A Message From UIC Partnerships for Anti-racist Campus Transformation (PACT)
UIC Faculty and Staff:
In the spring of 2020, Partnerships for Anti-racist Campus Transformation (PACT) formed by the initiative of UIC faculty and staff to respond to critical community needs sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. In acknowledgement of the role of structural and systemic racism that allowed for the disportionate burden of COVID-19 on our Black and Brown folks across our campus and city, PACT pivoted our efforts to help address the root cause: systemic and anti-black racism.
Guided by these facts, PACT has turned an inward focus on how our university has become complicit in systemic and anti-black racism and its cascading effects. Over the past two academic years, we have helped move the dial forward on the following efforts to help UIC become an anti-racist institution and just community partner:
- Establish horizontal communication across UIC: to allow for better information sharing and coordination of efforts to support collaboration between community and campus partners.
- Mapping community engagement at UIC: to help our campus and community partners better understand the who and what of community engagement activities while also seeking how we may collaborate along the way with similar efforts.
- Supporting the Office of Community Collaboration’s Neighborhood Centers: PACT has contributed to retreat discussion and programmatic planning/mapping around the neighborhood centers four issue areas: education at large, health and wellness, arts and culture and economic democracy/justice.
- Documenting the transformative work of our Pilot Awardees: PACT, through funding from Imagining America, successfully developed a 7-minute video capturing the transformative work for our five pilot awardees. PACT also was selected to participate in the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities and the Coalition of Urban-Serving Universities to present OCC and PACT’s efforts to address the urban challenge of low Black student enrollment in post-secondary educational institutions.
- Supporting Cross-Campus Efforts: through our Funding and Community Engagement and Resource Subcommittees, PACT has helped to support the strategic planning of a centralized community partners database, Diversity Hybrid Internship Program Proposal, strategizing and collaborating with campus partners to host a Community Engagement Symposium.
As we enter a new academic year, we acknowledge the work that still needs to be done and need for more allyship from faculty and staff to help PACT achieve its goals and mission. As we launch monthly PACT Organizing and subcommittee meetings, we welcome you to join us. Please reach out to Gabriela Peña (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be added to our PACT communications and calendar invites. Additionally, for more information about PACT, please visit our webpage.
Jennie Brier, PhD
Director, Gender and Women’s Studies
Founding Faculty Fellow in Community Collaboration and Engagement
Gabriela Peña, MPH