Volume 3, Issue 7: February 18, 2021
R.I.S.E.* Up Newsletter
*Reinforcing Inclusion through Skill-building and Education
Image of Audre Lorde with quotation - There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives. Our struggles are particular but we are not alone.

Today, February 18, we celebrate the birthdays of not one, but TWO vastly important 20th century writers: Toni Morrison and Audre Lorde. Both serve as exemplars for our time of what it means to not just embrace, but promote, the importance of intersectionality. 

“Intersectionality” is a term often thrown around in higher education, but everyone may not understand its meaning. The term was coined by critical race scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in the late 1980’s to describe the way that people experience their various identities in society.*

While some people may conceive of diversity as a focus on demographic differences which highlights a distinction in identity categories, applying the lens of intersectionality can highlight the limitations with this approach. A person’s own identity, after all, is not experienced as a series of separate categories added together, but rather, as a single intersection where those identities come together and affect one another. For instance, I simultaneously identify as Black, a woman, an educator, a daughter, a parent, etc. Depending on the context, some of these categories may give me advantages or oppression can be multiplied.**

In our society, to give another example, the Black woman’s experience cannot be understood by simply adding what we know about “the Black experience” to what we know about “women’s experience.” It is its own third separate experience, wholly unique from those two identities and yet created out of the space where they come together. It is in understanding the unique experiences in the intersections that deserves attention and awareness. Each person has their own unique intersection of multiple identities, some of which are moving against headwinds, and others of which are propelled forward by tailwinds, and all of which combine to form that person’s own human experience in the world.***

Novelist (and Northeast Ohio native!) Toni Morrison was known for taking an intersectional approach to her writing, in her novels, such as Beloved, Song of Solomon, and The Bluest Eye, which have become towering classics of American literature. In a 1987 interview with the New York Times, Morrison said, ''I really think the range of emotions and perceptions I have had access to as a black person and as a female person are greater than those of people who are neither. I really do. So it seems to me that my world did not shrink because I was a black female writer. It just got bigger.'' (See today’s New York Times article on The Essential Toni Morrison.)

Applying the lens of intersectionality can, on the one hand, highlight a terrible convergence of oppressions. However, as Toni Morrison points out, intersectionality can also help us to find our unique power, vision, and voice. And it can also help us to grow in appreciation for the ways that each of us contributes our unique voice and identities to the work of building a better future. 

To that end, I close with a thought from Audre Lorde who was another American writer, feminist, librarian, and civil rights activist. She was a self-described "Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet," who dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, capitalism, heterosexism, and homophobia. Extending on the quotation in our feature image above, from her 1982 address Learning from the 60’s”:

Unity implies the coming together of elements which are, to begin with, varied and diverse in their particular natures. Our persistence in examining the tensions within diversity encourages growth toward our common goal. So often we either ignore the past or romanticize it, render the reason for unity useless or mythic. We forget that the necessary ingredient needed to make the past work for the future is our energy in the present, metabolizing one into the other.”  

Today, let us honor those whose energy has carried the struggles of the past forward into our own moment today, and let us commit to carrying their voice and vision into a new and better future. Let us also commit to better understanding the “simultaneity” of all of our identities, and working to embrace the multiplicity of unique experiences around us. 
Headshot of Tiffany Galvin Green

Tiffany Galvin Green, Ph.D.,
Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
* The term also has historical and theoretical links to the concept of "simultaneity", which was advanced during the 1970s by members of the Combahee River Collective in Boston, Massachusetts. Simultaneity is explained as the simultaneous influences of race, class, gender, and sexuality, which informed the member's lives and their resistance to oppression. Thus, the women of the Combahee River Collective advanced an understanding of African-American experiences that challenged analyses emerging from Black and male-centered social movements, as well as those from mainstream cisgender, white, middle-class, heterosexual feminists. See Hull, Gloria T.; Bell-Scott, Patricia; Smith, Barbara (1982). All the women are White, all the Blacks are men, but some of us are brave: Black women's studies. Old Westbury, NY: Feminist Press.

**For more discussion on intersectionality, see Anne Sisson Runyan, “What Is Intersectionality and Why Is It Important? Building solidarity in the fight for social justice,” Academe, November/December 2018. 

***We are indebted to Dolly Chugh for introducing us to the language of “headwinds” and “tailwinds” to describe relative conditions of advantage created by identity and circumstance. Also cf. Davidai, S., & Gilovich, T. (2016). The Headwinds/Tailwinds Asymmetry: An Availability Bias in Assessments of Barriers and Blessings. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 111(6), 835-851. doi:10.1037/PSPA0000066
Image of Toni Morrison with quote Oppressive language does more than represent violence -  it is violence. does more than represent the limits of knowledge - it limits knowledge.
Division Announcements
DEI in the Curriculum: A Faculty Roundtable Discussion
Monday, February 22, 2:30 pm
Faculty and others involved in curriculum design and delivery are invited to a roundtable discussion on Monday, Feb. 22, facilitated by Tiffany Galvin Green, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, for an open discussion about the status of diversity, equity and inclusion in the JCU curriculum. Please register to receive the Zoom link for this meeting. (If you are unable to join us on Feb. 22 but wish to be included in future conversations on this topic, please drop us a line at diversity@jcu.edu.)
Instant Replay: The Resurgence of Antebellum Slavery
Disguised as American Sports
A lecture by Delanté Spencer Thomas, Esq.
Monday, Feb. 22, 5:00-6:30 pm (via Zoom)
Flyer promoting Instant Replay event
Do team owners think of athletes as inferior? As property? Through the lens of the NFL, NBA, and MLB this discussion draws the comparison between professional sports and slavery and asks what solutions can prevent threats to a post-racial America.

Led by attorney Delanté S. Thomas, Syracuse alum and current Case Western Reserve University Law Advisor.

Contact Dr. Aaryn Green with questions at axgreen@jcu.edu.
Sponsored by The Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion. Free and open to the public; advance registration required.
African-American "Read-In"
Wednesday, February 24, 4:30 pm
Promo image for African American read in
In celebration of Black History Month, be part of the first and oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature. The African American Read-In was formed in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English. The program is designed to make literacy an integral part of Black History Month. Join the more than six million people who have participated in the program.

You're invited to read a short excerpt from a book, or poem, essay, research study, etc. authored by African American/Black authors (living or deceased). Reading needs to be between 3 to 5 minutes. Works of fiction and nonfiction are encouraged for this all-ages event. Students, staff, faculty, and the public are encouraged to listen and participate in this free program. This is an all-ages event.

Featured readers include:
• Honey Bell-Bey, Poet Laureate of Cuyahoga County
• Chelbi Graham, JCU Class of 2019

This event is sponsored through a collaboration between JCU's Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Diversity at Ursuline College. Please contact Salomon Rodezno with any inquiries.
Live (Virtual) Magic Show featuring Dan Chan, Master Magician
Monday, March 1, 12:30 pm
promo image for Dan Chan master magician
Take your lunch break with CSDI for a special magic and mind reading presentation with "The Millionaires' Mentalist" - Dan Chan: Master Magician. Buzzfeed did a full feature profile on Dan Chan and dubbed him “Silicon Valley’s Favorite Magician.” He’s been featured on The Hustle, Business Insider, Voyage LA and CNBC. This event is all-ages and free to the public.
Register now for the
21-Day Challenge for Racial Equity and Social Justice!
promo image for the YWCA Racial Equity Challenge
The DEI Division is encouraging ALL members of the JCU community to sign up for the 21-Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge this March!

The Challenge is designed to create dedicated time and space to build more effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership. Each day of the challenge you will be presented with activities such as reading an article, listening to a podcast, reflecting on personal experience and more. Participation in an activity like this helps us to discover how racial injustice and social injustice impact our community, to connect with one another, and to identify ways to dismantle racism and other forms of discrimination. The Challenge starts on Monday, March 1st and continues (Monday –Friday) through March 29th. It is sponsored by the YWCA of Greater Cleveland.
close up photo of a cross of ashes on a forehead
Lenten Blessings

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the day marking the beginning of the season of Lent (in the Gregorian calendar). Lent is a season of fasting and penitence in preparation for the celebration of Easter, the most important religious holiday in the Christian calendar, which will be celebrated by most U.S. Christians on April 4. Catholics traditionally observe Lent by abstaining from eating meat on Fridays, a custom which explains the ubiquitous "Fish Fry" dinners on Fridays at many churches and restaurants around the city.

Did you know? Christian communities following the older Julian calendar (such as the Russian Orthodox Church) will observe Ash Wednesday on March 15 this year, and Easter on May 2.

Interested in Lenten reflection with a focus on justice? Check out the daily reflections from the Ignatian Solidarity Network in their 2021 Lenten series, "Steadfast: A Call to Love."
Banner reads Watching Our Words
The "Watching our Words" feature discusses words or phrases in common use in American English that we may use without being aware of their racist, ableist or derogatory origins. Do you have a word or phrase you'd like us to feature in "Watching our Words"? Drop it into our Suggestion Box and we will explore it in a future newsletter!
Announcements from our network...
St. Mary's University hosts
"A Conversation on Race, Ethnicity, Equality, and Equity"
(With a panel featuring our very own Tiffany Galvin Green!)
Wednesday, February 24, 8:00-9:30 pm ET
St Marys University logo
This conversation will provide insight into the concepts of Race, Ethnicity, Equality, and Equity and discuss systematic barriers impacting underrepresented groups and strategies on how to overcome these challenges. This discussion will also share insights on how Catholic Universities and communities can be Anti-Racist.
  • Mr. Johnathan Butler, Esq. Equity Manager for the City of San Antonio 
  • Dr. Christopher Whitt, Vice Provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at Creighton University
  • Dr. Tiffany Galvin Green, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at John Carroll University 

Sponsored by the President’s Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Center of Catholic Studies, St. Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas, as part of their Black History Month celebration.
The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities
"Eyes to See: An Anti-Racism Examen"
In collaboration with colleagues across our member institutions -- including many colleagues here at John Carroll University -- the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) has designed Eyes to See: An Anti-Racism Examen. The Examination of Consciousness — or Examen — is a practice used by Jesuits and their colleagues for helping us to make choices and act in ways that better the world. The practice of the Examen is as applicable to colleges and universities as it is to individuals.

The Anti-Racism Examen focuses on matters of race and racism that are specific to us and our institutions. Consisting of three parts (a video, a guided Examen, and resources for further discussion), it has been developed as a resource for boards, senior leadership teams, faculty, staff, and mixed groups of college/university colleagues. Flexible and adaptable, it can be tailored to suit the needs of groups on Jesuit campuses.

The central visual element of the Anti-Racism Examen is a 15-minute long video featuring the voices of colleagues from across the AJCU network, sharing their experiences with racism and hopes for the future. You can watch it above, then click the link below for the full range of resources.
Cleveland Public Library Presents
"Understanding Policing in the 21st Century"
Saturday, February 27, 1:00 pm
writers and readers program promo image
Cleveland Public Library will host a free public event featuring Jelani Cobb and Heather McGhee in a frank conversation on the topic of "Policing in the 21st Century." This conversation is part of the Cleveland Public Library’s Writers & Readers series, which engages authors, academics, and public figures in discussions surrounding the books and stories that have shaped their lives.

The discussion will be accompanied by a virtual workshop entitled "Understanding Policing in the 21st Century," Wednesday, February 24 at 6:30 p.m. featuring civil rights attorneys Terry Gilbert and Gordon Friedman, facilitated by James Levin.
Also at Cleveland Public Library: In partnership with WOIO 19 News and their Next 400 initiative, Cleveland Public Library will host a Facebook Live discussion about vaccines and the African American experience on Thursday, February 18 at 7:30 p.m. Find out more on the CPL Facebook Page.
Xavier University launches a "Race and Ignatian Spirituality" Video Series
Xavier University's "Jesuit Resources" page is featuring a new video series, along with other Ignatian resources for Black History Month.
screenshot of website for Race and Ignatian Spirituality video series
image of multiple promotional images for MLK Day events at AJCU schools
BHM events in the AJCU
The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) has compiled a list of Black History Month events at Jesuit institutions across the country, including prayer services, panels, and lectures by scholars and activists. Most are virtual events and open to the public.
What we're reading this week ...

What we're watching this week ...

  • Race, Racism, and the Jim Crow Museum: A Discussion with Dr. David Pilgrim, founder and curator of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia. Hosted by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. Recorded on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 18, 2021