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On Mattering Discussion Series Focuses on Racial Disparities in an “Unjust Ecosystem”

A new discussion series initiated by the African American Alumnae/i of Vassar College (AAAVC) is bringing Vassar expertise to bear on specific areas of racial injustice in the United States. The series, On Mattering, consists of five interactive panels featuring Vassar faculty and alumnae/i followed by Q&As and breakout discussion groups. The series is cosponsored by the Clubs Committee of the Alumnae/i Association of Vassar College (AAVC).

A variety of alumnae/i and faculty members have already participated in On Mattering. The series continues through the spring semester.Photo: Courtesy of the subjects, except Sydullah, Karl Rabe; Murphy, Adjani Husbands

Tracy Elise Poole ’82, Co-Chair of AAAVC, said she and fellow Co-Chair Dennis Slade ’91 had been looking for ways to get a broader array of Black alumnae/i exposed and involved with the College since taking the helm of AAAVC in 2018. The killing of George Floyd in summer 2020 galvanized that process.

“In the aftermath of the George Floyd tragedy and the increased energy from some around social justice concerns, I realized that Black people in America are appalled and hurt but not surprised by it as are some segments of American society, because far too many of us know firsthand that what happened to Mr. Floyd is not new or isolated but is instead part of a longstanding ecosystem of injustice in America relating to Blacks,” said Poole. “So, I thought that a way to constructively contribute to the dialogue was to explore some of the aspects of that unjust ecosystem by organizing a discussion series around topics such as economic, criminal justice, educational, arts, and health disparities with an aim toward providing thought-provoking information and a virtual opportunity to participate and engage with esteemed panel speakers as well as others from the Vassar community.”

Poole said the series is a collaborative effort among AAAVC, AAVC (Vassar’s alumnae/i association), alumnae/i, students, faculty, and administrators—all of whom contribute in meaningful ways. “Drawing upon Vassar’s own resources, primarily its uber-talented pool of alums, I hope to create a space where the Vassar Community could come together to discuss critical topics while showcasing the vast excellence among Vassar’s Black alumnae/i population,” she said.

The first two sessions centered on economic and criminal justice disparities. Future On Mattering discussion topics include:

Part III—Education—February 27, 2021
Part IV—Arts—March 13, 2021
Part V—Health/Wellness—April 10, 2021 (During AAAVC’s Triennial)

Visit the Events page to register for future events. Videos for each program can also be viewed shortly after the live discussion takes place.