UMD’s Equity, Race, and Ethnicity’s 2023 summit: Decolonization

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UMD is hosting their 20th annual Equity, Race, and Ethnicity summit, and the theme is decolonization. Decolonization, also known as freeing up institutions and communities from social and cultural influences created from colonization. It removes barriers set in place to subjugate others of different races, ethnicities and equities.

Robert Hoffman, the senior development director at the University of Minnesota Duluth, talked more about the theme. “Decolonization is not just an academic exercise. These are all peoples that have contributed to enriching our culture and our society. So decolonization is really an activity to seek out the truths that are still there” Hoffman said.

Those who attended the summit want to support students of color, by creating a community where everyone feels welcome. Decolonization efforts also work towards developing antiracist policies. “There’s a tremendous uptick in violence, hate speech, things of that nature. And we bring that out into the open here. We’re not afraid to actually bring in contrarian voices. There’s a great place for these kinds of conversations not coming from weakness, but coming from courage.” Hoffman said.

Also at today’s decolonization summit, there is a one woman play featuring Angela Polite. The play explores the history of black mothers and their sons from slavery onward. “I think in recent years we’ve seen that there has been a really significant effort to roll back so many of the work that we’ve done regarding civil rights and racial equity. So there is still a great need for summits like this.” Polite said. “We need to continue to talk and have those conversations and we need to continue to be curious and proximate about one another, and those who we consider to be our neighbors. I think it is only then that we can truly work towards an equitable society.”

UMD’s Commission on Equity, Race and Ethnicity hope all who attended will walk away inspired to continue the work of remove the colonialism from our community and seek real justice for everyone who lives here.

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