January 11th-15th, 2024
Emory University Conference Center
Nancy Lynne Westfield, Director
Sarah Farmer, Associate Director
Gina Robinson, Associate Director
Carolyn Medine, University of Georgia
Lahronda Little, Candler School at Emory University
Myra Rivera, Harvard University
Joseph Tucker Edmonds, Indiana University – Purdue University
João Chaves, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Maria Wong, City Seminary of New York
Dong Hyeon Jeong, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seimary
Kenneth Ngwa, Drew University
Honorarium and Fellowship
Participants will receive an honorarium of $1500 for full participation in the Conversation.
BIPOC colleagues of all descriptions have had to learn to cope in school ecologies which immerse us in the white supremacist USA milieu. We have experienced and survived many forms of hatred. We have been schooled in self-hatred. We have learned, a little bit, how to survive individualism, sabotage from non-black colleagues, and blatant and subtle systemic racist practices.
Shedding poisonous assumptions, habits, and practices of mis-education requires great intention and support. This gathered conversation endeavors to articulate visions for new and renewed possibilities for communities of justice, equity, and belonging, i.e., renewed attempts at racial solidarity, camaraderie, and collegial cohesion between BIPOC teachers. We are gathering to dream, to strategize, and to problem solve.
Using a case study approach, we will discuss our experience of anti-black ecologies in teaching and the teaching life. With an eye toward learning new habits and practices, we will focus our discussion on experiences of racial solidarity, community, building new institutions and seeking health. Our aim is to become better teachers for our students and healthier colleagues for one another.
We will focus upon:
What is solidarity among BIPOC colleagues who teach religion and theology? What have been advantageous strategies of racial solidarity among one another and in partnership with white allies? What would it take to realize the potential benefits of studying, through case study analysis, strategies of racial solidarity for the wellness, sanity, and longevity of BIPOC colleagues? What would it mean to center our experiences of effective racial solidarity for our teaching and learning? What would it mean to move from a mentality of risk-taking to a mentality of risk-sharing?
- To discuss, as BIPOC people, new visions for more just contexts of education and strategies of solidarity.
- To tell the stories of experiences of collegiality, bravery, and advocacy.
- To concern ourselves with common ground, good community, the beloved community, bridge building, partnerships, collaborations, and coalitions.
- To define solidarity in the identity politics of USA’s academy and theological education.
- To explore practices of agency, advocacy, and acting one for another in spaces of oppression and where there is little to no vision for diversity, equity, and belonging beyond tokenism.
- To fortify ourselves for teaching as BIPOC peoples.
- To learn ways of risk-sharing so we are not exhausted or overtaken by loneliness.
- What does it mean, as BIPOC colleagues, to be in relationship that is not dependent upon the white gaze?
- What does it mean to shed, heal from, or dismiss the anti-black notions to which we have been indoctrinated?
- What are our questions and discovery experiences for the affirmation of our lives, healing and moving forward as BIPOC colleagues in solidarity with one another?
- What are the possible institutional locations where racial solidarity might reshape the institution as well as the experience of the students and our own teaching life?
- What kinds of courage is needed for solidarity? What kinds of agency?
- From where comes a shared vision of community, abundance, and agency for one another?
- What is risk-sharing and how might we mobilize to share the risk?
- What is at stake if efforts for solidarity fail or are not taken seriously?
- What cases (incident reports and experiences) can we analyze for insight on solidarity? What stories will empower and heal?
- What if solidarity requires a kindling of love, compassion, and accountability?