Recast | Campus Climate Update, Spring/Winter 2021

From: “Longaker, Jacob” <>
Date: Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 4:59 PM

Dear Evergreen, 

The closing of the academic quarter brings a moment of reflection on the incredible work of our campus community. We write to share a detailed report on the activities of First Peoples Multicultural, Trans, & Queer Support Services and Campus Climate & Belonging. Below, please find information around workshops & trainings, community building, belonging & inclusion, and future opportunities to engage with this work. This report continues our commitment to providing transparency and accountability for our collective work. 

Workshops & Trainings 

In response to data from the campus climate assessment, we hosted a series of 7 workshops and community conversations on the topics of belonging, unlearning racism, unlearning gender, and unlearning ableism. These 1-hour luncheon events averaged 30-35 participants. Special thanks to Jadon Berry and Tara Hardy who co-hosted sessions on Belonging and Unlearning Ableism, respectively. 

The Campus Climate Workgroup facilitated tailored workshops on leveraging climate data to improve our learning and working environments with Advancement and the Master of Environmental Science Program. 

First Peoples professional and student staff hosted specialized workshops on topics like Queer Adolescence, Undocu(Black) Allyship, All About Love (As a Tool for Social Change), and Demystifying Applying to Grad School. In April, our three-part Trans Wellness Week brought together activists, legal advocates, and public health advocates from across Washington State. Together with The Outdoor Program, First Peoples hosted Bam Mendiola for a discussion on Ecologies of Power. Finally, our staff spoke to Res Life on Intersectionality & Allyship, joined the Gateways Program for a conversation on liberatory consciousness and unlearning gender and sexuality, and lectured in the Narrative Psychology & Storytelling program on research methods and ethics in working with trans communities in the Global South.  

Community Building, Belonging, & Inclusion 

First Peoples organized an active schedule of events for our community members to come together and cultivate stronger ties of belonging and inclusion on our campus. After honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the inspirational Kwabena Amoah-Forson (Evergreen Tacoma Alum & founder of The Peace Bus Tacoma), we joined our community in celebration of Black History Month with a month-long series of events that featured community art with Merrill Pusey, poetry (and birthday!) of Audre Lorde, and jazz with Dr. Amir Gilmore.  

In February and March, First Peoples hosted a Lunar New Year Celebration, Movie Night, and Open Mic Night. In response to the tragic episodes of violence against our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, we rallied together during a virtual vigil and solidarity event. Many thanks to Trans & Queer Coordinator Amira Caluya for leading this vigil with grace and compassion. 

On April 13, 14, and 15, nearly 800 registered participants from the Evergreen community came together for our annual Equity Symposium: Wade in the Water. We welcomed an amazing slate of nationally recognized speakers like Matika Wilbur (Swinomish & Tulalip) of Project 562, Justin Michael Williams (author, musician, and transformational speaker), Tony Louie & James Pakootas & Maura Garcia (award winning performance artists of Colville Confederated Tribes), and Janaya “Future” Khan (international ambassador for #BLM). Evergreen faculty, staff, students, and affiliates hosted over 12 hours of sessions on love as a social justice praxis, intersectionality and disability justice, mass incarceration and prison reform, and indigenous sovereignty, among others. 

To welcome the season of warmth and bid adieu to a challenging year, First Peoples sponsored the celebratory event of Springfest. Springfest saw our Peer Navigator student staff organize a multi-day celebration of the arts, music, and creative performance with local and national talent like The Slants, Afrok & DJ Koolhandz Luke, C.A.U.T.I.O.N, KPH and The Canary Collective, J. Mase III and Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi. The Evergreen community amazed us with song, dance, and performance during Evergreen’s Got Talent, Zoom Karaoke, and The Intersectional Student Multimedia Showcase. 

In addition to large-scale opportunities for community building, our Peer Navigators hosted weekly spaces for identity affirmation like Glitter Hour for LGBTQIA+ students, Chisme Hour for Latinx students, and Nightjar Art Collective for intersectionally rich creatives. Additional recurring events included Instaqueer Instagram Live Series, Lee’s Weekly Wind Down, Crochet & Embroidery on Instagram Live, and 2 hours of Weekly Drop-In Office Hours.  

In an effort to expand access to nationally recognized speakers and event, the Equity Symposium sponsored 100 participants to join Seattle Arts & Lectures events by Ibram X. Kendi, award-winning scholar and leader on anti-racist education, and Robin W. Kimmerer (Potawatomi), acclaimed scholar on indigenous epistemology and restoration ecology. First Peoples sponsored 40 participants to attend Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival in May. Special thanks to Vice President of Inclusive Excellence & Student Success Therese Saliba for the wonderful idea! 

Summer Programming 

We kick off the summer with celebratory events, starting with a Juneteenth celebration with stories of resilience and black liberation, and leading into Multicultural and Lavender Graduation ceremonies to honor the achievements of our graduating seniors. As the summer progresses, we hope to see you at the Social Justice Center Opening & Training at the July 20 Summer Institute. As always, we welcome opportunities to collaborate on transformative work across campus!

in community,

Hannah Simonetti, Director of Campus Climate & Belonging and First Peoples Multicultural, Trans & Queer Support Services

Jacob Longaker, Associate Director of First Peoples Multicultural, Trans, & Queer Support Services

Equity Symposium Videos 

A Full List of Winter/Spring 2021 Activities & Events 

Jacob R. Longaker (he/him/his)

Associate Director

First Peoples Multicultural, Trans, and Queer Support Services

The Evergreen State College

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