On Monday afternoon, March 6, 2017, our UAT fellows and mentors took part in a very special activity that asked them to contemplate and discuss the role of privilege, power, and oppression in determining life opportunities in the U.S. The purpose of the event was neither to congratulate nor to shame individuals but to look critically at competing notions of fairness, meritocracy, inequity, and individual talent vs. societal dis/advantages.
For those participants who found themselves in an advantageous position in "the race," how might they work as allies to ensure that others just as capable might have similar chances to succeed. For those facing additional obstacles, how might they retain hope and strength when facing leaping these additional hurdles head on? For all of us, how could we work to remember that we will all inevitably find ourselves at the front and at the back, ahead and behind, held up and held back...and how can we continue to celebrate our own achievements while still realizing that nothing in this world is accomplished alone?
What resulted was an experience that will last a lifetime...
And the following evening, our fellows and mentors gathered again to continue the dialogue about how we can all work together to create a more just, fair, and equitable world for all people. Rather than feel defeated by the weight of history and the reality of unfairness, how can we make a difference in immediate and lasting ways?