During the recent Diversity Town Hall, Professor Nicol Howard and Joy Clark, assistant to the vice president for finance/CFO, spoke about the founding of the Black Student, Faculty, Staff, and Administrators Association (BSFSAA), an organization committed to representing the diverse lived experiences of the Black community at the University of Redlands.
In introducing the group, Clark noted that the word “initiative” was being used frequently in the forum and highlighted that, for the BSFSAA, members’ ability to assess and initiate things independently was how the group was formed. The first meeting of the BSFSAA (née Black Community Care) was held June 1, 2020, birthed out of the pain experienced after the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.
Howard elaborated in her remarks, below.
One of one of our objectives was to be invited into important conversations such as this [Diversity Town Hall], so we're appreciative of this opportunity. Our primary objectives, as the Black Student, Faculty, Staff and Administrators Association, is to serve as a unified and collective voice to represent the diverse lived experiences of the Black community at the University of Redlands, including all campuses. We are very grateful that some of our Marin campus colleagues have joined our meetings. We are hoping to continue to foster collaboration, communication, and engagement within our community and the broader community.
We are here to continue to advocate for the employment of representative numbers of Black students, faculty, staff, and administrators. We're hoping to collaborate with Human Resources on such efforts. We are here to continue to promote the mental well-being, safety, and the professional welfare of the Black community. And finally, we seek to advance the education of the historical impact of policies and practices that influence the prosperity and lived experiences of members of the Black community at the U of R and beyond.
During our time together, so far, we've had an opportunity to engage in advocacy efforts. We raised awareness of Juneteenth through a letter writing campaign and funding that was established with the support of Campus Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) and the Office of Advancement. We were also able to reach out to the University-wide Council on Inclusiveness and Community (UCIC) and the Faculty of Color Caucus and had an opportunity to meet with Cabinet members to share our initial thoughts on how we can continue to work together.
Most importantly, we have established a space for the Black community to heal and to recenter joy during these challenging times.
If you are interested in collaborating with us on advocacy efforts or would just like to hear more from our collective voice as the BSFSAA, please reach out to me. I will soon be considered the past president once we move through our election period. We also hope that you will join us during this year’s Homecoming event for Black Together Again, a collaborative event hosted by us, the Black Student Union, and CDI. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with all of you!