By Corinne Murdock |
Another social justice initiative was underfoot at Arizona State University (ASU) — this time, at the College of Health Solutions (CHS). In a September email from CHS Dean Deborah Helitzer obtained by AZ Free News, CHS encouraged employees to sign a Black Lives Matter (BLM) pledge adapted from ASU’s University Technology Office. The email noted that those who signed the pledge would have their name “added to a list of those who affirm the pledge.”
As of press time, the pledge remained available on the CHS website:
We are dedicated to creating a safe space for all perspectives, valuing all contributions, which will become embedded in our evolving culture to realize the vision, mission and values of the College of Health Solutions and the mission and charter of Arizona State University.
We will engage in continuous education, seeking new ideas and taking actions that advance racial justice and will honestly share our thinking, especially acknowledging when we don’t know or understand. We will expand our own understanding and practices by empowering diverse ideas and voices.
We will increase the diversity of the administration, faculty, staff and student populations to reflect the communities we serve.
We will maximize leadership, development and advancement opportunities for people of diverse backgrounds, abilities and perspectives to be more equitable and to ensure opportunities are available to all.
We will strive to be inclusive and equitable as we engage in teaching, research and community outreach.
We will increase our knowledge and understanding of systemic racism in health and health care which ultimately impacts health outcomes in communities of color.
We are committed to nurturing, mentoring and supporting the development of people, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, color, language, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, religion, socio-economic status, qualified veteran status, age, skill sets, thinking styles and physical and mental ability.
I pledge to actively work towards dismantling racism, bigotry and hatred toward people of color in all its forms.
At the close of Helitzer’s email, she directed staff to the latest “story time” read-along link: “Curious George Rides a Bike.”
ASU formed CHS in 2012 to improve community health and lower health care costs. The CHS pledge was one of the latest efforts by their Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Council. The council aims to artificially diversify faculty, staff, students, and community partners; weave inclusivity into onboarding, training, and mentoring of all faculty and staff; and reform curriculum to center on inclusivity.
As part of those goals, CHS keeps an update on the latest student demographics: nearly 40 percent last year were classified as “underrepresented minority status,” with nearly 49 percent classified as “white.”
Additionally, the JEDI Council offered a commitment to support Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in response to the ongoing hate crimes against those races. They also published an indigenous land acknowledgement to identify the Native American tribes that once lived on the land where ASU’s campus now exists.
JEDI Council’s latest effort announced last Friday was “Kaleidoscope,” a newsletter on multiculturalism.
“We believe that the multitude of identities, lived experiences and backgrounds that make up the CHS faculty, students and staff is something to be celebrated. Much like a kaleidoscope, there is beauty to be found in the different configurations of our community. We will face challenges in the struggle for a just and healthy world, so it’s more important than ever that we find ways to unite and shake things up,” read the first newsletter.