True Equity: A Four-Part Conversation Series

“Now that we are moving into a multiracial democracy, we have to learn how to govern in a way that advances racial equity. We have to put policies in place, and we have to figure out a way to hold ourselves to account for how we are doing, how is it different, and how do we do even better.” —Angela Glover Blackwell, Pitzer trustee and PolicyLink founder

True Equity is a series of real conversations about systemic racial injustice, lived experiences, community coalitions, and fundamental change at Pitzer College and in the US. The four-part series was inspired by Pitzer’s Racial Justice Initiative and a shared desire to create true equity throughout our institutions and in our lifetimes.

Initiated by the Pitzer@Home virtual forum, the series was developed by Executive Director of Alumni and Family Engagement Brandon Kyle, Alumni Board Member Derric J. Johnson ’95, and Family Leadership Council member Julia Weber P’23 in collaboration with a working group from Pitzer’s Office of Advancement and Communications.

2021 Events

True Equity Part 4: Beyond Solidarity: Awareness, Accountability, and Action was the culminating conversation of our 2021 True Equity series and explored pathways forward that reach beyond rhetoric and are steeped in sustainable change.

Held on November 16, 2021, this intergenerational discussion brought together President Melvin L. Oliver, Trustee and PolicyLink Founder Angela Glover Blackwell, and representatives from across the Pitzer community. The panel participants included:

  • Melvin L. Oliver, Pitzer College President
  • Angela Glover Blackwell, Pitzer College Trustee
  • Jacqui Campos-Araujo ’23, Latinx Student Union Co-President
  • Derric J. Johnson ’95, Alumni Board Member
  • Paris Primm ’22, Black Student Union President
  • Julia Weber P’23, Family Leadership Council Member
  • Moderated by Brandon Kyle, Executive Director of Alumni & Family Engagement and Annual Giving

True Equity Part 3: Pitzer’s Inaugural Black Alumni Caucus was an intergenerational conversation about the lived experience of Black students, now alumni, of Pitzer College and the actionable next steps for upholding our core values through accountability, community, and resolution to create true equity for the next generation. Led by Pitzer Alumni Board member Derric J. Johnson ’95 with panelists Judge Mablean Ephriam ’71, Germaine Jackson ’93, Jai Phillips ’02, and Paris Primm ’22. This event was part of Pitzer’s Reunion Celebration 2021.

True Equity Part 2: Color in the Ivory Tower, the second of the four-part series, was held on April 7. This frank conversation about the state of diversity at Pitzer College and in higher education was led by Pitzer Associate Dean and Professor Adrian Pantoja. Panelists included: Ahmed Alwishah, professor of philosophy; Mita Banerjee, professor of psychology; Muriel Poston, professor of environmental analysis; Maria Soldatenko, associate professor of Chicana/o-Latina/o transnational studies; and Linus Yamane, professor of economics.

True Equity Part 1: Systemic Change kicked off the series on February 13, 2021, with a reflective conversation about the racial wealth gap, Pitzer’s Racial Justice Initiative, and the need for “radical imaginations” to create a multiracial democracy. Held during Family Weekend 2021, this event featured Pitzer College President Melvin L. Oliver, co-author of the groundbreaking book Black Wealth/White Wealth; Pitzer Trustee Angela Glover Blackwell, the founder of PolicyLink; and Julia Weber P’23, a member of the Family Leadership Council and an expert on violence prevention.