Why We Observe Juneteenth | Events & Commemorations

African Flag with Heart reads Juneteenth

What is Juneteenth and Why Do We Observe It

Our University community takes this time to remember the ancestral heritage of Black/African American people who were forced from their homeland and became enslaved people in a world unknown to them. June 19, 2022, is the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth. Originally commemorating the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865, . . .  read more

Black Pioneers in Mental Health

African American woman meditating

In honor of this year’s national theme of health and wellbeing for Black History Month, we want to share the following Black American trailblazers in mental health article. This article comes directly from Mental Health America (https://www.mhanational.org/black-pioneers-mental-health).

Black Americans’ contributions to the field of mental health have been long overlooked. Check out these trailblazers!

Bebe Moore Campbell

Bebe Moore Campbell was an American author, journalist, teacher, and mental health advocate who worked tirelessly to shed light on the mental health needs of the Black community and other underrepresented communities. She founded NAMI-Inglewood in a predominantly Black neighborhood to create a space that was safe for Black people to talk about mental health concerns. Throughout her time as an advocate, Campbell made her way to DC. On June 2, 2008, Congress formally recognized Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to bring awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented groups face regarding mental illness in the US.

Herman George Canady, Ph.D.

Herman George Canady was a prominent Black clinical and social psychologist. He is credited with being the first psychologist to study the influence of rapport between an IQ test proctor and the subject, specifically researching how the race of a test proctor can create bias in IQ testing. He also helped to provide an understanding of testing environments that were suitable to help Black students succeed.

E. Kitch Childs, Ph.D.

In 1969, E. Kitch Childs helped to found the Association for Women in Psychology. She was also a founding member of Chicago’s Gay Liberation Front. In addition to being a leader for women in psychology and the LGBTQ+ community, she also owned her own practice in which she provided therapy to LGBTQ+ folks, people living with HIV/AIDS, and other marginalized members of her community. She practiced feminist therapy, and centered her research and work around the experiences of Black women and feminist theory.

Mamie Phipps Clark, Ph.D. And Kenneth Bancroft Clark, Ph.D.

Mamie Phipps Clark was the first African American woman to earn a doctorate degree in psychology from Columbia University. She previously earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Howard University. Her experience in college and specifically graduate-level courses helped her realize the shortage of psychological services available to the African American community and other minorities.  The Clarks are best known for the famous “Doll Study” in which more than 200 Black children participated. Both Mamie and Kenneth Clark worked on this study, providing invaluable evidence in favor of ending school segregation in the supreme court case Brown vs. The Board of Education, citing that school segregation was psychologically harmful to black children.

Dr. Kenneth Clark was the first-ever black president of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark’s dedication and passion for adequate mental health services for all prompted Dr. Clark to open her own agency to provide comprehensive psychological services to the poor, blacks, and other minority children and families.  In February 1946, Dr. Clark and her husband opened the doors of “The Northside Center for Child Development” for those in the Harlem area.  She worked in the center counseling and providing other psychological services from 1946 until 1979 when she retired.  Although retired, Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark served on different advisory boards and was still very active within her community.

James P. Comer, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Comer is the Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine’s Child Study Center in New Haven, Connecticut. He is known nationally and internationally for his creation of the Comer School Development Program in 1968 within Yale University’s School of Medicine. Dr. Comer’s has focused his career on improving school restructuring and has been featured in numerous newspaper, magazine and television reports, while also having several articles published in academic journals. He is a co-founder and past president of the Black Psychiatrists of America.  Dr. Comer is the recipient of countless recognitions and holds over forty eight honorary degrees. In 2014, Dr. Comer received a prestigious nomination by President Barrack Obama to serve on the President’s Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

Paul Bertau Cornely, M.D., DrPH

Dr. Cornely was a founder of the National Student Health Association in 1939, president of the Physician’s Forum in 1954, and founder and first president of the District of Columbia Public Health Association in 1962. Dr. Cornely was also the first African-America elected as President of the American Public Health Association in 1968. Dr. Cornely’s professional work focused on the development of public health initiatives aimed at reducing healthcare disparities among the chronically underserved. He also made significant contributions in the civil right movements through his efforts to desegregate health facilities across the U.S. Additionally, Dr. Cornely conducted research studies in tuberculosis, venereal diseases and scarlet fever; utilization of physicians’ extenders and its effect on the cost and quality of health care; and the effects of social and cultural factors on health and health care utilization.  He published over 100 scientific and popular articles. Dr. Cornely retired in 1973 as Professor Emeritus in the Department of Community Health and Family Practice of Howard University College of Medicine.

Jennifer Eberhardt, Ph.D.

Jennifer Eberhardt is an esteemed professor of psychology at Stanford University. She is an expert on the consequences of the psychological association between race and crime and has done extensive research on the topics of implicit bias, criminal justice, and the education system, and her work has provided the evidence needed to educate law enforcement officers in implicit bias training. In 2014, Dr. Eberhardt’s work earned her the famous MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship.

M. Joycelyn Elders, M.D.

Dr. Joycelyn Elders was the first African American and the second woman to be sworn in as the Surgeon General of the United States. During her tenure as Surgeon General, Dr. Elders advocated for universal health coverage, comprehensive health education, including sex education in schools. Unfortunately, Dr. Elders only held the position of Surgeon General for 15 months as she was asked to resign. Nevertheless, this does not diminish her accomplishments including the fact that Dr. Elders was the first person in the state of Arkansas to become a board-certified pediatric endocrinologist, conducted an extensive amount of research on growth and diabetes in youth, as well as issues related to teen pregnancy and congenital abnormalities. Additional efforts by Dr. Elders included her extensive work to address minority health issues, particularly when she was appointed by then-Governor Clinton to head the Arkansas Department of Health where she focused her efforts on improving minority health, which led her to establish an internal Office of Minority Health within the Arkansas Department of Health. Currently, Dr. Elders is a professor emeritus at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Solomon Carter Fuller, M.D.

Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller was a pioneering African American psychiatrist who made significant contributions to the study of Alzheimer’s disease. He was born in Liberia, the son of a previously enslaved African who had purchased his freedom and emigrated there. He graduated from Boston University School of Medicine, which as a homeopathic institution, was open to both African American and women students. He spent most of his career practicing at Westborough State Mental Hospital in Westborough, Massachusetts. While there, he performed his ground-breaking research on the physical changes to the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Dr. Fuller was one of the first known Black psychiatrists and worked alongside Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who first discovered the traits of Alzheimer’s disease in 1901.

Beverly Greene, Ph.D.

Beverly Greene is the author of the landmark article “When the Therapist is White and the Patient is Black: Considerations for Psychotherapy in the Feminist Heterosexual and Lesbian Communities.” She is a pioneer of intersectional psychology, and her work on heterosexism, sexism, and racism has illuminated how different intersecting facets of a person’s identity shape their experiences of privilege, oppression, and mental health. Dr. Greene’s work earned her the honor of the Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology in 2008.

Hope Landrine,

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Equity-Mindedness Explained

scrabble tiles spell out equity

A primary function of the Office of Inclusive Community is to promote the use of equity-mindedness throughout all facets of higher education and workplace policies, practices, procedures, curriculum, norms, etc. We want all of our faculty and staff to view their work through an equity-mindset in order to advance diversity and inclusion. So what is equity-mindedness? Well, first you need to understand what equity is. The Center for Urban Education provides a great series of illustrations to define equity. The graphics explain equity and inequity based on the student experience, but you can generalize their explanation to the faculty and staff experience as well.

Most of us like to think we live in a world where if we treat all people equally, they will have the opportunity to succeed. If we all just work hard, we will have everything we need to succeed.

But the world isn’t equal, because individuals are born into varying sets of circumstances with varying privileges. Person 1 may be born into a family that is middle class, while Person 2 is born into a family that is lower socioeconomic class. Through no doing of their own, Person 1 has built-in privileges that Person 2 does not. The circumstances one is born into creates unequal pathways to success in which some must work much harder than others to achieve upward mobility.

Bias and systemic oppression further decrease opportunity and access for minoritized and marginalized communities, breaking down their already unequal pathways to success and creating more work for them to achieve upward mobility.

Remember Person 2 from the previous scenario? Person 2 was born into a lower socioeconomic class. Say Person 2 also identifies as an underrepresented minority. As a result, Person 2 faces additional barriers to success and upward social mobility on top of the difficulties associated with living in a lower socioeconomic class.

As we work to increase diversity in our institutions, we cannot forget to implement equity and inclusion. After all, our institutions have been built in such a way as to work best for a very narrow population.

An equitable institution will examine resource distribution to ensure those resources are allocated to the communities who have the greatest need. They will provide extra support to those communities who have been served least well by existing systems. They will rethink how they define and apply processes and policies to ensure they don’t perpetuate the exclusion of underrepresented minority groups.

Watch the following video to gain an even better understanding of how inequity is built into systems and institutions.

Now that we have a better understanding of equity, let’s go over equity-mindedness. Equity-minded individuals examine unequal outcomes… unequal outcomes in student persistence, student grades, graduation rates, faculty and staff retention, faculty and staff advancement, etc. Equity-minded individuals look at these unequal outcomes to identify patterns based on race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, citizenship status, and other facets of self-identity. For example, a course text that uses a derogatory homophobic slur may cause specific students to disconnect and stop engaging in the class, resulting in lower grades. As the instructor, are you positive you would notice this change in behavior? Would you automatically attribute those lower grades to assumed stereotypes (which are often false) based in the student’s identity? Would you consider whether or not that student may be affected by the course text as a result of their identity? Would you continue to use that text? Would you provide a trigger warning before using that text to prepare your students for any potential discomfort or post-traumatic stress?

 Estela Mara Bensimon, Alicia C. Dowd and Keith Witham explain equity-mindedness best in their article, Five Principles for Enacting Equity by Design.

“Equity-minded individuals are aware of the sociohistorical context of exclusionary practices and racism in higher education and the impact of power asymmetries on opportunities and outcomes, particularly for African Americans and Latinas/os. Equity-minded individuals are:

=&0=& Being color-conscious means noticing and questioning patterns of educational outcomes that reveal unexplainable differences in outcomes for minoritized students (Gillborn 2005); it means viewing inequalities in the context of a history of exclusion, discrimination, and educational apartheid. 
=&1=&Racial disadvantage is created when unequal outcomes are attributed to students’ cultural predispositions or when practices are based on stereotypical assumptions about the capacity, aspirations, or motives of minoritized populations (Bensimon 2012). 
=&2=& Rather than viewing inequalities as a natural catastrophe (Coates 2015), equity-minded individuals allow for the possibility that inequalities might be created or exacerbated by taken-for-granted practices and policies, inadequate knowledge, a lack of cultural know-how, or the absence of institutional support—all of which can be changed. 
=&3=&

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples

Native American statue

The Office of Inclusive Community recognizes we sit on the traditional lands of the Caddo and Wichita people. Visit the UCO Land Acknowledgement website to learn more.

As we celebrate Native American Heritage Month, I want to share the following resources with the campus community. Let’s learn the different ways we can decolonize our institutions and communities.

Why Aren’t There More Native American Restaurants

When you think of North American cuisine, do Indigenous foods come to mind? Chef Sean Sherman serves up an essential history lesson that explains the absence of Native American culinary traditions across the continent.

The Intergenerational Wisdom Woven Into Indigenous Stories

The way we behave politically, socially, economically and ecologically isn’t working, says community organizer and activist Tai Simpson. Sharing the creation myth of her Nez Perce tribe, she advocates for a return to the “old ways” guided by Indigenous wisdom that emphasize balance, community and the importance of intergenerational storytelling in order to protect what’s sacred.

UCO
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Celebrating Indigenous Peoples

Native American statue

As we celebrate Native American Heritage Month, I want to share the following resources with the campus community. Let’s learn the different ways we can decolonize our institutions and communities.

Why Aren’t There More Native American Restaurants

When you think of North American cuisine, do Indigenous foods come to mind? Chef Sean Sherman serves up an essential history lesson that explains the absence of Native American culinary traditions across the continent.

The Intergenerational Wisdom Woven Into Indigenous Stories

The way we behave politically, socially, economically and ecologically isn’t working, says community organizer and activist Tai Simpson. Sharing the creation myth of her Nez Perce tribe, she advocates for a return to the “old ways” guided by Indigenous wisdom that emphasize balance, community and the importance of intergenerational storytelling in order to protect what’s sacred.

UCO Land Acknowledgement Website
This site contains resources and information to advance your understanding of Native cultures and how we can prevent their erasure.

What is Equity Mindedness?

A primary function of the Office of Inclusive Community is to promote the use of equity-mindedness throughout all facets of higher education and workplace policies, practices, procedures, curriculum, norms, etc. We want all of our faculty and staff to view their work through an equity-mindset in order to advance diversity and inclusion. So what is . . .  read more

March 18, 2021 – Remembering and Reflecting on the Tulsa Race Massacre

Black and White Picture of Former Black Wall Street

Guest Speaker: Dene Roseburr-Olotu, Director of Diversity & Inclusion
Date: March 18, 2021 | Time: 2-3 p.m.
Zoom ID: 985 5957 2092 | Passcode: 013615
Zoom Link: https://uco.zoom.us/j/98559572092?pwd=UC9lVGlQYmdzMTdnU1pkYkxkRFdqZz09

Please register in the Learning Center and complete a critical reflection within a week following the event if you wish to receive credit for the Continuous Cultural Competence initiative.

According to the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, after World War I, Tulsa, Oklahoma – more specifically Greenwood, Tulsa – became nationally recognized for its thriving and affluent African American community (Greenwood). This prosperous community, including extremely successful business districts and residential areas, were known as Black Wall Street. However, on May 31, 1921 everything changed. The University of Central Oklahoma will commemorate the 100th year anniversary of what has become known as the Tulsa Race Massacre Monday, March 29th – Friday, April 2nd. In this session, as a lead up to the university’s commemoration week, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will explore the historical context of this event in greater detail.