The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black people have exposed a painful but important truth: Many institutions and individuals, despite their best intentions, have not done enough to right the wrongs wrought by systemic racism in the United States.
Indiana University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion dates back to former IU President Herman B Wells, who ended institutional segregation and encouraged the growth of diverse communities at IU. This commitment continues today as a core component of the university’s mission to provide educational and career opportunities for all.
However, we realize that there is more work to be done—and that we’ve only scratched the surface of what is possible. That’s why IU is seizing this moment to make monumental investments in research, resources, and programs that will work to address racial injustice and move toward a truly equitable society.
Just since June 2020, IU has:
- Established a $1 million Pandemic Health Disparities Fund, which will create programs related to public health safety measures, including special screening and testing, mental health services, and broader student wellness programs for populations that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and that have returned for the 2020 fall semester.
- Launched the Racial Justice Research Fund, which will support 25 grants providing start-up funding for research by IU faculty focused on racial equality and justice, as well as host an ongoing Racial Justice Research Workshop series to connect these researchers and engage other members of the IU community.
- Renamed the Intramural Center on the Bloomington campus to honor legendary IU basketball player Bill Garrett.
- Embarked on a review of all named buildings or structures on all IU campuses to ensure they are named for individuals whose values reflect those of the university.
- Secured a $7 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to help educate IU medical students to better care for underserved populations and eliminate health care disparities for communities of color.
In addition to these new efforts, a number of existing programs across IU’s campuses are working to remove barriers for people of color. Here are a few:
- Launched in 2018, the Black Philanthropy Circle addresses education issues faced by Black communities through the power of philanthropic giving.
- The Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy at the IU Lilly School of Philanthropy fosters a greater understanding of ways in which underrepresented people are both inspired and informed donors by providing knowledge, education, and training.
- The IU South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center sponsors or hosts a wide range of educational and cultural programming to engage the public in conversations on issues of local and national importance, and functions as a community resource for grassroots activism.
To learn more about these and other initiatives, visit antiracist.iu.edu.
If you’re interested in supporting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at IU, please contact Joyce Rogers, vice president for development and external relations for OVPDEMA, at 812-855-4569 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or use the following Give Now link to support the IU Equity Fund today:
This article was originally published in the fall 2020 issue of Imagine magazine.