Diversity Events

Sankofa Community Conversations

Beginning in 2018, the school will be launching 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. 

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

April 23, 2020, Heller School of Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University 

Dr. Callie Watkins Liu and the Heller School of Social Policy and Management Office Equity, Inclusion and Diversity invite you to submit a proposal to participate in an Undergraduate and Graduate student conference about Anti-Racism. The “Sankofa Community Conference: Co-Constructing Racial Justice Through Life and Work” will take place on April 23, 2020 at the Heller School of Social Policy and Management. Submissions are due on February 14 and should be sent to HellerSankofaConference@gmail.com.

Conference Description

The Sankofa Community Conference is an opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students to sharpen critical thinking regarding social justice, race and ethnicity and identify concrete interventions.

Building off of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality, applications should explore issues between and within racial and ethnic groups as well as the intersections of race and ethnicity with other categories of difference – such as gender, social class or citizenship. Students are encouraged to: engage with cutting edge racial justice questions in an area of interest - such as mental health, disability or education - and interrogate the root causes, while connecting to current manifestations.

Presentations should not simply conclude that racial injustice and inequality exist, but how they operate, how they matter in people’s lives, and what steps can be taken to address them.

Submission Information

We are looking for student papers and posters that rigorously examine racial justice issues, at three levels of analysis: 2 of 2

Level 1: Individual and Interpersonal

Level 2: Institutional

Level 3: Ideological

Participants are expected to have a clear and grounded understanding of a racial justice problem and how it could be addressed. Participants will only be expected to hone in on one level for their presentations, but submissions must explain how the multiple levels of society interact to perpetuate or challenge the racial injustice. See the attached “4 Is” diagram for further explanation of these analytic levels.

Paper Submissions

Those wishing to present papers should submit a proposal by February 14. Include your paper title, name, institution, year of school, and an abstract in the body of the email. Your subject line should indicate this is a paper and should indicate the central level of focus 1) Individual and Interpersonal 2) Institutional or 3) Ideological. All submissions must include: a cover page (title, name, institution, and year of school) an abstract of no more than 250 words. All papers must be submitted as a word doc – with your last name and title in the file name -, a header with your last name on each page, page numbers, references and citations (ASA or APA style).

Poster Submissions

Similar to the papers, posters must clearly explain a racial justice issue and how it can be addressed. Your subject line should indicate this is a poster and should indicate the central level of focus 1) Individual and Interpersonal 2) Institutional or 3) Ideological. Submissions should include an abstract of no more than 250 words and a cover page with poster title, name, institution, year of school. Posters should be submitted as pdfs and your last name and title must be in the file name.

Conference Volunteers

If you are interested in being a volunteer, facilitator, or moderator for the conference, please send a cover letter with a description of why you are interested in volunteering, and what experience you have as a facilitator or moderator around issues of racial justice. Your cover letter can be in the body of the email. Your subject line should indicate that you are interested in volunteering.

Upcoming Events

  • January 21st & 22nd, Ford Hall: Closing the Disparity Gap: A two day event that will encompass a reflective community conversation on the experience and legacy of Ford Hall and screening of its film on the first day. The second day will focus on two presentations discussing intent vs. impact in communication, and the ongoing challenge and ethical responsibility of remembering in the civil rights movement.
  • February 11th, Anti-Racism, Anti-Semitism and Anti-Islamophobia: Conversations with religious leaders to understand people's experiences and resolutions underlying systemic issues of oppression.
  • March 5th, Commemoration of International Women's Day: Conversations on the relevance of a gendered lens in the work of social policy towards social justice. A storytelling session will follow this panel discussion by storyteller Dianne Macklin
  • April 23rd, Sankofa Community Conference: Co-Constructing Racial Justice Through Life and Work: The Sankofa Community Conference is an opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students to sharpen critical thinking regarding social justice, race and ethnicity and identify concrete interventions.

Past Events

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.

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

Contact Information

Maria Madison, Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity

Office: Heller-Schneider 119

Phone: 781-736-3886

Email: mtm@brandeis.edu

Learn more about the Sankofa Community Conference and how to participate in this information session with Dr. Callie Watkins Liu.