I am very pleased to be one of many representatives of the Coalition for Multicultural Affairs, a rich community of traditions and inclusive values. I am excited to be at the helm of our efforts to build safe spaces for underrepresented populations within ACPA and throughout the postsecondary sector. As we work towards upholding our mission through the completion of our goals, we have also committed ourselves to thinking critically and creatively about current issues in higher education. We are an entity focused on innovation, relationship-building, and advocacy, and I am grateful to be actively involved in a group dedicated to supporting minorities in the academy. We are especially excited about the opportunities that abound in hosting the 2017 conference in Ohio, and we are hopeful that you are able to join us at this year's convention!About the Coalition for Multicultural Affairs (CMA) The Coalition for Multicultural Affairs (CMA) is one of seven different coalitions within the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). Specifically, CMA is composed of five singular Networks: (1) Asian Pacific American, (2) Latin@/x, (3) Multiracial, (4) Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous, and (5) Pan African. All five Networks work collectively to promote diversity within ACPA. CMA is a nationally visible and action-oriented group that addresses the changing cultural dynamics within higher education institutions and works to create multicultural strategies and solutions. Purpose & Mission Statement The mission of CMA is to focus attention on, and educate the student affairs profession about, the issues and concerns of people of color in higher education. The mission of CMA is to enhance awareness about issues and concerns of individuals and groups from historically marginalized racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds in ACPA and higher education. The Coalition for Multicultural Affairs will work to assure that the organization promotes an environment in which we value every member of the ACPA community, develop the programs and enhance awareness to fulfill our commitment to caring for our diverse local and international communities. Core Values
- Celebration: Celebrating accomplishments of individuals and groups from historically marginalized racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds within ACPA and higher education;
- Advocacy: Being proactive and responsive in addressing issues and concerns that impact our constituencies;
- Respect: Deepening consciousness of the history of individuals and groups from historically marginalized racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds while honoring the multiple identities that exist within our communities;
- Education: Raising awareness and engage professionals within ACPA and higher education about multicultural education and the concerns of individuals and groups from historically marginalized racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds;
- Support: Providing support that centers on inclusion and understanding to members of ACPA and within the higher education community.
We have been silent. But the silence has been intentional. We are in mourning and we are simply trying to heal. From Orlando and Baton Rouge to Dallas and Minnesota, we are in shock at the lengthening chain of violence against people of color. Over the past three years, we have continued to observe increased awareness of police brutality against marginalized populations. Know this, the number of tragedies are the same. The behaviors correlated with the propagation of these issues have not changed. The system has battered, bruised, imprisoned, and murdered folx of color for centuries. What has changed is the increased visibility of these incidents through social media and technology.
Some of us are trying to protect our psyches. Some of us must be strategic in how we protect our bodies. Some of us are trying to reconcile the fact that we may not be able to guarantee the safety of our loved ones. In our silence, we're making sense and making meaning. We wonder. How many of us are too tired, angry, hurt, and/or overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness? How can we make space for you and others in the middle of this? How can we serve as advocates, allies, and activists within ACPA, our campuses, and our field? Here are some of our thoughts:
We live in a time where dichotomous thinking has pitted us against one another; but we recognize an alternative way to be - to be both/and. We acknowledge for example, that one can be both pro-Black lives and pro-police. As the Coalition of Multicultural Affairs, we wish to emphasize that we are anti-violence in all of its forms, and against police brutality. As we have observed in recent weeks and months, police brutality geared towards people of color is more likely to result in violence - in serious injury or death.
We invite you to be mindful.
Appreciate both intent and impact. If someone is making a conscientious effort to learn and serve, allow grace if mistakes occur. Use these errors as teachable moments for growth, not spaces for shame.
We encourage you to practice self-care.
Utilize your personal and professional support system, including allies and human resources options that may be offered by your employer. Utilize sick leave and child care options to practice wellness and to create a quiet space for yourself.
We urge you to act.
Identify representatives within your district, county, and state. Identify those who have made progressive strides towards civil rights and call out (not in) individuals who have demonstrated complacency. Demand that the lives of people of color matter and that the end of police brutality should be a priority in the coming election.
Finally, we encourage you to engage the literature on best practices for your campus and community. Use the resources our Association affords its members.
While the urgency of action and care is upon us, we wish to move forward with love - for ourselves, for each other in the Association, and for those on our campuses. We cannot achieve a more equitable world alone; we must move forward together.
Shawna M. Patterson Chair, Coalition of Multicultural Affairs Members of the CMA Directorate Members of the CMA Networks