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Menah's Meditations

A blog of the Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity

Vice President of Strategic Affairs and Diversity, Dr. Menah Pratt-Clarke

Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity, Dr. Menah Pratt-Clarke photographed in the Hahn Garden in Summer of 2022. The photo is a close frame. She is wearing a coral colored suit. The background is composed of plants, green out-of-focus.
Vice President of Strategic Affairs and Diversity, Dr. Menah Pratt-Clarke

Menah's Meditations

This year, from time to time, I’ll be sharing meditations --  thoughts and ideas about life and living in a complex and complicated society -- in this little corner of the website.  As we navigate our Hokie community, I’ll reflect on ways to push boundaries, challenges ourselves, have fun, educate ourselves, and sometimes just get though the days.  Check back often, and also check out our calendar of events and newsletter. 

The new academic year is an opportunity to think about how as a campus we continue to advance InclusiveVT, the institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim (that I may serve) in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence.  The four pillars of InclusiveVT are sustainable transformation, representational diversity, campus climate, and academic mission. 

This year, I urge us as a campus to focus on sustainable transformation, and ensuring that our structures, policies, procedures, processes, and practices are sustainable, embedded in our culture and the way of doing business, living, and learning at Virginia Tech. I encourage us to continue to bring an equity lens to our work as leaders, as faculty, as staff, as students.  An equity lens provides an opportunity to exercise an additional level of consciousness around decision-making, around community-building, and around our structures, committees, and organizations.  It is an opportunity to add a layer of thoughtfulness about taken-for-granted assumptions that everything is fine for everyone.  Ultimately, I hope we can challenge ourselves to stretch beyond the existing boundaries of familiarity, of comfort, and convenience. 

I hope this year that our community will take time to participate in diversity education and engagement programming to enhance our understanding of the complexity of human identity and strategies (words and tools) for navigating spaces of discomfort.  I hope all of us will explore the opportunity to stretch the boundaries of our traditional friendship communities, reaching out and stepping into spaces with those that have shared and different identities.  The delightful opportunity of a university is to create dynamic, interesting, and fascinating connections, and to discover the richness of people, personalities, and perspectives.  Join me in pushing boundaries this year.

 Let’s Ut Prosim, together,

Menah


September 8, 2022

A new semester is underway, and on a college campus, the mission is education, knowledge, and learning.  I’m starting off my year focused on learning, reading, and writing, too.  I just finished reading The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones.  The Faculty Women of Color in the Academy National Conference invited Nikole to be a keynote speaker, and she was amazing.  I wrote a blog about the book, reflecting on American history and the way in which as Black Americans we have refused to accept the cards we were dealt. We are seeking new cards; new games; new rules. I believe that every community that believes in the potential of America to live up to its ideals for all people should read The 1619 Project.   Americans who wanted to "do more" and "be allies," in the aftermath of George Floyd, appalled at the hate that African-Americans have addressed for years, should read The 1619 Project.  Read the blog at:

http://menahprattclarke.com/2022/09/08/the-1619-project/

To learn more about The 1619 Project, please visit:

https://pulitzercenter.org/lesson-plan-grouping/1619-project-curriculum

https://1619education.org/

Menah