An Invitation Into A Community

By: Kendra Dunbar
Assistant Director for Equity and Inclusion
Office of the Chief Diversity Officer

How was this institution built? Who did the building? Who does it serve?  What is its purpose? What are the goals? Who else might it serve if values were re-centered in all of its praxis or policies? What is our praxis? What could our praxis be? How would that change who we are, how we function, or what impact we could have?  

For over 20 years I have been walking alongside communities, institutions, organizations, and government and NGO leadership inviting them to reconsider what is and engage what could be. In whatever form the context or country I am working requires human rights, social justice, reconciliation, equity, and/or participatory processes have been at the center of my work. Imagination, creativity, and the messiness of idea construction across sectors, job functions, departments, interests, and personal identities are primary resources and tools in that creation of another way.  

I was drawn to this project because it is an invitation into a community – a community of thinkers and builders that want to ask the questions, exchange ideas, iterate concepts, policy, and praxis, and take the risk to propose new ways of being as a university community. Many of the ideas, proposals, and suggestions that surface in our time together will not lead directly to a change in policy or praxis; however opening ourselves to the creative engagement of all of the ideas, questions, proposals, and suggestions are needed in effective and equitable institutional growth. And that prospect excites me.