I, Too, Am UW-Madison

Black students at Harvard College recently started social media photo and video campaigns via Tumblr and YouTube to underline the ways in which they have felt silenced on their campus by their peers and collegiate administration.  “Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned– this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard.”  So far, the “I, Too, Am Harvard” campaign has been garnering national attention and other colleges are following suit.

The multicultural student body at the University of Wisconsin-Madison organized the “I, Too, Am UW-Madison” movement in response to the “I, Too, Am Harvard” campaign.  Their goal is to illustrate how their experiences as students of color unfortunately go hand-in-hand with racially-based and culturally-based assumptions and questions from their peers and colleagues about who they are and and what their purpose is on this campus.  “We hope this will serve as a demonstration that the experiences of students of color at Harvard and Oxford resonate across campuses in the Midwest, like at Iowa State, and most likely can be echoed throughout the nation. We hope this campaign will lead to serious discussions about race on our campus, and on campuses nationwide.”

Here are just a few of the pictures from the “I, Too, Am UW-Madison” website.

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Director’s Blog: Congratulations Graduates!

Congrats to all our Graduates!!!   Many of you have plans to do work in community organizing, community service and human rights, all over the country and the world (New Orleans, Los Angeles, Oakland, El Salvador, Southeast Asia, Argentina). More than a handful are joining the Teach for America as corps members. Some of you will be starting careers in health care, genetic counseling, non-profit leadership, engineering groups, banking and finance, public service…

A number of you will be attending graduate school: Fashion Institute of Technology, MFA at Arts Institute of Chicago, Depaul Law School, MBA at Old Dominion, Counseling Psychology at University of Hawaii… a number will be applying to medical school. A few of you are staying on at UW for graduate studies in the departments of Social Work, Gender and Women’s Studies, Public Health, Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

For those of you, currently, on the job market,  in these final weeks of school, we  encourage you to:

  1. Pay a final visit to L & S Career Services (or the Career Services office of your particular schools or College) and update your resume and cover letter templates
  2. Register for or update your account on Buckynet.org or WAA’s Badger Career Network
  3. Check the MSC Blog Tapestry for new job postings , Like Us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter
  4. Sign-up with several temporary agencies in your local area
  5. Consider volunteering with an organization that you would like to work with or for
  6. Maximize your resources by maintaining any established  relationship you have with mentors or seek out new professional mentors
  7. Invest time and effort gaining new knowledge and skills in your desired career area
  8. Find places and opportunities to network with other folk who are successful in doing the thing you want to do

Best of luck and congratulations on all of your achievements.

The Cost of Campus Diversity

Reverend Jesse Jackson recently posted his opinion on Fisher vs. University of Texas, the latest Supreme Court case to challenge the role of affirmative action in colleges across the country. Jackson wrote on the controversy for his organization, Rainbow Push Coalition, a multiracial and multi-issue assembly fighting for social justice and civil rights.

Interestingly enough, part of Rainbow Push’s mission statement includes “leveling the playing fields” for economic and educational justice. This means creating more equal terms by which everyone can succeed. That’s the notion behind Fisher vs. University of Texas and the many other cases that have claimed a heaping of “reverse discrimination” and “preferential admissions” has been brought upon the Caucasion majority. Abigail Fisher, the student who was denied admission to the University of Texas in 2008, blamed her unacceptance into the school on the students of color who did gain admission.

Arguments in support of and in opposition to this case have undoubtedly ignited a fiery two-sided battle. Supporters of affirmative action may say that preferences over a specific race or ethnicity serve as reparation for the decades of discrimination and oppression among African Americans. Others who oppose the policies argue that the favoring of any particular person is discrimination and believe race should not constitute a person’s acceptance or denial into a school.

In either case, we shouldn’t forget the struggles of those who have benefited from affirmative action. Socioeconomic class divides and marginalization of the Black community in particular is still a pressing issue that creates many educational disadvantages. As long as racial inequalities continue to loom over us, we must continue to give everyone a chance at the American Dream.

Although the Supreme Court won’t hear arguments for the case until October, Reverend Jackson and others hope to protect the underrepresented and underprivileged in our country’s universities. The cost of campus diversity may be steep for some, but in the end, it may be a price worth paying.

Shelby Lewis is Communications and Technology Specialist and Student Life Intern majoring in Broadcast Journalism. 

What’s on tonight: IJET Spring Semester Kick-off

Tonight is the Institute for Justice Education and Transformation (IJET)’s Spring Semester 2012 Kick-off! Our Speakers and Trainers Series takes off with a free public lecture by John Francis, Visiting Professor at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. For those of you who don’t know anything about Francis, he’s known as the Planetwalker, after spending 22 years walking and 17 years in silence. He also likes vanilla milkshakes. 

‎”“If people are indeed part of the environment, how we treat ourselves and each other provides our first opportunity to treat the environment in a sustainable way, or even to understand the very nature of sustainability.” – John Francis, Ragged Edge of Silence

We’ll be streaming the event live: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/uwmadison-multicultural-student-center

By the way, the latest edition of Tapestry features a review for his book, Ragged Edge of Silence, by our very own Social Justice Educator, Cynthia Lin. Read it (the review and the book). They’re both very good.