Buckrham, Clougherty and Rice Recognized by University for History of Racism Seminar

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Creator: Justin Lafleur, Lehigh Sports Communications

For six months, the Lehigh women’s basketball team held an intensive, discussion-oriented undergraduate seminar to learn more about the history of racism in America.

And just last month, Lehigh University recognized this concept (as part of their initiative to “collect creative ideas to turn Lehigh into an anti-racist institution”).

Behind the idea and the development of the idea are senior Divine Buckrham from the soccer team and senior Mary Clougherty and junior Katie Rice from women’s basketball.

“Personally, I’m super proud of Katie, Mary and myself,” said Buckrham. “This is something we felt very passionate about. That’s why we worked just as hard as we did – we spoke to various coaches, professors and other faculties and staff to get their opinion on this idea. We’re definitely into a few Bumped bumps. ” But our persistence and pursuit of anti-racism nationally and within the university made it a breeze to move forward despite the difficulties and frustration. “

The proposal was for a student-led undergraduate seminar, a one-credit course that, they said, “will create a space where students can have honest, open conversations with their peers to contribute to positive, meaningful change. The Students will learn how to talk about racing in America. “

As they said in their proposal, “Awareness-raising is a necessary first step in creating a more inclusive and compassionate world. Lehigh students will encounter diversity in their personal and professional lives. Compassion, understanding, and perspective are skills like any other. These skills must be.” These skills have to be practiced. These skills have to be taught. “

The proposal was selected by Lehigh University, which means there will be more developments.

“Winning the proposal is only the first step and we want to work diligently with the university to advance our ideas,” said Rice. “I don’t think this is a time we or the school can stop patting each other on the back because there is still a long way to go to make Lehigh a just, inclusive place to be . “

The concept of a student-led undergraduate seminar would allow students to take on more ownership and responsibility to bring about change.

“The three of us are very grateful to the university for giving us the opportunity to submit a proposal,” said Clougherty. “We had high hopes that our submission would be selected, as we firmly believe that a freshman seminar will be extremely valuable and effective in Lehigh’s efforts to become an anti-racist institution.

“Each of us has put a lot of work into helping our teams, coaches and departments become more inclusive and diverse. That means a lot that we have the opportunity to continue this impact at the university level.”

The fact that the women’s basketball team had already piloted the seminar (from June to the fall semester) and participated in these talks only made the proposal much stronger.

“I’m very grateful to my basketball team-mates – especially the newbies who didn’t even know us that well at the start of these important conversations – for six months of committing to such a seminar,” said Clougherty. “It showed me that a seminar can be done to actually open the mind and expand compassion and understanding among peers.”

This seminar is not effective if the participants are not invested. It takes commitment that leads into every session. In one week, all women’s basketball players read the first chapter of “How To Be An Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi. They also took part in the Harvard Implicit Bias Race test.

Now Buckrham, Clougherty and Rice hope that this seminar can be carried out beyond a single sports team and for the whole university.

“Earning this university-level recognition is very important to Katie, Divine, and me as it reassures us that we can have a greater impact beyond the athletics department,” said Clougherty. “Although we are all athletes, we know we have the ability to lead others outside of our sports or interests.”

Buckrham, a member of the Student-Athletes of Color Leadership Council, believes much progress will be made with the university and the athletics department.

“Since this is such a broad subject and subject, there is a lot more work to be done,” he said. “And we will not achieve anything without everyone being on board. We will never have 100 percent of the people who agree on something, but mutual respect and listening will be a long one in this tough battle that we have fought for so long Go away.” . “

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