University of Oregon symposium asks 'What's Up With Whiteness?'
Image via Facebook: "UO Women's Center"
The University of Oregon (UO) is hosting an “Allyship Symposium” for students later this month discussing the question “What’s Up With Whiteness?”
The January 20 event, which is being co-hosted by UO Coalition on Engagement and Allyship, the Women’s center, and The Division of Equity, will guide participants to “find their place” in conversations about “race and systemic injustice” by “examining our own identities and the systems we are a part of in an effort to become more effective allies within our communities.”
“‘What’s Up With Whiteness?’ is intended to be a space where people at all stages of their social justice journey can engage with one another in entry-level conversations about white identity.”
The event represents “the allyship track for the Women of Color Symposium,” and is open to “any student interested in examining white identity.”
“In this full day retreat, participants will explore the question ‘What’s Up With Whiteness?’ through an overview of terms and definitions, historical context, and reflection on their own held identities,” the event description states. “‘What’s Up With Whiteness?’ is intended to be a space where people at all stages of their social justice journey can engage with one another in entry-level conversations about white identity.”
Tobin Klinger, the senior director for Public Affairs Communications at UO, told Campus Reform that “entry-level” conversations provide “an overview of terms and definitions, historical context, and reflection on their own held identities…for those who are looking for ways they can be more effective allies.”
More broadly, he added that the event will feature “conversations that help participants [examine] their identities and the systems we are a part of in an effort to become more effective allies to marginalized populations within our communities,” but did not provide any specifics.
“Our hope is that this retreat can be one step on the journey toward becoming a better, more informed ally, and that it will equip participants with the tools needed to more actively and bravely engage in making change,” the event page states.
Students registering for the Allyship Symposium also have the opportunity to reserve a spot for a related event, the Women of Color Symposium, which is open to “all Womxn of Color Students.”
Describing the symposium as a place where students can “build community and solidarity with peers as they navigate this predominantly white campus, city, and state,” the event description adds that “Because Womxn of Color are disproportionately impacted by poverty, lack of access to preventative health care and healing foods, chronic stress, domestic and sexual violence, exploitation, and many more systemic and systematic oppressions, the WOC Track will focus on holistic wellness, self-care, and decolonizing our identities—especially our names.”
Notably, the Women of Color Symposium is open to “all Womxn of Color,” while the Allyship Symposium is open to "students of any gender who do not identify as ‘Womxn of Color,’” according to a Facebook post for the event.
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