Racial Justice Dialogues
As a way to bring conversations about racial justice to the forefront of our community members’ minds, the Center for Social Justice facilitates racial justice dialogues for the students, faculty, and staff of Georgetown University. Throughout the academic year, members of the Georgetown community are invited to be a part of these dialogues through which participants explore topics including race, racism, and identity and learn together.
As Georgetown University began its long-term, and ongoing process to more deeply understand and respond to the University’s role in the injustice of slavery and the legacies of enslavement and segregation in our country, the Center for Social Justice similarly recognized its own positionality and responsibility as part of this public reconciliation. The CSJ team agreed to a Center-wide commitment to racial justice, with an initial focus on our internal organization.
In Fall 2019, the Center for Social Justice integrated STAR: Start Talking about Race dialogues as a required component for CSJ student leaders, under the leadership of then Assistant Director, Student Leadership & Racial Justice Initiatives, Whitney Maddox. The format and pedagogy or these dialogues were influenced by several inspirations, including the Program on Intergroup Relations at University of Michigan, which is designed to “[blend] theory and experiential learning to facilitate students’ learning about social group identity, social inequality, and intergroup relations.” Moreover, the experience of our colleagues at our Jesuit peer, Loyola University Maryland, to mandate racial justice training through their instiution’s community provided a helpful example for our way of proceeding.
The Center for Social Justice recognizes dialogue as an invitation to participants to be active and engaged deeply with the content through reflection on personal experiences and the sharing of perspectives with others. These multifaceted discussions offer each participant an opportunity to think critically about complicated topics, including whiteness and white privilege, microaggressions, identity and intersectionality, and the practice of centering race, among others.
Racial Justice Dialogues take place monthly during the fall and spring semesters and in the summer term led by CSJ team members and Justice Graduate Interns. These dialogues are required for CSJ students in a leadership position, including students who have allocated their Federal Work Study to their work or volunteer as DC Reads/DC STEM, DC Schools Project, ASK coordinators and Jumpstart Team Leaders; ABSO and ABP Board Members; SIPS Executive Committee members; Center Operations Interns; and FOCI leaders and captains.
For the Center for Social Justice team
The Center’s internal Racial Justice Working Group is composed of CSJ full-time team members who convene to discuss topical issues pertaining to the Center for Social Justice. They offer recommendations for learning, professional development, public statements, and whole team reading.
For Georgetown university faculty and staff
CSJ’s former Assistant Director of Student Leadership & Racial Justice Initiatives, Whitney Maddox, offered racial justice dialogues for Georgetown University faculty members and staff on request, outside of her position’s particular responsibilities. As of Summer 2021, the Center for Social Justice professional team will include an Associate Director, Racial Justice Initiatives. This position will continue to engage the CSJ community in Racial Justice Dialogues and will also be empowered to work on campus writ-large on racial justice dialogues, in collaboration with Georgetown colleagues with aligning responsibilities and commitments.
Contact CSJ’s Executive Director, Dr. Andria Wisler, for more information about CSJ’s Racial Justice Dialogues program.