Anti-Racist Community Engagement: Reflecting on a Transformative Summer Series

A guest blog from Christina Santana

As the days grow shorter and the leaves begin to turn, we find ourselves at the end of our summer blog series on anti-racist community-engaged pedagogies and practices. It's been an incredible journey, and we are grateful to all of you who joined us in exploring the vital intersection of anti-racist community engagement.

Throughout the series, we delved into the core principles that guide our co-edited volume, "Anti-Racist Community Engagement: Principles and Practices." The Principles – which emerged from an inter-institutional effort to comprehensively capture and define what anti-racist community engagement looks like when relevant literature, campus data (on how individual institutions understand and respond to the experiences and needs of their minoritized students), and the voices of students and community partners are centered – structure the book and demonstrate efforts taken the level of the institution, intra and interpersonally, in learning/course design, and in within the classroom:

  • In the Principle 1 blog, Ada Vilageliu Díaz’s “ Creating a Community Project for Ourselves” urged us to confront the persistence and impact of racism in our campuses and community engagements, (challenging us to reframe our institutional and pedagogic practices) – though a project that brought to life a Latinx Storytime.
  • In the Principle 2 blog, Aaliyah Baker’s “Inviting Dialogue for Racial Healing” encouraged critical reflection on individual and systemic racism, (emphasizing the importance of understanding our own positionality, biases, and the historic roots of systemic racism) – though a project that provided a reflective space for higher education professionals.
  • In the Principle 3 blog, Alexandria C. Onuoha’s “Claiming Creative Space is our Ancestral Right” led us to consider intentionally designing our learning environments and courses, (setting anti-racist learning goals, curricula, policies, and assessments that reflect our commitment to equity) – through expansive pedagogy for black girls (adolescents and college age).
  • In the Principle 4 blog, Carmine Perrotti and jesús hernández’s “Unlearning to Grade in Anti-Racist Community-Engaged Courses” called for compassionate and reflective classrooms, (where students are embraced, acknowledged, and met where they are, creating a true sense of belonging) – through a project that details a set of strategies to center students best interests.

In these blogs, authors shared a bit about their projects to provide a glimpse in the unique, situated insights they detail in their chapters alongside practical reflections and roadmaps for adaptation. 

Now that the book is in print, we invite you to explore the full chapters our blog writers contributed as well as eighteen additional pieces. Secure your copy. As well, be sure to check out the open-access digital companion where you will find invaluable materials, from syllabi to handouts, to further illuminate each author's compelling practices.

As we bid farewell to our summer series, we invite you to continue this critical dialogue. Let's keep the conversation alive, reflecting on the "behind the scenes" of our projects, recasting chapters for larger conversations, and sharing the initiatives we've undertaken and the lessons we've learned.

The summer may have ended, but our commitment to anti-racist community engagement remains steadfast. Several co-editors will be attending relevant conferences to promote the book - IARSLCE, AAC&U, Campus Compact -  and we are working with authors to arrange virtual gatherings around the Principles.

Stay tuned for more, and together, let's continue to actively combat racism and promote equity through community engagement.

Anti-Racist Community Engagement Back Cover


Guest author

Christina Santana

Associate Professor of English