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Reflecting On 2020, Part 2

Reckoning with White Supremacy and Racial Injustice

Social and racial justice have always been integral to the Social Impact Lab’s frameworks for social change, but George Floyd’s murder provided painful evidence that we must all work harder to dismantle white supremacy and systemic racism. Since May, SIL programs and affiliated courses in the Human Services Program and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs have been revised to increase the diversity of perspectives represented and intensify our examination of the ways the nonprofit sector and philanthropy perpetuate inequality in the U.S.

This process included valuable input from undergraduate and graduate students. Our offerings will continue to evolve as we learn to do the work of anti-racism better in collaboration with students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members who share our commitment to social and racial justice. Partnership and collaboration figured prominently in other highlights from 2020 described below with links to several publicly available learning opportunities.

  • While it seems like a lifetime ago, SIL began 2020 co-designing and co-hosting the Spring 2020 Myra Kraft Open Classroom, Climate Change: A Course for Everyone. Multiple classes focused on climate change’s disproportionate impact on communities of color and Indigenous communities. The archives are available here.
  • In June, SIL partnered with Professor Matt Lee from the Human Services Program to offer a 21-Day Racial Justice Challenge to help faculty, staff, students, and alumni cultivate the habit of centering racial justice in our daily consciousness.
  • The Dukakis Center invited SIL to facilitate From the Streets to the Classroom: Student Activists in the Time of Covid, a panel discussion in the Fall 2020 Open Classroom on post-pandemic recovery strategies. The video is available here.
  • As part of the Presidential Council on Diversity and Inclusion’s Racial Literacy, pop-up course and event series, SIL Director Rebecca Riccio was invited to speak on a panel on community and policing along with Rod Brunson, Margaret Burnham, and Lisa Bailey-Laguerre. Recordings of the entire series can be found here.
  • SIL is advising the newly launched Northeastern Athletes for Equity Coalition’s fundraising initiative to support grant making to Boston area nonprofits addressing racial injustice. Learn more (and make a donation!) here.
  • SIL is co-creating a series of workshops with the Office of University Advancement to support its commitment to promoting racial justice education and programming across the Northeastern network.
  • SIL Director Rebecca Riccio is a member of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs’ Racial Justice Working Group, which is driving efforts to center racial justice more prominently and consistently in SPPUA’s teaching, research, and campus and community engagement. She is also a member of the Northeastern University Police Department Community Advisory Board, which was established following the death of George Floyd to address concerns about NUPD’s role on campus and in the community.

Enormous thanks to all the colleagues, students, alumni, donors, and community partners who have provided knowledge, insight, support, and encouragement to SIL throughout 2020.
We look forward to working with you in 2021.

To learn more about SIL’s work over the past year, please see Reflecting On 2020, Part I: Looking Back at a Year of Giving and Remembering a Dear Friend

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Reflecting On 2020, Part I