Truth Racial Healing and Transformation – The Citadel Today Wed, 12 May 2021 19:59:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Truth Racial Healing and Transformation – The Citadel Today 32 32 144096890 Citadel initiatives to focus on campus and community diversity Wed, 12 May 2021 21:00:09 +0000 "The push for diversifying The Citadel experience begins even before cadet and students walk in the door."]]>

As seen the Charleston Regional Business Journal, by Alexandria Ng

From the moment male cadets shave their heads and become “knobs,” the nickname given to those first-years, students at The Citadel are exposed to diversity and inclusion from all levels of the institution. 

Whether it’s required leadership development courses that emphasize the school’s core values of honor, duty and respect when encountering difference of opinion and background, or the opportunity to join extracurriculars based on culture, faith and experience, efforts have been taken to ensure a space on campus for each student.

“We as a state entity are educating the future, not only of our state, but also of the country,” said Kelly Brennan, associate provost for enrollment management. “It’s very important, economically, educationally and in the military, to make sure that there is diverse representation and inclusion in all organizations because the more smart people you have around the table who are looking at things from different lenses, the better ways you’ll have to solve problems.”

The push for diversifying The Citadel experience begins even before students walk in the door. Through meeting with families to address concerns and sharing success stories from alumni and leaders who represent all walks of life, the admissions team aims to showcase a community where all find their niche, Brennan said. 

Efforts in outreach have also increased the past few months with the help of the newly formed Citadel African American Alumni Association, she said.

“We’ve done a nice job over the last decade of making personal connections with the students and making sure they feel that they’ll be welcomed,” Brennan said. “And the way to do that is to reach out and answer their questions and make sure they see themselves represented in our alumni and in our current cadet stories that are coming out of admissions.”

According to the admissions tracking report, active deposits from women went up 32.5% over last year, as did those from students of color at 49.2%. In tracking the past 10 years, growth is reflected in the 25% increase of cadets identifying as ethnic minorities and the record 81% increase of female cadets.

While the classes of 2022 and 2034 have the highest number of Latino cadets in Citadel history, the class of 2021 has the highest number of Black and female freshman cadet-recruits in its entirety, giving it the highest ethnic minority population.

Hiring a diverse population of faculty and staff also plays into creating a culture where students feel seen and represented, said Shawn Edwards, chief diversity officer at The Citadel. Accessibility and awareness are key, she said. It’s not enough to open up a position; hiring teams must be intentional in connecting with underrepresented communities.

“We’re always going to focus on skillset first, but it’s up to us to make sure that the candidate pools are diverse,” Edwards said. “If a person of color or a female or someone of the LGBTQ community never even knows that the position is available, that’s a problem.”

Search committees are trained to decrease bias in the hiring processes. Of staff, 21% identify as Black, Hispanic or Asian, while 44% are women. Of faculty, 18% come from minority backgrounds, while 38% are women.

Across campus, a team of staff and faculty have joined to form the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council, established in 2015 to promote inclusion and equality and to provide oversight for these efforts. Starting this upcoming school year, the council plans to begin involving students.

From this hub comes support for cultural-, faith- and identity-based student clubs, as well as for the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center, one of the first 10 in America. Through this center, CitListen sessions are held, where community partners and speakers are invited to facilitate conversation.

When the murder of George Floyd in 2020 sparked the Black Lives Matter movement and protests against police brutality across the country, the council also held a town hall with faculty to help process through what was happening. 

When a series of shootings in March at three Atlanta spas killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women, and protests against anti-Asian rhetoric arose across the nation, the council responded as well by checking in with their Asian American students, faculty and staff.

“We want to make sure that they understand that they’re going to come in contact with all sorts of people, and coming from a place of care and understanding is going to be important, regardless of whether they end up in the military or graduate school or the workforce,” Edwards said.

Parades, programs and presentations: Citadel finds new ways to celebrate MLK Day despite pandemic Fri, 15 Jan 2021 19:30:54 +0000 Citadel Cadet float in MLK Day Parade, Charleston, SC Jan 21 2019Citadel Cadet float in MLK Day Parade, Charleston, SC Jan 21 2019On Monday and Tuesday, Citadel cadets, students, faculty and staff will find new and socially distant ways to celebrate King's legacy.]]> Citadel Cadet float in MLK Day Parade, Charleston, SC Jan 21 2019Citadel Cadet float in MLK Day Parade, Charleston, SC Jan 21 2019

Photo: Citadel cadets participating in a previous Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade

Citadel to celebrate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. January 18-19

It may be the first Martin Luther King Jr. Day to be held in the COVID-19 environment, but that won’t stop communities across the country — including The Citadel — from honoring the life and legacy of one of the nation’s greatest leaders.

On Monday and Tuesday, Citadel cadets, students, faculty and staff will find new and socially distant ways to celebrate and share King’s legacy.

An (un)traditional parade

On Monday, for the 49th year, the City of Charleston will be hosting a parade to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

However — this is the first year that the parade will be held virtually, in order to help maintain social distancing and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The virtual parade will be broadcast live at 12 p.m. on WCBD-TV Count on 2 News.

One thing that won’t change is The Citadel Gospel Choir‘s participation in the event. The group pre-recorded a few of their songs, with the intent of using the video in place of a live performance.

The Gospel Choir is not the end of The Citadel community’s involvement with the City’s celebrations; Anita Zucker, namesake of the college’s Zucker Family School of Education, will serve as the keynote speaker for the MLK Summit on Tuesday, Jan 19, at 7:30 a.m.

Learn more about The Citadel’s neighbor, Denmark Vesey’s Garden

Before a monument honoring him was erected in Hampton Park, near The eastern border of The Citadel campus, Denmark Vesey was a formerly enslaved person accused of planning a major slave revolt in Charleston.

Now — 199 years after his execution — two members of The Citadel community will interview the authors of Denmark Vesey’s Garden: Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of the Confederacy, written by Ethan Kytle, Ph.D., and Blain Roberts, Ph.D, both history professors at California State University, Fresno.

The authors will speak with J. Goosy Smith, Ph.D., and John Ray Roberts from the Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics. The interview will be livestreamed at Daniel Library on Monday, Jan. 18 at 1 p.m., and also be available to watch at this link.

At 2:30 p.m., following the livestreamed interview, The Citadel’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center (TRHT) will facilitate a CitListen dialogue session for those who watched the interview. The CitListen session will focus on the interview’s implications for principled leaders seeing to promote equity and inclusion.

Participants can join the session at this link.

National Day of Racial Healing CitListen session

The following day, from 12 – 1:30 p.m., TRHT will hold A Charleston Metro City-wide virtual CitListen session on the fifth annual National Day of Racial Healing.

The session will be a Racial Healing Circle, which brings together a diverse group of people in a safe and respectful environment. Anyone is welcome to join this CitListen — however, being on web camera will be required for participants.

This session is in collaboration with the Sophia Institute’s Social Justice and Racial Equity Collaborative. The Sophia Institute’s website says the group’s mission is to inspire action by advancing bold strategies that promote personal, structural and systematic change in social justice and racial equity.

To participate in Tuesday’s CitListen session, click here.

Black History Intercollegiate Consortium honors Citadel professor

Also on Tuesday, the Black History Intercollegiate Consortium will host its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. program virtually at 6:30 p.m.

The Citadel’s award recipient this year is the college’s Chief Diversity Officer, Shawn Edwards.

“Dr. Edwards has done an outstanding job as our Diversity Officer and has certainly embraced the principles and ideals of Dr. King in her work on campus and in the community,” said Robert Pickering Jr., ’94, director of The Citadel’s Multicultural and International Student Services.

The Consortium was established 30 years ago and the members include Charleston Southern University, The College of Charleston, The Medical University of SC, The Citadel, and Trident Technical College.  The mission of the organization is to collaborate efforts and encourage the study and celebration of African American History.  The joint MLK program is one of the consortium’s most successful programs.

To virtually join the Consortium as it recognizes Edwards and other 2021 award recipients, click here.

With new members, Charleston’s Equity, Inclusion and Racial Conciliation committee takes shape Fri, 14 Aug 2020 15:30:32 +0000 Felice Knight, Ph.D., a Citadel professor, specializing in African American History and slavery, and serves on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation team.]]>

Photo: Michael Better speaks at the press conference announcing a resolution to remove the Calhoun monument on June 17 (Courtesy: Sam Spence, Charleston City Paper)

Note: Felice Knight, Ph.D., is a history professor at The Citadel who specializes in African American History with an emphasis on slavery during the early national and antebellum periods. Additionally, Knight is director of The Citadel’s Universities Studying Slavery Committee and serves on The Citadel Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation team. Knight was recently appointed to the City of Charleston Special Commission on Equity, Inclusion, and Racial Conciliation, which was formed to review City policies, practices, budget and other matters related to addressing racism and racial inequities and to make recommendations to City Council on ways to promote racial justice and racial equity in the City.

As seen in Charleston City Paper, by Heath Ellison

Charleston leaders added seven new members to the city’s new Special Commission on Equity, Inclusion and Racial Conciliation in a unanimous vote Tuesday. The commission, headed by Councilmen William Dudley Gregorie and Jason Sakran, plans to look at structural racism within the city and will conduct an internal review of city departments.

Felice Knight, Ph.D.

Tracy Doran, Alvin Johnson, David Rivers, Michael Better, Crystal Rouse, Felice Knight and Daron Lee Calhoun were appointed to the commission. Gregorie told the City Paper that the committee chose this group to avoid “the usual faces” and to get a “good mix of age, ideas, cultures.”

Each commission member will focus on a specific subcommittee such as history, housing and economic empowerment.

Daron Lee Calhoun, programming and social justice initiative coordinator at Avery Research Center, was appointed as a commissioner of the city’s internal review. “We will definitely be looking at all the city departments and seeing how we can use the racial equity lens to bring true equity and inclusion to these departments,” he said.

Calhoun singled out hiring and longterm systemic changes as something he wants to focus on. He hopes a full audit of the city’s departments will be conducted, similar to the racial bias audit of the Charleston Police Department. “It’s going to take money and we can’t just say we’re going to do this,” Calhoun added. “They have to be able to put something behind it.”

Crystal Rouse, who was elected to the subcommittee on youth and education, said she is excited to bring experience in education and anti-racism to the commission. “I look forward to working with fellow commission members and local citizens to continue the dismantling of systemic racism and racial inequities that have plagued our city and nation for centuries,” she said.

Sakran said there is no formal plan for the commission at this point.

In 2018, Charleston City Council passed a resolution issuing an official apology for its role in enabling chattel slavery by a 7-5 vote. The measure was spearheaded by Gregorie in partnership with the Sophia Institute’s Social Justice Racial Equity Collaborative. Earlier this year, the city voted unanimously to bring down a controversial monument to slavery advocate John C. Calhoun in Marion Square.

The racial conciliation commission was created June 4, soon after protests hit downtown May 30 over the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Some organizers and leaders in the black community have voiced concern that the commission is just another panel instead of a move toward change and action.

“We do need more action, but it’s a step in the right direction,” said Marcus McDonald, a local Black Lives Matter organizer.

McDonald said he can’t be too critical of the group before anything has happened, but he acknowledges he wants more transparency from the city on the commission. McDonald said he wished the commission was announced with each member’s power and responsibilities.

Statement of Solidarity from The Citadel’s Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center Wed, 03 Jun 2020 18:00:44 +0000 "We cannot just acknowledge recent tragedies or merely use them to raise awareness of the problem; we must heal the root cause of the problem."]]>

“It has long been a matter of serious moment that for decades we have studied the various peoples of the world and those who live as our neighbors as objects of missionary endeavor and enterprise without being at all willing to treat them either as brothers or as human beings.”

― Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited

In 1949, Howard Thurman, a leading theologian, intellectual, and civil rights activist, penned these words. Seventy-one years later, these words are sadly just as applicable. 

The Citadel’s Truth, Racial, Healing and Transformation Center team comprised of representatives from The Citadel faculty and staff, the YWCA Greater Charleston, the Charleston County School District, the Charleston Trident Urban League, Greater Christ Church Cathedral, and the Charleston Police Department, wishes to express its individual and collective anguish, distress, and anger at the recent, callous and inhumane murders of three of our brothers and sisters: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. They join an inconceivably long line of black and brown American victims who have lost their lives to racism, implicit bias, and hatred. In this decade alone, that line includes, but is not limited to, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and members of our own beloved Charleston community: Walter Scott and the nine beloved Charleston community members gunned down at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Rev. and South Carolina Senator Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders,  Daniel L. Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson).

Brutality against people of African descent in America is not new. It is as old as the slave ships that brought African men, women, and children to these shores against their will: chained, unable to speak the language of their oppressors, with little recourse to their unwanted condition. Their oppressors subjected them to inhumane treatment aboard slave ships– often forcing them to lie in their own excrement for days on end, “exercising” them in chains which rubbed the skin off their ankles, and whipping or executing them if they raised their voices in dissent or attempted insurrection. If they managed to survive the Middle Passage and reach our shores, their oppressors continued to mistreat them by selling them, physically assaulting them, sexually assaulting them, abusing them psychologically, and torturing them. Although slavery ended in 1865, violence against Black bodies continued in 19th-century America with terrorist attacks by white supremacist groups, lynchings, and the beginning of mass incarceration via the convict lease system. In the 20th and 21st centuries, we have heard police officers and self-deputized citizens justify their use of lethal force against African Americans by saying they felt “threatened.” But, in reality, the threat they perceive is not real, but is the result of implicit biases and racist ideologies that fuel the misconception that brown skin is a threat in and of itself.  This must stop.

The Citadel’s Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center is unequivocally committed to equipping “the next generation of strategic leaders and thinkers to break down racial hierarchies and dismantle the belief in the hierarchy of human value.” Specifically, we stand against racism and hatred based upon any form of identity group membership.

In 2017, the WK Kellogg and Newman’s Own Foundations, working through the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) awarded The Citadel and nine other campuses the first higher education  grants to establish campus Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Centers. In 2019, the Papa Johns Foundation renewed that funding.  Since then The Citadel’s TRHT Center has supported efforts to truthfully share and transcend The Citadel’s history, facilitated interracial and interfaith dialogue to help diverse individuals humanize each other through the sharing of stories, co-sponsored and sponsored impactful keynote speakers, exhibits, and panels that discussed the history and dynamics of race in the U.S., supported and partnered with local interfaith organizations, and helped strengthen mutually generative connections between The Citadel and the Charleston community.

But we know we can do more.

We are redoubling our efforts– with a sense of urgency– to collaborate with our community partners to create sustainable environments of civility, inclusion, and value for the rich diversity of all humanity. Over the next 18 months, we will sponsor presentations to teach students the principles of nonviolent protest and social organizing, facilitate “CitListen”  Circles between student groups with divergent views, support education on implicit bias and microaggressions for faculty and staff, and strengthen relationships with Citadel alumni. In sum, we will better equip our students and greater campus community to practice principled leadership in their organizations and communities by behaving honorably, fulfilling their civic duty, and respecting all of humanity–regardless of race, color, or creed.

As we move forward, we invite you to participate with us in these efforts to realize the articulated vision of Dr. Gail C. Christopher, thought leader behind the national Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation initiative:

“We cannot just acknowledge recent tragedies or merely use them to raise awareness of the problem; we must heal the root cause of the problem. Americans can come together and change our attitudes and beliefs. We can hold each other accountable and begin the hard work of racial healing in our homes, schools, media, neighborhoods, and places of worship. The healing process must include all races and all social and economic classes. There must be a solemn commitment to this work; to unifying our nation; to rejecting racism; to finding strength, not resentment, in our differences. Our children and our collective future are at stake.”


J. Goosby Smith, Director, The Citadel’s Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center and Assistant Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

LaVanda Brown, Executive Director, YWCA Greater Charleston

Julio F. Caceres, Office of Multicultural and International Student Services, The Citadel

Shawn Spann Edwards, Chief Diversity Officer, The Citadel

Felice F. Knight, Assistant Professor of African American History, Director of The Citadel’s Universities Studying Slavery Project

Winfred B. Moore, Jr., Professor of History and Dean of Humanities & Social Sciences, The Citadel

Terri H. Nichols, Associate Superintendent, Charleston County School District

Robert P. Pickering Jr., Director, Office of Multicultural and International Student Services, The Citadel

Rev. John Ray Roberts, Coordinator of Leadership Assessment, The Citadel’s Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics

Rev. Orin Sharper, Pastor, Greater Christ Church Cathedral

Tessa Updike, Assistant Professor, Archives & Digital Scholarship, Librarian, The Daniel Library, Archives & Museum, The Citadel

Kalila N Wilson, Assistant Principal West Ashley High School

AAC&U visits The Citadel while on the road Wed, 15 May 2019 10:00:57 +0000 AAC&U visits The CitadelAAC&U visits The CitadelAAC&U’s Tia Brown McNair conducted a site visit at the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center at The Citadel.]]> AAC&U visits The CitadelAAC&U visits The Citadel

Photo: AAC&U’s Tia Brown McNair (third from right) conducted a site visit at the TRHT Campus Center at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina

As seen on the Association of American Colleges & Universities News

AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella, in her capacity as president of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, presided over installations of new chapters at Mississippi State University on April 2, Loyola Marymount University on April 4, Chapman University on April 18, and Florida State University on April 22. In addition, she spoke at an event on “Higher Education in the Headlines” with Phi Beta Kappa Secretary Frederick Lawrence at the William and Mary Washington Center in Washington, DC, on April 30. Pasquerella moderated an AAC&U webinar, “Connecting the Branches: Insights from the National Academies’ Report on Integrative Learning,” on April 9 and participated in an EdWeek Virtual Summit on “Workplace Literacy” on April 16. She presented at the Inside Higher Ed Conference, “Why General Education is More Important Than Ever,” at the  Gallup Center in Washington, DC, on April 17 and at the inaugurations of Nancy Cable at the University of North Carolina at Asheville on April 25 and Leocadia Zak at Agnes Scott College on April 26. On May 2, Pasquerella received an honorary doctorate degree during the commencement ceremony of the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. On May 3, President Pasquerella delivered a keynote address at Brown University for their celebration of “Opening the Curriculum.”

Ashley Finley, senior advisor to the president and vice president of strategic planning and partnerships,gave a talk at Saint Louis University on April 5 titled, “Invisible Learning: The Shared Imperative of Student Wellness for College Success.” Finley also joined the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement for a workshop in Phoenix, Arizona, with representatives from each of the Maricopa Community College District’s community colleges. Finley gave a talk at the event titled “Powerful Pathways: Equitable Outcomes, Practices, and Assessment” and cofacilitated a breakout session with participants. From May 1 to 2, Finley joined Tia Brown McNair for the “Ensuring Students Are Learning” project’s planning meeting in Austin, Texas. Finally, from May 6 to 7, she cofacilitated a series of workshops at the University of Alabama–Birmingham with Kate McConnell regarding general education reform efforts.

Tia Brown McNair, vice president for diversity, equity, and student success and executive director for the TRHT Campus Centers, participated in two site visits to the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers at Spelman College and Millsaps College on April 4 and 5, respectively. On April 9, McNair facilitated a workshop titled “Intentionality by Design: Equity, Inclusive Excellence, and Quality” at Trinity University in San Antonio. On April 10, McNair delivered the opening keynote, “Equity and Assessment: Inextricably Linked for Student Success and for Social Justice,” at the Assessment Network of New York’s 7th Annual Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York. On April 24, McNair participated in a site visit to the TRHT Campus Center at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. On April 25, McNair delivered a keynote and a virtual module titled “Advancing Equity Goals through Accountability” at the University of Southern California’s “Engaging Equity LIVE!” event in Los Angeles. On April 26, McNair attended the investiture of President Kirk A. Nooks at Gordon State College in Barnesville, Georgia. On May 2, McNair and Ashley Finley attended the “Ensuring Students Are Learning” project meeting for AAC&U’s Strengthening Guided Pathways and Career Success by Ensuring Students Are Learning grant in Austin, Texas. On May 3, McNair participated in a site visit to the TRHT Campus Center at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas. On May 6, McNair, along with senior fellow Patricia Lowrie, facilitated discussions with campus stakeholders to assess progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion goals at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

From April 4 to 5, Dawn Michele Whitehead, vice president in the Office of Global Citizenship for Campus, Community, and Careers, participated in the Harvard Summit on Excellence in Higher Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts. From April 22 to 23, Whitehead met with faculty and staff at the University of Florida and delivered the luncheon keynote, “High-Impact Learning Beyond the Classroom,” at the 2019 Interface: Learning Beyond 4 Walls event in Gainesville, Florida. On April 26, Whitehead presented a session, “Developing Globally Competent Students: Separating Misconceptions and Truths,” at the Maryland International Education Consortium’s Conference on Developing Globally Competent Students at Montgomery College in Germantown, Maryland. On May 8, Whitehead delivered a workshop, “Integrating Global Perspectives in Coursework and Programs” for faculty, associates, instructors, and academic staff in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

On April 9, C. Edward Watson, CIO and associate vice president for quality, pedagogy, and LEAP initiatives, traveled to Oxford College at Emory University in Oxford, Georgia, to meet with faculty, staff, and leadership to develop strategies supporting a college-wide rollout of ePortfolios. On April 11, he was in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to meet with Middle Tennessee State University’s general education redesign team. He also provided a campus address titled “Fostering Integrative Learning Across the Curriculum.” On April 17, he attended the Future of General Education Conference in Washington, DC. On May 2, he traveled to Molloy College in Rockville Centre, New York, to deliver a keynote titled “Interdisciplinarity in Teaching: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning” as part of their inaugural faculty development forum.

On April 7, David Scobey, director of Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP), took part in the Leadership Forum cosponsored by Arizona State University and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Held in San Diego, this daylong convening brought together higher education leaders and innovators to discuss current challenges and creative innovations in equity, student success, educational design, and institutional change.

On April 10, Caryn McTighe Musil, senior director of civic learning and democracy initiatives, made a site visit to the New School in New York, where she is serving as a consultant with Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy for an institutional climate study on diversity, equity, and student success. On April 25, Musil spoke on the panel, “The Role of Universities in Cultivating Spheres of Engagement,” for the Second Annual Public Service Symposium: Building Capacity for Inclusive Civic Engagement at Suffolk University in Boston.

The Citadel Encourages Diversity through Listening Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:06:59 +0000 Citadel CitListen SessionCitadel CitListen SessionIt’s been a little more a than year since the Citadel started  its Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center. The school is now holding what it calls CitListen sessions to encourage change through conversation.]]> Citadel CitListen SessionCitadel CitListen Session

As seen in South Carolina Public Radio, by Victoria Hansen

It’s been a little more a than year since the Citadel started  its Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center.  One of the goals is to help the once all-male military college in Charleston acknowledge its history in perpetrating racism and continue to evolve into a more inclusive community.  The school is now holding what it calls CitListen sessions to encourage change through conversation.

The Citadel earns national grant to encourage community dialogue about race Wed, 05 Sep 2018 13:37:47 +0000 Truth and Racial HealingTruth and Racial HealingThe Citadel has received a $30,000 grant to be used for encouraging community dialogue about race.]]> Truth and Racial HealingTruth and Racial Healing

As seen in South Carolina Radio Network, by Renee Sexton

The Citadel has received a $30,000 grant to be used for encouraging community dialogue about race.

“Our overall goal is to broker mutual transformation and generative relationships between the Citadel and the Charleston community and so built into the grant’s goals are to increase relationships between the Citadel and our local community,” center co-director Dr. J. Goosby Smith said. Smith is also Assistant Provost of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and a management professor at the military college in Charleston.The grant will fund a new Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center to organize community discussions called CitListen.

The Citadel was one of 10 colleges awarded the grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Newman’s Own among 125 applicants. They will develop guidebooks on discourse which will be used by other universities nationwide.

Faculty worked with the Charleston Police Department, the Charleston County School District, the Charleston YWCA and Trident Urban League to submit the community proposal.

“We always have had a historical and present relationship with various pockets of the community,” Smith said. “So this wasn’t done in any goal to fix something. Part of the reason we got it is we do have a good community relationship.”

Smith said the best way to address our differences is to see each other first as people before categorizing them. So the CitListen programs intend to bring people together to get to know each other first.

“Most of the things that we see in society that are so troubling come from us dehumanizing one another,” Smith said.

The effort includes Citadel partnerships with the YWCA of Charleston, the city school district, the International African American Museum, and various local churches.

“To slowly change the narrative on race by brokering non-threatening but intimate conversations between people that will enable them to see each other as human beings because you don’t really get to know a person until you know their story. So it’s a very strong-focused methodology,” she said.

Smith said the program has five goals: improve communications among people within the Citadel, prepare cadets to engage with inclusion and diversity issues, encourage those off-campus to engage in dialogue, deepen community partnerships with the city schools, Charleston Police Department and Trident Urban League, and inform the public of diversity activities at the Citadel.

Meeting dates have not yet been set but the community is invited to participate, Smith said.

Click here for more information.