Colgate’s Anti-Racism Coalition Holds Three-Day Workshop

This past weekend, Colgate students were invited to take part in a workshop called “Skin Deep: Going All In.” This workshop was put on by Colgate’s Anti-Racism Coalition (ARC) and spanned from Friday at 2 p.m. to Sunday at 2 p.m. Students who took part in the event spent the days in the Center for Women’s Studies and slept in the Yurt at night.

The workshop gave students a chance to reflect about their race and about ways to best discuss racial differences with others.

“The aim of Skin Deep is for the participants to go through an immersive experience about the importance of personal racial consciousness and doing self-work in order to better their efforts of social justice work and activism,” junior Kristi Carey said. Carey is one of the leaders of the ARC, along with senior Hoa Bui and junior Michelle Sagalchik.

The ARC invited Damali Ayo to come and lead the participants in various different activities. These activities allowed the students involved to talk about issues revolving around racism and oppression and about how to talk to others about these issues in ways that are beneficial.

“There were workshops on actions based upon fear versus those based on love, the difference between responding to other people with thoughts versus feelings and concepts of ‘re-injury’-the negative, emotional effects that can be produced when talking about racism and oppression,” Carey said.

Carey pointed out that this workshop used to be a bigger event on campus and that the ARC hopes that the event will become larger in the upcoming years.

“We want to try and grow it again to involve so many members of our community, and perhaps do it off-campus, at a conference center or more secluded space,” Carey said. “We’re also contemplating putting it over fall break, so that might attract some more attendance as students probably aren’t as bogged down with assignments and such.”

“I do admire…the way a group of students in [the] ARC who wanted to make this happen took it upon themselves to find funding, organize the event and recruit other interested students to participate in it,” faculty advisor of the ARC and Senior Lecturer in University Studies Jeff Spires said. Spires did not attend the event, but he said that he appreciated the ARC’s commitment to holding this workshop. “That kind of initiative and commitment is impressive,” Spires said.

Although Carey worried that the event was going to be somewhat repetitive and that the activities would all have the same lessons, she found what she learned to be helpful and intriguing.

“There’s only so many times you can get the ‘introduction to intersectionality’ lecture,” Carey said. “However, every single thing we did was completely new and different, and actually gave me tools that I can use when trying to figure out how to talk to other people about issues of social justice.”

Carey said that the activities were ones that she would like to incorporate into the ARC to do with other members of the ARC. She said that she would now be able to lead these activities as a result of what she learned from the workshop.

“The event totally met and exceeded my expectations,” Carey said.