Racial Equity

June 1, 2020

Black background with white text stating "Black Lives Matter"

The mission of the Harvard College Women’s Center is to promote gender equity by raising awareness of women’s and gender issues, developing women’s leadership, and celebrating women who challenge, motivate, and inspire. Our shared values around inclusion and centering intersectionality in our work are core to upholding our mission. Audre Lorde said that “there is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” Similarly, the work of the Women’s Center cannot be “single-issue” as the experiences of women are shaped by the whole of their intersecting identities. 

That said, this work is especially challenging as our Center is embedded in an institution that was built by, but not for, Black people, on land that was stolen from the Massachusett tribe. For centuries Harvard excluded the voices of all who did not identify as a white, heterosexual, upperclass, cis-gendered man. As an institution we still have a long way to go to rectify these centuries of compounding injustices internally, as well as being a force for change outside of our gates. 

With the unjust killing of so many women and trans Black, Indigenous, and people of color by the police, including the recent killings of Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade, it is clear that women and gender minorities are not immune to the violent policing that plagues these communities. In fact, their murders are oft under-reported and overlooked by people who narrowly focus on the experience of Black men at the hands of police. 

We see you. We are listening. And we are committed to keep doing what needs to be done until justice is a reality for all. We recognize and thank our many community members who have been engaged in this work and are simultaneously enraged and exhausted. We invite those who are new to the cause of anti-Black racism to join us as we work toward a society that uplifts and centers the most marginalized amongst us. Please feel free to share additional resources or questions on this form as we work to consolidate efforts on this page.

 

Anti-Racist Resource Lists

We also suggest you take a few moments to go to a Black-owned Bookstore and order items there to financially support Black community members.

HCWC Strategy Against Anti-Black Racism

The Women’s Center has and will continue to center the voices of women of color in our advocacy and programming. Below outlines our strategy for moving forward with this work at a time of heightened awareness of and resistance to anti-Black racism.

  1. Introduce & consolidate resources for fighting anti-Black racism

  2. Collaborative programming with other offices and departments that highlight allyship and social justice, such as Summer Solidarity Circles.

  3. Continued support of Women of Color Collective

  4. Renew collaborations with student organizations that center the Black community in our regular programming and events, including a focus on intersectional issues raised by felony disenfranchisement and voter suppression

  5. Continued financial support of Black student organizations through Women's Week and our ART Grant process

  6. Increased emphasis on intersectionality and privilege in our educational materials, including Gender 101 Workshops

  7. Continued advocacy for increased discussion space for masculinity of color

  8. Ensure continued emphasis on unbiased hiring and retention practices and diversity on our team, including undergraduate, graduate and full time staff members

  9. Support Women’s Cabinet advocacy in support of intersecting issues, such as enhanced HUHS resources to support women, gender minorities, and students of color and the University’s response to allegations of racism and sexism within the HUPD

  10. Promotion of diversity in STEM through our WiSTEM Mentorship Program and through the Diversity in STEM Coalition and collaborative work and advocacy efforts with the Diversity in STEM Working Group

See also: Race & Equity