another HBCU where my duty is to advance understanding.
I’ve seen the struggles that urban kids have —- lack of funding for mobility, little access to private loans, domestic violence, systematic racism, and gang activity to name a few. Issues of social class and sexual orientation among African Americans is also an area that I understand because I had to deal with such issues at Jackson State University (JSU) in Mississippi and in my former job as an associate professor in Tennessee.
In Mississippi, there is still a lot of racial oppression, sexism, homophobia. I had to protect our kids from discriminatory attacks in Jackson, counsel student’s families about police shooting, and calm down students on campus against the many attacks they experienced in a satellite campus in Madison, MS.
In my career, I have served as an implicit bias facilitator who trained many non-minority faculty and students on how to deal with issues of racism. I bring the former as a value added to my candidacy in any university.
Despite so many challenges, my students at JSU and Lee won (many graduated and found jobs) despite the struggles they faced while pursuing a college education. I’m proud to state that I was a small part of that victory in their lives. You may find another candidate who is as passionate about diversity and inclusion as I am but not more.
I care for all.