An independent student led group has emerged at Northwestern that stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Action. I.D.E.A. is currently made up of five women at NW, these group members are, Neftalí Ramírez, Riley Rasmussen, MaKenna Davis, Maria Lopes and Alyssa Glanz. Their mission being advocating for wholehearted engagement with the Vision for Diversity at NW. They want this to be more than just a statement, rather a call to action.
“We want to communicate with NW’s administration to make sure our Vision for Diversity is being lived out by the school,” Ramirez said.
The Vision for Diversity at NW is composed of four main points: to embrace diversity in God’s creation, lament human brokenness, reconcile with one another and embody shalom.
After defining their mission, I.D.E.A. submitted a proposal last semester to the leaders of NW to promote more positive changes to happen around campus.
“Our proposal consisted of increasing the number of staff and faculty of color, celebrating minorities, creating more space for conversations about racial reconciliation and more,” Ramirez said. “By increasing the diversity of leaders, professors, counselors, and sources for class material, NW can more closely represent the diversity of our student population.”
While they want to pursue these different proposals, their main priority with these proposals is to transform the Vision for Diversity from a statement into action.
With the conversations surrounding diversity around the nation as well as on campus, it only allows individuals to engage in surface-level conversations about race while overlooking its deeper structural roots of inequality.
“We celebrate people’s differences without acknowledging their unequal realities and experiences, leaving our efforts for racial justice without receipts of actual change,” Glanz said in an opinion article last semester. “We hope to be a bridge of communication between marginalized students on campus and administration, bringing to light places where the Vision for Diversity is not being lived out, which harms the flourishing and retention rate of our students of color.”
This group of women wants to hold NW accountable to this statement and advocate for the entire campus to engage this statement, thus making NW an environment that students and faculty of color want to apply for and work in.
“Although for this goal to happen, we must move topics such as inequity, power and privilege to the center of the diversity conversation as well as move beyond the conversations of inclusion and into those of equity and action” Lopes said.
The group came to be after an infamous chapel last semester where the speaker spoke of a minority group in a derogatory way.
“We wanted to take initiative and push our campus towards positive and collective change,” Rasmussen said.
Even though I.D.E.A. is small, they wish to expand to make their aspirations mightier. These founders will be hosting a meet and greet event on Thursday, October 28 at 8 p.m.
“We would love for students to come, so we hear more in person about what your goals may be,” Rasmussen said. “Here students can sign-up to be on our email list for future events and opportunities to advocate for change on campus.”
Students can also reach out to any of members of I.D.E.A. at any time to ask questions and get involved.