Submitted by Jeri Brewer and Kyle Castro.


Tell us how you or your department, organization or team is supporting diversity initiatives and antiracism or a helpful resource you’ve been using.

Kyle: Woke Wednesdays: Open discussions on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


Tell us how you or your department, organization or team is supporting diversity initiatives and antiracism or a helpful resource you’ve been using.

Jeri: Starting in early June, shortly after the murder of George Floyd, our team wanted to have an outlet to share some of the fear, anxiety and sadness we were all feeling. We began by hosting an open forum via Zoom to just decompress and discuss our feelings around the recent murders of people of color by police officers and the protests that soon followed. What came out of the initial meeting was a desire to not only continue discussing and learning but to develop actionable steps to support people of color and fight against racial injustice. So we developed a six week web chat series we called, “Woke Wednesdays with Admissions.” Kyle Castro and I alternated weeks to develop a topic and the curriculum for each chat.

Week 1: Identity Wheel Activity: Critically understand your own identity and how you present yourself within different contexts.

Week 2: Privilege: Recognize that systems of privilege and oppression exist and those systems impact people & society. Understand how we might be able to create more spaces for inclusion among all identities.

Week 3: Implicit Bias: Begin to understand the unconscious (implicit) biases we all hold and how these impact our relationships with others, the decision we make and how policy is formed bases on these implicit biases.

Week 4: Racism in HEI: Reflect on how systemic racism appears in our K-12 educational system and how this discrimination prohibits a student’s ability to pursue post secondary education. Reflect on how racism appears in HIE and at Mines (review the @BIPOC_at_mines Instagram account).

Week 5: White savior complex: How are white folks taking up space in issues of racism and inequality and how are they misrepresenting and/or harming movements toward social and racial justice? How can we educate ourselves on these issues without continually tapping our friends/colleagues/ students of color?

Week 6: Reflection from last five weeks.


Why did you take this initiative or explore this resource? 

Jeri: Our staff is predominately white and we agreed we wanted to better educate ourselves on issues of systemic racism and police violence so that we may be better able to support students of color and fight against racial injustice. Many agree that progress begins with education and unless we first understand our own privilege and how we contribute to inequality we cannot fight for equity or support folks of color.

Kyle: Pulling from current national events, the BIPOC@Mines social media account, pop culture and words from prominent historical figures such as James Baldwin, this was a creative effort to continue these very difficult conversations beyond what is trending at the moment. The goal was to expand on what is happening across the country (including our own campus), dive into it, get our hands dirty and work to try and understand it.


What did you learn or experience?

Jeri: I learned we are all on different paths in our journey toward racial justice. Everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn. I also reflected more on the actionable steps of fighting racial injustice (more than talking/posting) including donating to activist groups, supporting Black-owned businesses, consuming media with Black authors, directors and actors, protesting, voting and more. While education is important, we have to move past talking and start fighting for change.

Kyle: We discovered parts of our own identities in conjunction with the contexts we work and live in using the Identity Wheel exercise. From that we discussed our privilege and how some of us benefit or are held back from those privileges within a certain system of oppression. After that we discussed implicit bias and how these impact the way in which we unconsciously perceive or stereotype certain people or experiences. We then talked about historic racism and the language we use to perpetuate this racism even if unintentionally. After that we chatted about the white savior complex and the importance of developing our intentions to help other people as a true ally without alternative motives or a need for emotional reward. Each of these was at some point tied into our work at Mines and how we can function more intently as Admissions representatives, specifically around underrepresented student recruitment.


Do you have any advice or a message for the Oredigger community regarding diversity or the systemic racism we’re working to address?

Kyle: I believe it is our mission as people to listen to one another, hear each others struggle, and accept our battles with oppression and systemic racism as part of the human experience, regardless of what side we fall. From there we begin to see our human struggle collectively and empathize, not sympathize, with those of us trying to navigate these oppressive systems based on the color of our skin, the way we talk, how much money we have, or where we come from. It is when we recognize, and accept, our own role within this battle that we can truly start to make improvements and move forward with a greater understanding of how beautiful we are.



Help the Mines community continue to learn and take action regarding diversity and racism on campus.

Tell us about a resource you’ve found insightful, or share a story about how your team, class, department or organization is discussing and addressing issues related to diversity or racism.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and what you’ve been working on so we can share with the Mines campus and encourage others to take these necessary steps as we climb together.