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The national response to the many recent racial injustice incidents has been the focus of public and private conversations in profound ways.  At UAB, we hosted a series of opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to come together to express their thoughts on this national turmoil about racism in our country.  We were fortunate to have many members from the UAB community who participated in these listening sessions.  It is important to acknowledge the many people who have reached out during this time to ask with sincerity, “What can I do?”

We are fortunate at UAB that we have a community of students, faculty and staff who come from a broad array of backgrounds and perspectives. Fortunately, this diversity can serve to our advantage as we seek to ambitiously address the racial challenges and opportunities for change present in a large institution such as ours.  Because academia is a microcosm of society, college campuses must address the issues of racial inequality. In recognizing the challenges at hand, the Task Force will explore and identify the path forward for UAB to become a leader in promoting a climate of civility and respect. We are defined by our rich diversity of people, ideas, expressions, and viewpoints.  Advancing racial equity is difficult work. It involves developing remedies that impact the structures, systems, and practices that enable real fairness and opportunity access and equality.  At UAB, we should acknowledge our steps along a journey to identify, examine and address historical and current racial inequities.  In doing so, our campus can engage an ongoing process to promote racial healing, justice, and wellbeing by creating a more inclusive history and an equitable future for all UAB family members as we strive to become an anti-racist community.

The university-wide task force will focus on racism, racial equity, and justice to provide tangible recommendations to create a more equitable, just, supportive, and nurturing anti-racist community. This 24-member group, including students, faculty, and staff will be engaging broadly with the UAB community to identify and propose action steps.

An Anti-Racism Action Plan that engages the UAB enterprise, including the Health System and the health sciences colleges, to address racism as a social determinant of health. The Anti-Racism Action Plan will accelerate structural and systemic change supporting equity in health and wellbeing.

This initiative will be launched with the expectation that each of the focus areas will generate many action steps that will take root on our campuses and in our community for generations to come. Above all, each will be planned to confront racism and racial inequities with specific, practical solutions.

Beyond these anticipated enterprise-scale initiatives, several units throughout the university have begun planning specific steps to address racism within their areas of focus.  The Task Force will support and draw from these efforts and continue to look for opportunities to coordinate, connect and scale up the most promising ideas.

The Charge of the Task Force:

  1. Define what it means to be an anti-racist campus community. 
  2. Identify actions for faculty, staff, students, and place as a center for dialogue, healing and wellbeing.
  3. Develop an action plan to:
    1. Educate campus on anti-racist aspirations, concepts and behavior.
    2. Perform a campus scan of current perspectives about racial equity.
  4. Other elements of the charge include hosting inclusive, candid conversations about racism; identifying aspects of the campus community that contribute to inequities and differential outcomes; identifying effective practices that address these problems; and transcending prior approaches.

The Task Force Co-Chairs:

Paulette Patterson Dilworth, Ph.D., Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Tina Kempin Reuter, Ph.D., Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration and the Department of Anthropology, have committed to co-chair the work that is focused on engagement and action.

Task Force Membership:

Carlos Alemán, Chief Operating Officer, !HICA!

Ashleigh Aldridge, Communications Director, UAB Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Jim Bakken, UAB Chief Communications Officer

Josie Banks, Executive Director, UAB Human Resources

Jazmine Benjamin, UAB Black Graduate Student Association

Chris Biga, Associate Professor Sociology, UAB College of Arts & Sciences

Alicia Booker, UAB Ombudsperson

Chris Brown, UAB Vice President for Research

Courtney Champion, UAB University Compliance Coordinator

Paulette Patterson Dilworth, UAB Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Rashada LeRoy, President and CEO, LRY Media Group

Shyla Fields, Program Manager, Office of Identity, Inclusion and Collective Conscience

Ria Baker Hearld, Associate Professor Health Services Administration, UAB School of Health Professions

Tyler Huang, UAB Undergraduate Student Government Association

Chris Jones, Director of Student Multicultural Programs, UAB Student Affairs

T. Marie King, Community Advocate

André Lessears, UAB Health System Chief Diversity Officer

Hyeyoung Lim, Associate Professor, Criminal Justice, UAB College of Arts & Sciences

Myles Moody, Assistant Professor Sociology, UAB College of Arts & Sciences

Kathryn Morgan, Professor, UAB College of Arts & Sciences

Anthony Purcell, Associate Vice President, Chief, UAB Police

Tina Kempin Reuter, Director, UAB Institute for Human Rights

Christina M. Rodriquez, Professor, Psychology, UAB College of Arts & Sciences

Verlon Salley, VP Community Healthy Equity, UAB Health System

Ninecia Scott, Postdoctoral NIH-IRACDA Fellow

Angela Stowe, Director, UAB Student Counseling Services

Rahul Thadani, Executive Director, UAB Human Resources

Carolyn Williams, Director, Birmingham Education Foundation

Brandon Wolfe, Assistant Vice President, Campus & Community Engagement, UAB Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Emily Wykle, Director, UAB External Affairs