Equity, Inclusion and Diversity

Community Conversations

Sankofa Community Conversations

Beginning in 2017, the school launched a series of semi-structured events and community conversations to promote dialogue across our silos. The spirit of the conversations respects the Ghanaian (Twi) concept of remembering the past to prepare for the future. The series grew out of the idea that new members to the community bump into Heller’s Ford Hall history. The Sankofa community conversations are intended to provide an opportunity for frank intimate conversations. Sometimes the conversations will be in the form of panel discussions. Other times the conversations will be part of hosted lunches with small numbers of community representatives. We hope everyone will join in on this effort, eventually becoming change agents/bridges across our silos. 

Past Events

A Conversation with Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr.: Brandeis 21-Day Equity Challenge for a More Inclusive Community

In January 2021, the Heller community took a deep dive into racial equity using Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr.’s 21-day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge as a model and guide. In February 2021, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the International Business School also participated in their own 21-Day Racial Equity Challenges. On March 16, 2021 these three graduate schools welcomed Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. and esteemed panelists to discuss the roots of the 21-Day Challenge and its significance in this moment of escalated hate crimes - including anti-Asian hate crimes - and racial reckoning.

Heller Community Reading for Social Justice: Teach-In with Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

As part of our community reading of “From #Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation,” by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Heller's Sankofa Conversations presented a community-wide anti-racism conversation on Oct. 1, 2020.

"Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired": A Conversation on Anti-Racism & Equity Momentum in America

July 13, 2020. Featuring Leah Wright Rigueur, Harry Truman Associate Professor of History at Brandeis University; Bill Rodgers, Chief Economist, Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University; Anita Hill, Professor of Social Policy, Law and Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies, Brandeis University; and moderated by Maria Madison, Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity at the Heller School.

Sankofa Community Conference: Co-Constructing Racial Justice through Life and Work

Slide saying "Sankofa Community Conference: Advancing Racial Justice Through Life and Work

On June 2 and 3, 2020, the Heller School held its first Sankofa Community Conference, “Advancing Racial Justice Through Life and Work,” with more than 500 participants over two days.

The virtual conference, held as communities across the U.S. protested for racial justice and societal change, covered current events, including how structural racism interacts with COVID-19; disability and race; restorative and transformative justice and the need for reparations; and personal stories from people of color about survival through inequality.

Read the full story on the conference.

Videos and resources from the conference available here.

“What happens when we forget?” Commemorating Ford Hall 2015

“Who’s at the Table?” The second Sankofa Community Conversation tackles diversity, equity and inclusion

First Sankofa Community Conversation Welcomes Mel King to Heller (story and video)

The Heller School welcomed a panel discussion of social justice and change, featuring activist and academic Mel King as well as alumnus Christian Perry.

Contact Information

Maria Madison, Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity

Office: Heller-Schneider 119

Phone: 781-736-3886

Email: mtm@brandeis.edu