Diversity In Action at Robson Ranch and UNT

Some members of Voices United’s Diversity In Action committee participate in a Kwanzaa celebration.

Tiffany Ramzy

Voices United (VU) has had a steady agenda of diversity activities in recent weeks. On Jan. 8 VU hosted a Zoom session with Joanne Woodard, Vice President of University of North Texas’ (UNT) Division of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access (IDEA). Dr. Woodard spoke about the great work that is being done in her division at UNT. As one of the nation’s largest universities (they offer 106 bachelor’s degrees, 88 master’s, and 36 doctoral degree programs), they understand that inclusion is integral to a campus known for its diversity. Their IDEA division works to ensure equity and access are at the forefront of the UNT experience by providing resources, programming, and training for their students and employees.

Reporting up to Dr. Woodard is the Equal Opportunity & Title IX office, Diversity & Inclusion, Multicultural Center, and the PRIDE Alliance. UNT has implemented training for faculty, staff administrators, and students on Cultural Awareness and Implicit Bias. Recently, UNT was designated a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), i.e., at least 25% of their population identifies as Hispanic. To that end, they have created DACA resources and a Latin Dreams Living Learning Community. They also have a Latinx Alumni Network (LAN), which Robson resident Bob Garza (‘74) helped to establish.

Dec. 28, 2021, Kwanzaa Celebration

Habari Gani (Welcome)! Robson residents Jackie and David Ford hosted a Kwanzaa potluck and program for members of the Robson Ranch African American Social Group, members of Voices United’s Diversity in Action committee, and other friends on the fifth day of Kwanzaa (known as Nia). Their special guests included Linda and Harry Eaddy, directors of the Denton Black Film Festival; Donald Cox, an author and Juneteenth historical researcher; and Jocelyn McMurry, a Denton County political activist. Kwanzaa is a unique American cultural holiday that pays tribute to African Americans and is usually held annually from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Kwanzaa, which means “first fruits,” is based on seven principles. Unity, Umoja; Self-determination, Kujichagulia; Collective work and responsibility, Ujima; Cooperative economics, Ujamaa; Purpose, Nia; Creativity, Kuumba; and Faith, Imani. The Ford’s event included a video on Kwanzaa, presentations by special guests, and a huge, delicious potluck soul food buffet that included blackeyed peas, brisket, fried chicken, greens, yams, mac and cheese, potato salad, corn pudding, cornbread, sweet potato tarts, and apple pies.

21-Day Equity Challenge

VU’s Diversity In Action committee will be inviting members of the Robson community to participate in a 21-Day Equity Challenge to learn more about equity, to promote unity, and to combat divisiveness in our community. The Challenge kicks off Monday, March 7. Each day during the challenge, participants will be presented with a different topic via an email and be asked to take 15 to 20 minutes to read an article, watch a video, or listen to a podcast about that topic. Participants will be invited to an opportunity for discussion at the end of the 21 days. More information to come.