An update on the Curry Common Read, “Waking Up White”
Late last summer we shared information about our Curry Common Read for 2015-16, Waking Up White (and finding myself in the story of race), by Debby Irving (2014). We hoped the book would help open a dialog throughout the Curry School of Education about racism, equity, whiteness, and privilege.
So far, it’s fair to say the results have exceeded our expectations! We have had seven book discussion sessions attended by students, faculty, staff, and alumni. These discussions have included honest conversations about race, inclusion, and exclusion; participants have shared how the book opened their eyes to issues they hadn’t ever thought about.
As an extension of the book discussions, borrowing from something we saw on Debby Irving’s website, a few members of the Curry Diversity Action Team created a “Curry Diversity Challenge.” The challenge required Curry community members to complete three activities in each of four categories: Read, Watch/Listen, Do/Act, and Communicate.
What we particularly liked, but what made this challenge significant, was the requirement to take action rather than simply read or watch. We’re so pleased to report that 25 people completed the challenge, and we plan on providing a second opportunity this spring. Here are a few comments shared by participants:
- “This challenge has been very enlightening and I found myself ‘waking up’ through the many examples and stories, becoming more and more aware of this issue of diversity. This was a very rewarding challenge and I have recommended it to many of my fellow students.”
- “It helped to connect the dots from me to society and its oppression of many classes of people. I have read other books on black identity formation and attended numerous diversity workshops but my perspective had always been on the challenges of ‘others.’”
- “Having the entire Curry community come together to work on this issue makes teaching concepts such as diversity, equity, bias and privilege easier, because the topic becomes ‘normalized’’; e.g., it is expected that we as a community discuss these issues openly and provide safety and support.”
We couldn’t be more pleased with the reception the challenge received, and we’re excited to continue forward with this important work.
Next up is a visit from the author, Debby Irving on January 27
In the morning Debby will facilitate a workshop for Curry faculty and doctoral students focusing on teaching and diversity.
From 1:30 – 2:30pm, there is an opportunity to meet Debby and have your book signed (Bavaro Hall Atrium).
At 4:30pm Debby will speak to the larger community as part of the MLK Celebration. The title of her talk is, “I’m a Good Person – Isn’t that Enough?” This talk will take place in Bavaro Hall Room 106 (Holloway), and is open to the public.
We hope you can join us!