By CAYLEE HANNA
As part of Amarillo College’s new No Excuses 2025 Strategic Plan, AC will become an anti-racist institution. During an all-employee staff meeting called General Assembly held on Sept. 11, Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, the AC president, described the initiative as groundbreaking.
“When our board approved the No Excuses 2025 Strategic Plan, we became the first school in the country that declared it would be an anti-racist institution,” Lowery-Hart said.
Anti-racism is defined as a conscious effort to combat systemic racism and oppression. Ibram X. Kendi, the director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, notes in his book “How to be an ‘Anti-racist,’” “The opposite of ‘racist’ isn’t ‘not racist,’” he writes. “It is ‘anti-racist.’”
Lowery-Hart said that he has created an anti-racism team which includes 25 AC employees and two students. The team has been charged with discussing how to alleviate racial justice issues. During spring semester 2021, the team will look at policies and processes and make changes to them in order to ensure they are anti-racist.
Melodie Graves, the associate director of academic advising, is an administrator for the team.
“An anti-racist team is a group of Amarillo College employees who are dedicated to providing education surrounding equality and social justice,” Graves said. “The term anti-racism means opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance. This team will ensure that our policies and procedures are inclusive and provide educational initiatives to enforce racial tolerance.”
Graves said that the overall goals for AC’s anti-racism team are to bring more awareness of racism to the community and to strive for racial equality.
“Amarillo College will become intentional about opposing racism and pushing for racial tolerance,” Graves said. She is eager to see what the team will accomplish.
“I am excited to be a part of this team and I’m ready for the change that our work is going to produce,” Graves said.
Lowery-Hart said that in order to bring the community together and move forward in the future, people have to learn from the past.
“We have to confront our history in order to rewrite our future,” he said during the assembly. “This is about having true, deep, heartfelt conversations that allow us to find ways to bring our community and our region together, even if the rest of the country can’t figure that out themselves.”