BU Diversity & Inclusion
Facing November 2020
Distinctively & Together.


We face two urgent, interconnected issues: COVID-19 and the presidential election. So this month, instead of writing a preamble, we're sharing quotes we hope might serve as salve or impetus. Participate! Vote!


“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” ~ Pericles
“Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country, and this world.” ~ Sharon Salzberg, NY Times Best-selling author
"Not voting is not a protest. It is a surrender." ~ Keith Ellison, Attorney General of Minnesota
"If people don't vote everything stays the same. You can protest until the sky turns yellow or the moon turns blue, and it's not going to change anything if you don't vote." ~Delores Huerta, Civil Rights activist and labor leader

“Voting is not only our right—it is our power.” ~ Loung Ung, Human rights activist and lecturer
“By voting, we add our voice to the chorus that forms opinions and the basis for actions.”
~ Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO and former Prime Minister of Norway
“You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” ~  Shirley Chisholm, Civil Rights leader and U.S. Politican
“We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
"The will of too many Americans has been to pursue private happiness and take as little responsibility as possible for governing our country." ~ Grace Lee Boggs, Activist

"A government is invigorated when each of us is willing to participate in shaping the future of this country." ~ Barbara Jordan, Civil Rights leader and U.S. Politician

“If you don’t vote, you lose the right to complain.” ~ George Carlin, Actor, comedian, social critic, and author
“Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it.” ~ Susan B. Anthony

Take Good Care.
The D&I Team.

BU D&I News

BU D&I Has a New Faculty Fellow!

Deborah Chassler will serve as the inaugural Faculty Fellow for BU Diversity & Inclusion for the 2020-2021 academic year.  In this role Deborah will lead a holistic process evaluation project of BU D&I programing efforts.  The project will include interviews with key stakeholders (leadership, staff, implementers, participants) to track and document the creation and implementation of selected BU D&I projects and programs, including missions, vision, values and goals, with a particular focus on programs that are initiating structural change.  Qualitative analysis of interviews will help provide us with an enduring document and insights into the work accomplished thus far, what areas might be strengthened, and provide BU with a valuable archive of the start-up and early work of the D&I work at Boston University. 

Deborah earned her MSW at BUSSW and has worked at BUSSW for 25 years.  As a Senior Academic Researcher she has worked on enumerable research and evaluation projects and mentored dozens of graduate students.  Her research work in recent years has focused on substance use disorders, partnering with community-based organizations.  She has taught the BUSSW Racial Justice and Cultural Oppression course for many years, sits on the BUSSW Equity and Inclusion Committee, participates in the Racial Equity and Social Justice efforts on a large federally funded project based at BMC, and has led and participated in anti-racism trainings outside of BU.  She is very excited to begin a deep examination of the expansive social change efforts taking place at BU through BU D&I.

Black Boston Virtual Series

BU Diversity & Inclusion, Initiative on Cities, and WBUR CitySpace hosted a virtual discussion series featuring Black leaders from across Greater Boston. The series provided a forum to examine Boston’s progress toward inclusive access, equity and opportunity. Topics of the series included:
  • Building Health Communities
  • Telling Our Stories
  • Changing the Faces of Politics
  • Transforming the Arts
You can view the virtual series in our Events Archive.

Related News

BU's Newbury Center—and its New Director

BU recently announced the creation of a center focused on supporting students who are the first in their families to attend college. We also announced the hire of Maria Dykema Erb as its new Director. You can read more about this exciting endeavor here.

In anticipation of the holistic work that Maria will lead, we recently asked faculty and staff at BU who themselves identify as first in their families to attend college to let us know if they might want to be involved in the Center's happenings. To date, more than 350 faculty and staff have responded to the survey! We look forward to the official opening of the Center in early 2021 so that we can engage our students—and also BU's faculty and staff who want to be involved. Thanks to everyone who responded so enthusiastically!

BU Board of Trustee News

In late September, Boston University announced the appointment of two new trustee members, Antoinette (Tonie) Leatherberry (ENG '85) and Jonathan Priester (COM '10).

Likewise, in a letter (9/29) to the BU community, President Brown announced a new Board of Trustee committee, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Its Chair will also sit on the Board's Executive Committee. President Brown wrote, "This new committee will ensure that issues of diversity, inclusion, and antiracism are prominent at the highest level of the University's governance structure, adding importance and accountability to our efforts."

National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity

The National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD) is a nationally-recognized, independent organization that provides online career development and mentoring resources for faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students.

BU's institutional membership provides access to all Boston University faculty, postdocs, and graduate students to utilize the NCFDD’s broad range of online virtual programs and resources. We encourage those of you who have yet to create a free account, to do so. Here's what's coming up this month:

How to Manage Stress, Rejections, and Haters in Your Midst
Thursday, November 12 | 2 - 3:30 pm
Register here.
Developing a Career as a Community Engaged Scholar
Tuesday, November 24 | 2 - 3 pm
Register here.

Allies & Advocates in Action

Election Related Gatherings

Given the political diversity at BU and how high tensions are about this year's election, BU's Dean of Students Office and other organizations/units have created a robust series of discussions and events to support productive dialog and connection between peers and colleagues. If you're interested in participating in a facilitated dialogue, please visit the Election Well-Being registration site.

Events include sessions like Breathe, Ground and Reset; CGS Election Discussion; Election 2020: A First Look Back (LAW); Athletics: The Terrier Town; and The Global Experience This Season.

School of Medicine

BUSM's Emelia Benjamin recently co-authored an article in Nature Reviews: CardiologyDiversity 4.0 in the cardiovascular health-care workforce examines how "Individuals, leaders and institutions must prioritize research, policies and structures to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging — Diversity 4.0, a justice imperative, essential to advancing workforce excellence and cardiovascular health."

The below infographic shows "examples of available evidence, current reality and steps to be taken to overcome bias and structural inequity to achieve equity in the cardiovascular health-care workforce."
Diversity 4.0 in the cardiovascular health-care workforce 
Fig. 1: Excellence imperative for diversity: individual and institutional responsibility.
* DEIB = diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging

Amplify Latinx Recognizes Professor Juárez Echenique

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Amplify Latinx held a virtual celebration to recognize 30 Latinx Amplifiers who they characterize as "risk-takers, quiet disruptors, and outspoken advocates leading social change by amplifying in our communities."

Benjamín Juárez Echenique  (CFA)
was honored for his work with the Boston Center for Mexican Studies, a branch of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Other honorees can be viewed here.

School of Public Health

Following National Suicide Prevention Month, the School of Public Health held Stopping Suicide: A Population Health Approach to Preventing Suicide in October. This three-part event focused on understanding, stopping, and addressing suicide. Topics included:
  • The Worldwide Impact of Suicide 
  • Resolving the Why and How of Suicide
  • Hidden in Plain Sight (suicide patterns among young African Americans)
  • Early Interventions Make a Difference
  • LGBTQ Youth and Damage From Stigma
  • Advancing Policy Solutions to Suicide Prevention
All panels and individual topics can be viewed on the event's website.
If you are thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (Español: 1-888-628-9454; deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, or visit

Opening Doors: Marcelle Willock, BUSM

Opening Doors: Marcelle Willock, Pioneering Physician and BU School of Medicine Leader. Sara Rimer. Bostonia. October 7, 2020. "As a bright girl growing up in a prominent family in Panama and Guyana and going to the best schools there, Marcelle Willock dreamed of becoming a doctor. Her father, who was a newspaper editor, and her mother, who exerted her own quiet power at home, made it clear that their only daughter could do anything she wanted."


The Arts

The 25  Most Influential Works or American Protest Art Since World War II. Thessaly La Force, Zoë Lescaze, Nancy Hass, and M.H. Miller. Video by Scott J. Ross. October 15, 2020. "Three artists, a curator and a writer came together to discuss the pieces that have not only best reflected the era, but have made an impact."

Higher Ed

Diversity Work, Interrupted. Colleen Flaherty. Inside Higher Ed. October 7, 2020. "Some institutions have begun to cancel diversity, equity and inclusion programs in response to a Trump order. Critics say the order is censorship."

Trump's Executive Order on Training About White Privilege Draws Broad Opposition. Jena McGregor and Eli Rosenberg. The Washington Post. October 29, 2020.  "The Trump administration has united a surprisingly broad swath of American business groups, nonprofits and civil rights organizations in opposition to an executive order that prohibits federal contractors and other entities from using “blame-focused” diversity training that it says stereotypes groups based on race or sex."

No Home, No Wi-Fi: Pandemic Adds to Strain on Poor College Students. Dan Levin. New York Times. October 13, 2020. "Some low-income students have dropped out, and there are growing concerns about hunger and homelessness."

'The Cost of Inclusion'. Scott Jaschick. Inside Higher Ed. October 27, 2020. "Author discusses his book, which says that student activities do not necessarily advance students' interests. White men gain the most, he says."

The Virus Moved Female Faculty to the Brink. Will Universities Help? Jillian Kramer. New York Times. October 6, 2020. "The pandemic is a new setback for women in academia who already faced obstacles on the path to advancing their research and careers."

National Elections

The Changing Racial and Ethnic Composition of the U.S. Electorate. Ruth Igielnik and Abby Budiman. Pew Research Center. September 23, 2020. "In battleground states, Hispanics grew more than other racial or ethnic groups as a share of eligible voters."

The Power Millennials Don't Know They Have. Meg Murphy. Bentley University Newsroom. "We know the millennial generation is the most racially diverse in American history, but the question is: Do they know it?"

Vote Like Your Health Depends on It. Michael Stein, Nicholas Diamond, Jennifer Beard, Edward Alexander, Gray Babbs, Tasha McAbee, Pat Williams. October 26, 2020. "If mismanagement of a pandemic, widespread corruption, impeachment, the end of government oversight and accountability, racism, the caging of immigrant children, abuse of the powers of the state, and continued voter suppression are not enough to decide your vote this election season, here are seven public health issues that might guide your thinking. The four PHP writing fellows and the three editors have each taken one and offer short reminders of what is at stake in the 2020 election on the local, state, and national tickets."

Why Should Young People Vote? Bill Politis. BU Today. October 14, 2020. "Ask most any student this year and they’ll tell you there’s a lot at stake in the 2020 presidential election. Climate change. Social and racial inequities. A pandemic that has already claimed the lives of 215,000 Americans. The future of the Supreme Court. But the big question is: will young voters actually vote?"

The Power of Words

What Does It Mean to Be Latinx? For Some, It's the ‘One Term That Gives Everyone a Home’. Michelle Ruiz. Vogue. October 3, 2020. "By the 1980s, the use of 'Latina/o' emerged to describe the more diverse ethnic and racial fabric of people known as 'Hispanic.' But for some, that descriptor still falls short of inclusive, as the male/female gender binary of the Spanish language can leave out those who identify as nonbinary. Enter one of the most controversial terms of the 2020 election cycle: 'Latinx.'"


BU D&I Faculty & Staff Community Networks


Spill the Tea Morning Meetings

Thursday, November 5 | 9:15-10:15 am
Tuesday, November 17 | 9:15-10:15 am

Join via Zoom

LGBTQIA+ Employee Network: Ask HR Anything
Tuesday, November 10 | 12-1 pm
Join via Zoom
Q&A Submission Form

Network Luncheon in Commemoration of Transgender Day of Remembrance
Wednesday, November 18 | 12-1 pm
Join via Zoom

Staff and Faculty Extend BU Disability Support

Destress Sesh

Friday, November 20 | 2:00 pm
Join via Zoom
Meeting ID: 945 1168 4773
Passcode: 333555

Howard Thurman Center

Post-election Reflections: A Boston University Student-Faculty Forum
Tuesday, November 10 | 2:30-8 pm
Register here.

On November 3, 2020, voters will be casting their ballots for representatives, governors, and most notably, President of the United States in what is being billed as one of the most consequential elections in American history. Join a panel of BU faculty experts who will be answering your questions on the election’s outcomes and consequences as part of the Student-Faculty Forum series.

Featuring: Moderated by:
  • Virginia Sapiro, Professor, Department of Political Science; Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program, and Dean Emerita of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Anthropology, Archaeology, and American & New England Studies

Indigenous Archaeology and Community Engaged Research in the Americas
Friday, November 13 | 3-5 pm
Register here.

The BU Anthropology Department, Archaeology Program, and American & New England Studies Program are pleased to host an Emerging Scholars initiative featuring researchers who work as indigenous archaeologists and in community engaged research with indigenous peoples of the Americas. Below are the expert panelists for this event.

Keynote Speaker:
  • Dr. Bonnie Newsom, Indigenous Archaeologies and Climate Change Resilience: Lessons from Passamaquoddy Homeland, University of Maine
  • Daniela Maria Raillard, Education, Engagement, and Employment: Building the Foundation for Sustainable and Collaborative Archaeology in the Chachapoya Region, Perú, Northwestern University
  • Adriana Linares Palma, Community-Based Archaeological Program at San Juan Cotzal, Guatemala, University of Texas
  • Wade Campbell, The Early Navajo Pastoral Landscape Project: An Archaeological Study of Diné Herding Traditions, Harvard University
  • Dr. Keitlyn Alcantara, Recipes of Belonging: Adapting what Our Ancestors Gave Us, Indiana University

College of Communications

Getting Your Foot in the Door and Beyond
Wednesday, November 18 | 5-6 pm
Register here.

Almost always, the creative, dedicated minority has made the world better. - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59)
Black creatives have become more visible. Now what? Will visibility lead to real power and influence? Or will our genius, our voices, and our culture simply be for the consumption and improvement of others? How do we get our foot through the door to secure our seat at the table?

We explore these questions, and more, in this candid, one-hour conversation designed to help Black creatives navigate the media and communications industries. We’ll also discuss tips and resources for allies, advocates, and accomplices who are looking to create opportunities and empower Black creatives.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance. GLADD. "Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. Additionally, the week before TDOR, people and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise visibility for transgender people and address issues the community faces.

Her death sparked Transgender Day of Remembrance. 22 years later, still no answers. Kate Sosin. NBCNews. July 15, 2020. "The brutal death of Rita Hester in 1998 inspired a movement. But while her legacy is cemented, her name has been largely forgotten."

Quips, Quotes, & Short Considerations


“True power does not amass through the pain and suffering of others.”
Joy Harjo, U.S. Poet Laureate


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 Diversity & Inclusion
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