TCU’s Race and Reconciliation Initiative (RRI) held its first virtual town hall where members discussed whether the commission will lead to an inclusive community.
Starting this semester, RRI plans to focus its research on “Black Americans and TCU’s experiences with racism, slavery and the Confederacy.”
In addition, the initiative will collaborate with other existing programs on campus to raise awareness of racism and inequality.
To start the meeting, the chair of the initiative, Associate Professor of African American studies Frederick Gooding, listed the names of Black individuals who lost their lives due to police brutality and white supremacy.
“Jacob Blake, Breanna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin… these names are painful reminders that our work is not done,” said Gooding.
Gooding said the initiative is focusing on the “seen and unseen experiences that happen to Black people in these white institutions.”
Marcellis Perkins, graduate research assistant, moderated the town hall.
Gooding said the three goals the initiative wants to focus on throughout the course of its work are to study TCU’s prior relationship with slavery, racism and the Confederacy; to build upon the historical research other individuals have done in the past; and to offer critical perspectives and deeper understanding to recognize a change.
With many students wondering how the initiative will change the TCU community, Gooding said they are not a “magic wand, nor are we a silver bullet, but within this time period, there is so much we can do.”
After Gooding’s introduction, Perkins introduced the following panelists to speak on the initiative: undergraduate representative Tosin Alao, assistant professor of professional practice Lynn Hampton, department chair of strategic communication Jacqueline Lambiase and the president of the National Alumni Board, Tracy Renee Williams.
During the town hall, the panel explained the importance of the initiative and demonstrated how it will help educate the campus community.
“Reconciliation is a big part of this initiative, and as we work through this, remember the importance of humility and humanity,” said Hampton.
Lambiase said the university’s history has been “erased and this initiative will need to work forward to make a change for the people on this campus.”
One of the updates was about the pillar next to the Founder’s Statue, where students can scan a QR code to learn more about TCU’s history and updated information.
At the end of the town hall, Gooding answered several questions submitted by students about how this initiative will change the community.
When asked how students will know this initiative is not a performative marketing tactic, Gooding said although it will take time to establish effective change, the initiative’s purpose is to create “a more inclusive society on campus.”
RRI will hold another town hall on Sept. 24 at 3:30 pm.