Anti-Racism Training for Students: How Students Can Get Involved

In the midst of ongoing protests for racial justice and equality around the country and specifically on Kent State University's campus, several students and student organizations are requesting change from the University, which includes anti-racism training for all students.

Students at the 2018 Discrimination Station EventThe Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion offers anti-racism training on Kent State’s campus, which consists of a series of sessions that include anti-racism workshops, Cultural Competency Basics & Awareness, Understanding Unconscious Bias, Leadership, Mindset & Care, Learning How to Be an Ally, and various additional topics on equity, inclusion, microaggressions and diversity.

The project coordinator for equity and diversity training, Marquis Davis, expressed that the training(s) are  not geared towards one population of students and the university is dedicated to ensuring each student's voice and concerns are heard.

Several students from the black, white, and other communities have come to Davis expressing that they would like to learn more about anti-racism and how they can combat it. Davis said that in order to start having conversations about this anti-racism, one has to start at the structures and systems already in place.  

“Even though it is called a ‘training,’ we are really focused on educating individuals,” Davis said. “When it comes to educating them on social justice, allyship, and equality, we can't really train anyone to be anti-racist, but we can educate them on what it means to be anti-racist and then look at their benefits, life or struggle and help those individuals move past wherever they are.”

Davis thinks it’s important for students to educate themselves on different social justice issues, especially during the climate we are living in.

“I believe it is important for students to know how social justice works and that advancing equality is about everyone,” Davis said. “It’s about how you can use your voice, power, influence and privilege to move forward.”

The trainings are typically in a group setting and are led by a staff member from the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion or by a trained faculty or staff member..

Students or student organizations who are interested in a particular training are advised to reach out to Davis to let him know what their needs are and what they would like to learn. From the bank of information available, Davis and his team can customize  training for that specific organization or student.

“Later in the semester, we are looking to have a week of training offered for the entire student body that will revolve around racism, microaggression and anti-bias training,” Davis said. “These trainings are still developing, but if we can't service the whole request of students or student organizations, we will put this out for anyone who wants to attend those particular training sessions.”

In the past, the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has worked with all Kent State colleges and schools  to bring education and diversity awareness to their faculty, staff and students.

“Each college either has a designated department for diversity or they have their own academic diversity officer in their college,” Davis said. “But if a college does not have a particular department like that, or if they don’t have programming for their students, they can reach out to us, and we will implement the training per their request.”

To learn more about anti-racism training, visit https://www.kent.edu/diversity/training, or if you have any questions or would like to request a training for your organization, contact Davis directly at mcdavis@kent.edu

Photo Caption: Two Kent State students pose after completing “The Discrimination Station” event in 2018, sponsored by the Student Multicultural Center (SMC).

POSTED: Friday, October 2, 2020 - 1:20pm
UPDATED: Friday, October 2, 2020 - 1:20pm
WRITTEN BY:
Andriana Ruscitto