The recent protests in the country has me thinking more about my students, colleagues and myself. I can’t help but wonder if higher education can do better to reduce the racial divides and injustices in the United States. Whether we know it or not, I think colleges are unique platforms and we as faculties and advisers, have a unique opportunity to make more difference as we grow the next generation of CEOs, Journalists, Engineers, Health professional, Artists, Lawyers, etc. Beyond our course contents, we equip the students we teach with various skills that prepare them for the job market and most importantly to help them build a better society.
I wonder about our roles in this climate of injustice and how much thoughts we give to the issue of inclusion and diversity on our campuses. We teach students who do not know or understand the struggles of black and minority students. We teach students who struggle with the fear of whether they will make it to their 30th birthday or even be alive to use the skills they learn from our classrooms. We teach students who are afraid to go for a run, afraid whether they will make it back home from a walk in the park. Heck, some of us do not understand the struggles of some of our colleagues and students, hence do not know how to empathize or even be a part of the discussion.
Some of our students deal with the psychological trauma of watching people like them disrespected, profiled and unjustly killed. Some of them have witnessed grave injustices or know family members or friends who have. That will take a toll on anyone. I think it matters if we  want to listen and educate ourselves and others about these struggles.
I believe the current protest is not just an outcome of the death of George Floyd, but also, a movement and riot stemming from prolonged violence, lack of provisions and discrimination towards black bodies due to long standing structural racism and discrimination. Change cannot happen unless we make the conscious effort to want to be a part of it, in no matter how little way possible.
I think as a community, higher education and faculties can do the following;
1. Organize listening sessions and webinars. Listen to your black and minority colleagues and learn about their struggles.
2. Discuss how higher education and individual faculty can contribute to a safer and inclusive space in classrooms (virtually or face to face).
3. Organize trainings on safety measures for students who may be involved in the protests.
4. Talk about these tough subjects in your classrooms and campuses and with your students.
5. Be more attentive to the plights of your students, showing empathy, respect and solidarity.
6. Correct racist remarks that you may hear in and outside of your classrooms that attempt to undermine your colleagues and minority students.
7. Encourage student media at your school if you have one, to acknowledge and report diverse issues in your communities and represent diverse voices.
8. Encourage critical thinking. Encourage your students to educate themselves on these issues.
9. Encourage media literacy as a general elective in your colleges.
10. Help students understand the need to vote.
11. Reflect on more ways that we can help our communities heal and be more accommodating.
12. Encourage active diversity and inclusion on your campus, beyond student diversity.
13. Rework your syllabi and assignments to include more diverse groups and subject experts and help your students engage.
14. Educate yourself about the struggles of minority groups in the United States.
Brick by brick, no matter how slow or how little, we can be part of the change we hope to see in the world. Let’s help make the world a better and more inclusive place for our children.

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