By Naniyah McClain
The “Post Election Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion” webinar on Wednesday, Nov. 4, asked a lot of participants: to connect with our collective humanity and learn to let empathy and compassion rule over divisiveness and fear.
Led by Bart Bailey (BS ’90/BA ’99), owner and principal consultant of Courage to Care, LLC, the webinar series allowed the 50+ guests to interact with the former FDU student as he energetically read through his PowerPoint presentation. He encouraged guests to take notes during the webinar, as well as to use the “raise hand” and chat box to ask questions.
Kenneth Lam, executive director of Development and Alumni Relations, and Jennifer Troxell, FDU’s assistant director of Development and Alumni Relations, hosted the webinar. Bailey conducted the webinar from his home in Allentown, Pa.
Bailey said that the goal of the webinar series is to get a sense of connection of when we may or may not feel respected and trusted.
“What I want to focus on is what does justice mean, what it feels like and what it looks like,” he said.
In order to move past divisiveness, we have to know ourselves, especially while moving forward after the 2020 presidential election, Bailey said. He said people can divide themselves based on the candidates they decided to vote for. He asked the guests, “What parts of your identity give you power?”
David Rubenstien, Bailey’s friend and colleague, responded to the question by mentioning that his parents instilled in him the importance of knowing that everyone has flaws.
“I feel that when we live in fear, we downplay other peoples’ humanity,” Rubenstien said.
Halfway through the webinar, Bailey mentioned a list of books he has read that were connected to the webinar’s theme of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. His list:
- Radical Dharma: Demonstration of how social/personal transformation as well as spiritual liberation can have a deep connection.
- My Grandmother’s Hand: Healing racial trauma by being more aware about other cultures and customs.
- A Search for Belonging: A guide for people who are searching for their sense of belonging, purpose and satisfaction in life.
- Black Fatigue: A guide to be educated, engaged and informed about how to heal from physical and psychological damage in suppressed environments.
- Dying of Whiteness: A lesson of how white Americans can benefit from cooperating with other races
- Race, Law and American Society: A depiction of the role that race plays in America’s justice system.
- Inventing Latinos: The race-making, unmaking and remaking of Latino identity through many centuries.
- Me and White Supremacy: A self-guided workbook and anti-racism tool.
The importance of recognizing and owning our flaws were the main topics of the webinar, so Bailey asked: “What is the purpose of fear, anger and othering serving others?”
Student Samantha Truman typed in the chat, “Protecting others.”
Bailey described a moment when he was on the receiving end of fear, anger, and othering.
“While I was speaking at a Black Lives Matter protest, three men showed up with guns,” he said.
The post-election webinar stressed the importance of reflecting on our life experiences, unifying and learning about ourselves while our country shifts to a new era after the 2020 presidential election. Many guests of the webinar agreed that the event fulfilled its main goal, to build a connection during this time.
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