Catawba College EDJI Task Force Holds Event To Process Trauma, Channel Creativity
May 3, 2021
The Catawba College Task Force for Equity, Diversity, Justice, and Inclusion (EDJI) held a "Current Events and Creative Outlets" program on the lawn in front of Omwake-Dearborn Chapel, celebrating the completion of its first operational year on campus.
The program was an opportunity for the Catawba community to both process the trauma and loss experienced through recent abuses of power and channel their creativity toward equity, diversity, justice and inclusion efforts at Catawba. Students, faculty, and staff shared inspirational thoughts — written, drawn, or spoken — to make an imprint upon literal and figurative canvases, showcasing what an EDJI community is to them.
Dr. Mercedes Quesada-Embid, Associate Professor of Environmental Policy and Advocacy, Department of Environment and Sustainability, and Director of Student Engagement, Center for the Environment, and Dr. ChaMarra K. Saner, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, are co-chairs of the EDJI Task Force.
Dr. David Nelson, College President, said that EDJI helps “our campus community consider how we can think about and act on matters of equity, diversity, justice, and inclusion. At Catawba College, we celebrate our diverse campus community and we are committed to justice, inclusion, and the goal of systemic equity in our community and in our world. With respect to these issues, indifference isn’t an option. We must act to ensure that our campus community is a welcoming place for all, a learning community where every student and employee can thrive. The motto on our seal, Sit Lux (Let There Be Light), calls us to value one another, and to treat one another with dignity and respect.”
As the founder of the Task Force, Dr. Quesada-Embid said that she envisions EDJI to be an impactful opportunity for the College. “It is crucial to understand how we faculty, staff, and students can influence actionable social change and make a meaningful difference in our world,” she said. “I see EDJI as a pathway for the pursuit of egalitarianism across the institutional, academic, and community spaces of the College."
The EDJI Task Force has participated as sponsor and co-sponsor on many events throughout its first operational year. “The Current Events and Creative Outlet program lends an informed and compassionate approach for reflection, ensuring a safe place to process the transpired," Dr. Quesada-Embid said. “Catawba's mission-inspired tenets of Transformation, Inspiration and Belonging really shine in events like this one and align with President Nelson's goal of ‘systemic equity’ for Catawba. The cross-departmental, student, faculty, and staff membership of EDJI are in full support of that goal. EDJI will stand true and transparent in its intentionality, an intentionality framed and built upon empowerment, supportive solidarity, hope, and the celebration of human diversity."
Dr. Quesada-Embid expressed gratitude for the hard work and dedication of the Task Force during its first year and said that she looks forward to much more in the coming academic year.
Dr. ChaMarra K. Saner, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Director of SMART Center, said, “The EDJI Task Force is a major milestone on the Catawba College campus. While this year has been full of trials and tribulations, we on the EDJI Task Force have spent our time working diligently to promote change on the campus in hopes to provide an equal and just campus for all individuals regardless of their walk. EDJI is about facilitating equitable opportunities when there are none, ensuring creative outlets to tackle tough conversations, and being sure that all members of the Catawba community are involved in the forward momentum to create transformation on our campus through the mind, body and soul."
If you are interested in learning more about EDJI or joining this intracollegiate effort, please contact Dr. Quesada-Embid or Dr. Saner.