DACCD’s Social Justice Committee 2021 updates

The Director’s Advisory Committee on Community and Diversity’s (DACCD) Social Justice Committee supports ISR’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through community outreach, educational experiences, and discussions. The committee’s founding goals are to increase awareness about social justice issues related to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and other social rights topics that directly and indirectly affect our ISR community members. Five main principles guide the committee’s social justice work: access to resources, equity, participation, diversity, and human rights.

The Social Justice committee currently has 19 members representing all five ISR centers. The committee works to reinforce DACCD’s mission to “raise the consciousness of all employees about the value of diversity in everyday work settings.” The committee meets twice a month to discuss ideas and potential events to further the committee’s purpose and mission. Since its inception, the committee has hosted several notable events promoting mental health and cultural sensitivity throughout ISR and our surrounding research communities.

During the current pandemic, the Social Justice committee made a conscious effort to create a safe space for mental health conversations. On December 1, 2020, the committee hosted two university professors; Dr. Nakeshia Williams, associate professor at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and Dr. Riana Elyse Anderson, assistant professor at the University of Michigan, for the virtual webinar entitled “Mental Health and Protesting: In the Time of COVID.” As part of the webinar, the hosts and panelists discussed ways to cope with the social unrest in our country and shared resources to help overcome the hardships that may arise in this unprecedented time. The session drew over 100 attendees and highlighted four African-American female researchers and scholars, most of whom are part of the University of Michigan community.

The Social Justice Committee is currently conducting interviews for a video series that gives a voice to those in the ISR community engaging in social justice work. The interview series records participants’ answers to several questions about social justice and their understandings. This activity aims to give voice to those among us that we see every day and promote transparent and honest conversations about social justice and injustices prevalent in our very own communities. The committee will share the first round of videos across ISR. The committee is eagerly looking forward to the rich and necessary discussions that these interviews can inspire.

During this upcoming academic year, the Social Justice Committee hopes to expand its existing initiatives and share multiple DEI resources with the ISR community. The committee’s sincere hope is that ISR faculty, staff, and students implement social justice principles in their daily lives, work, communities, and research.

In March 2021, please check out the Social Justice Committee intranet page for updates and more information on Social Justice related events. Social Justice committee members are not required to serve on DACCD. If you are interested in working on the committee, please send an email to Ambyr Amen-Ra at ambyrb@umich.edu.