A series of community conversations on racial equity continued on Wednesday, April 10, when Dr. Judy Márquez Kiyama, Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Rochester, visited Allendale Columbia School to discuss issues of identity and social justice. This was the culmination of the students’ exploration of race and identity coinciding with Race: Are We so Different? exhibit at the Rochester Museum and Science Center.
Students visited the exhibit and participated in classroom discussions addressing the scientific myths and truths of racial biology, the legal and social history of race as well as the current lived experience of race in the United States.
They also had the opportunity to interview Dr. Yolanda Moses, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California at Riverside and chair of the National Advisory Board of Understanding Race exhibit.
Dr. Moses talked about the construction and evolution of the exhibit and shared personal anecdotes related to her work as a nationally recognized cultural anthropologist. She encouraged students to examine the structural foundations of oppression as well as their inherited beliefs about race and culture.
After screening Dr. Moses’ interview, Dr. Márquez Kiyama presented a series of ground rules for promoting frank and respectful talk about our identities, shared and different. She encouraged students to consider their multiple roles, roots and internal contradictions. She also shared her own “Where I’m From” poem, a poem integrating her many identities. “Most of all,” she read, “I am from the ranch. Where doors aren’t locked, people aren’t fake, horses don’t judge and having a PhD is no better than the strings of an apron.”