ARiA started as a small, grassroots initiative and has quickly grown into a collaboration across multiple institutions. The initiative is volunteer-led and open to all employees in the higher education sector.
The Anti-Racism in Academia: A Learning Journey (ARiA) series was created to inspire a more understanding and inclusive community in higher education by engaging professionals of all levels and across disciplines. Combatting racism on a personal, professional, and communal scale requires time and intentional effort; it really is a journey of discovery and understanding.
Because racism is a complex and sensitive topic, the ARiA coordinators have organized the series with an action-oriented “Learn. Grow. Lead” model in mind:
- Learn the “what,” “how,” and “why” of the ARiA framework.
- Grow through safe, transparent discussion that examines our own biases and beliefs about race.
- Lead from where you are using the tactics and strategies learned.
We want to enable participants to get the most out of their learning journey; therefore, we designed the ARiA framework to accomplish three main goals:
- Create safe spaces to explore, share, and learn.
- Promote personal and professional growth through awareness and understanding of the experiences of different races.
- Empower participants to enact changes that will create a more inclusive and copassionate higher ed community.
The ARiA series framework is organized into 5 parts:
- REACH OUT to people from different racial backgrounds than your own.
- LISTEN to their perspectives and lived experiences.
- LEARN from conversations and credible sources with the goal of achieving conscientiousness around racism.
- ACT with intent and steadfast commitment to affect change within your spheres of influence.
- PERSIST to sustain your diversity efforts.
Each part includes a short, opening webinar that introduces the month’s topic, followed by small, private virtual breakout sessions. The breakout discussions are the heart of the ARiA journey. They are small, facilitator-led group discussions designed to enable open, frank, and compassionate discussion that will promote personal and professional growth through awareness and expanded perspectives. We hope that the sessions will empower you to lead from where you are using suggested ideas, strategies, and examples.