By Jordan Beach
In an effort to create a space to hold important dialogue on race, Reinhardt University began the “Reinhardt is Stronger Together” series, channeling conversations into a productive format that allows for faculty, staff, students and alumni to speak their mind and listen to the opinions of others.
The first listening session was hosted on June 22 and began the conversation on current events, and how racism and inequality impact our work and lives.
“It was an open and frank conversation regarding race relations in society and the tremendous need for anti-racism initiatives at Reinhardt,” Dr. Walter May, dean of students, said of the first listening session.
Maya Jaffar, musical theatre major, felt the first session was a great first step towards making important changes.
“The conversation needs to be had, and I’m thankful this university is not ignoring that,” said Jaffar. “The conversation was productive; however, we will see how productive it was once we see action towards the issues we discussed. These issues won’t be fixed overnight but taking the information from the conversation and making change is what will declare it as truly productive.”
Jaffar hopes these conversations are catalyst for reform. Reinhardt is working to continually evolve, and these sessions serve to address opportunities for improvement within the University and in our communities.
“Antiracism is central to our mission. Our faculty, staff and students will experience greater equity and inclusion, our teaching will be more impactful, and our students will be better prepared to make positive change in the world through these conversations. We must elevate our commitment to our existing organizational value at Reinhardt of inclusiveness to create a diverse and just organization,” said May. “We must look introspectively at our policies, procedures and culture and take action to provide a safe, open, supportive environment for all faculty, staff and students. Change does not happen without all of us.”
The second listening session of the series will be hosted on July 27 at 6:30 p.m. and will discuss topics related to Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice and Campus Policing. The panel will include experts in their field City of Canton Chief of Police, Stephen Merrifield; Cherokee County Sheriff, Frank Reynolds; Chief of Police for Atlanta City Schools, Ron Applin; Criminal Law Attorney Zaine Hedge; Attorney for the Georgia Innocence Project Meagan Hurley, and several Reinhardt University faculty, staff and student representatives.
To register for the next session, visit, Reinhardt.edu/StrongerTogether.