Black Lives Matter. Racism and anti-Black racism in this country are pervasive, institutionalized and deeply embedded in the histories and policies that guide academic institutions, including our own. Confronting these injustices requires action informed by critical reflection and compassion. At the Renée Crown Wellness Institute, we are committed to examining our biases, practices, and policies, and acting in ways that promote healing and justice. Our work seeks to recognize, value and honor diverse approaches to wellness and the impact of racism on social, emotional, and mental health. We acknowledge how traditional research and educational practices have perpetuated cycles of oppression and silenced voices; core to our purpose as a research institute is re-imagining what research is through a lens of equity and justice and implementing anti-racist policies and practices.
Some of the actions we have taken include co-developing an undergraduate course and a toolkit on wellness and anti-racism in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic with the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Education, and the College of Media, Communication and Information. We also are focusing our monthly Crown Institute research seminars for the faculty, staff, and students on our collective work around anti-racism. We will be focused on addressing distrust and building trust, examining topics such as changing perpetuated cycles of oppression in research recruitment and research engagement, and identifying action steps for specific studies and teams as well as guiding policies in our organization. We also have started a process to review closely our policies regarding hiring, promotion, and retention of faculty, researchers, and staff as well as program planning and research design with respect to anti-racism.