Department of Justice to host “Dialogue on Belonging” during Unity Day

September 26, 2022
By: Deborah Alvarez O'Neil

Students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to explore issues of race, equity and social justice on campus during a special session, “Dialogue on Belonging,” on Unity Day, Oct. 11.

The Dialogue on Belonging is a national program of the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service designed to open lines of communication and foster mutual understanding within communities. The interactive event will be led by DOJ experienced facilitators. The event runs from 3-7 p.m., includes dinner, and is limited to 50 people. Registration is required.

Through facilitated group conversations, participants will explore the question, “Who are we?” and share their personal stories. The second step helps participants understand, “Where are we?” through a deeper exploration of personal and shared history in the community. During the third step, participants develop a vision for the community, in response to the question, “Where do we want to be?” In step four, participants answer the question, “What will we do as individuals and with others to make a difference?”

“We are honored to bring the Department of Justice team to campus to facilitate this important conversation about belonging at Worcester State,” said Chief Diversity & Equity Officer Maria Isabel Gariepy. “We know that dialogues like these can build collaborative action, inspire solution building and ultimately lead to transformative change as we continue building a community where all members feel valued, respected and supported.”

The DOJ’s Community Relations Service works with community groups to resolve community conflicts and prevent and respond to alleged hate crimes arising from differences of race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. CRS was established by Title X of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its mandate was expanded by the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.

Unity Day is a celebration of the work that we are doing and progress we have made toward greater social justice and inclusion at Worcester State. University. The full day of programs offers the opportunity for every member of our campus community to come together and celebrate what makes us unique, while connecting us with others who may be very different from us. We will have an opportunity to hear from one another about our diverse lived experiences and perspectives, and how each of us contributes to building a vibrant educational community where all members feel valued, respected and supported.

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