Third Stronger Together Dialogue Series Focuses on Community Action

Student, faculty, staff organizers work to address racial injustice in UM community

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, along with partner organizations, is hosting the third in its Stronger Together trilogy of tent-pole conversations around the topic of racial injustice on campus, in the community and across the nation.

The conversation, which will be hosted virtually starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday (June 29), will focus on organizing action groups to begin addressing the issues brought up during previous conversations.

“I think it’s really cool that this institution provides so many opportunities for us to look back and see our legacy and impact on the institution, and this is just one more example of that being done in a collaborative way,” said EJ Edney, director of inclusion and cross cultural engagement.

“What’s novel about now is we’re being brought into this moment by these examples of injustice that are just so hard to ignore, and it’s made us more critical and left us wondering what we can do to reduce the chances of something like that happening in the grander scheme of things, or at least to show that we, as an institution and community, don’t accept those injustices as something we should be comfortable with.”

On Wednesday, a group of volunteer action leaders will lead breakout sessions around the topics discussed during the last Stronger Together conversation: the Grove; university history, symbols and context; reimagining policing on campus; freedom of speech and the First Amendment; campus elections; and Greek life.

Erin Drew, a volunteer action leader and associate professor of English, said she has never been a part of such a broad and collective effort of organizers dedicated to action at the university.

“One reason Stronger Together is important is because it’s made up of members of every constituency: alumni, staff, faculty, undergraduate, graduate and community members – all of us who work and learn here and have connection to this community and care about this school and what it could be,” Drew said.

“We’re all coming together and saying here’s what we care about, here are the places we see Ole Miss, if not actively perpetuating, at least tolerating harm against certain members of our community.”

The focus of the first Stronger Together open-dialogue events has been to offer healing, strengthen allyship and develop an action plan to address racial injustices in the community. Throughout the series, organizers have listened and participants shared their own experiences.

Each of the conversations has built to a point that volunteer action leaders can begin organizing groups and targeting initiatives to research and address.

Anyone interested in participating in the Stronger Together open dialogue around community action can do so by registering in advance here.