When President Melvin L. Oliver announced the formation of Pitzer’s Racial Justice Initiative (RJI) in May 2020, he wrote that Pitzer’s “commitment to equity and inclusion runs deep and wide,” and also acknowledged, “we still come up short.”

“Yet, as an educational institution, we can continue the quest to better understand, to create more effective advocacy, and to promote social change to address the violence and injustices suffered by the African American community and many other marginalized Americans.”

The True Equity series is a continuation of that commitment and that quest. It is also a response to a statement from Pitzer’s Black Student Union (BSU) in September 2020 that outlined ways that Pitzer can help Black students “feel more supported and ultimately be successful on campus.”

Pitzer’s Office of College Advancement and Communications, home to Alumni & Family Engagement, sought to contribute to RJI’s goals and respond to BSU’s address by creating a series of real conversations, spanning generations and constituencies around issues of injustice and inequity in our country and on our campus.

Brandon Kyle, director of Pitzer’s Office of Alumni & Family Engagement, collaborated with Alumni Board member Derric Johnson ’95, Family Leadership Council (FLC) member Julia Weber P’23, and an Advancement and Communications working group to develop this series in coordination with Pitzer’s Racial Justice Initiative.

The first three conversations were held virtually during spring 2021 and can now be viewed online.

True Equity Part 1: Systemic Change kicked off the series with a conversation about the racial wealth gap, Pitzer’s Racial Justice Initiative, and the need for “radical imaginations.” Featuring President Oliver, Pitzer Trustee Angela Glover Blackwell, and FLC member Julia Weber P’23.

True Equity Part 2: Color in the Ivory Tower was a frank conversation about the state of diversity at Pitzer College and in higher education. Led by Pitzer Associate Dean and Professor Adrian Pantoja, panelists included professors Ahmed Alwishah, Mita Banerjee, Muriel Poston, Maria Soldatenko, and Linus Yamane.

True Equity Part 3: Pitzer’s Inaugural Black Alumni Caucus was an intergenerational conversation about the lived experience of Black students, now alumni. Pitzer Alumni Board member Derric J. Johnson ’95 led the panel discussion with Judge Mablean Ephriam ’71, Germaine Jackson ’93, Jai Phillips ’02, and Paris Primm ’22.

The fourth part of the series is in the works for the 2021–22 academic year.

Visit the True Equity page for more information.