RISE UP Speak Out set to inspire greater inclusiveness on campus

Julia Balli, General Assignment Reporter

University of Wisconsin–La Crosse is welcoming a new, inclusive event called RISE UP Speak Out to campus. The event is focused around staff members who participated in this immersive program and for them to share their experience. 

“Our message captures some of our experience together, during a five-day intensive racial identity immersion and coalition-building experience, as we grappled with our own racial/ethnic identities and positionalities, searched for deeper understanding of ourselves and others and identified our role and responsibility in advancing racial justice within our respective departments and across campus,” said UWL Director of Campus Climate Amanda Goodenough. 

Campus Climate created, sponsored and organized RISE UP Speak Out. This event was also supported by the Division of Diversity & Inclusion and many other UWL facilitators including The Pride Center, Equity & Affirmative Action, Student Life and Residence Life. These organizations were essential in shaping and promoting this event. 

“I think our campus needs to be inspired and challenged to get in this anti-racism work, stay in it, or, quite frankly, to do better,” said Goodenough. 

By having participants in the program share their experience, many hope that change will come to UWL that will lead to a more positive, inclusive environment for all the students and staff members on campus. 

“Hopefully, audience members will be moved to join the conversation and to be more courageous in their own convictions around anti-racism. I know many students who will feel heard, seen and supported as they watch staff and faculty on stage addressing issues of race, racism and white privilege,” said Goodenough. “I imagine some of our colleagues will feel validated as well, and I also believe employees in the audience will be encouraged to take a more active role in practicing cultural humility and finding their place and responsibility within these tough conversations and this important work.” 

The RISE UP Speak Out event is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 5:30 p.m. in The Bluffs 2110 in the Student Union.