Groups, Activities Highlight Diversity

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March 12, 2021

Pardee RAND celebrated Black History Month and will observe Cesar Chavez Day with two "Dean's Movie Night" features, while RAND's Magnetic Workplace initiative and new Employee Resource Groups hosted several as activities for BHM, the Lunar New Year, and Women's History Month.

As part of the Dean's Movie Night series, Pardee RAND hosted an Amazon Prime Watch Party featuring the documentary All In: The Fight for Democracy during Black History Month, and will host another for Cesar Chavez Day featuring the 2017 documentary Dolores, about the American labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Clara Fernández Huerta. She co-founded the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers.

RAND Supports Employee Resource Groups

RAND's internal Magnetic Workplace–Virtual (MWV) initiative aims to increase employee interactions while most staff work from home. (The initiative began as "Magnetic Workplace," an effort to encourage staff to interact in the office, but shifted focus last March.) In late 2020, RAND also financially supported the launch of five Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) focused on diverse communities. ERGs are open to all staff, including students. The five groups are:

  • Black Employees Leading in Inclusion, Equity, Vision, and Education (BELIEVE)
  • Disability Empowerment and Visibility Organization (DEVO)
  • Enrichment for Asian American and Pacific Islander Culture and Heritage (EACH)
  • Latinx y Más

These groups have actively coordinated and offered awareness and support activities for their members as well as all of RAND. Staff and students do not have to be "official members" to attend or participate in activities.

EACH recently hosted two events, one celebrating the Lunar New Year and another featuring a guest speaker discussing "A Rise in Violence Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Amid COVID-19: What Needs to Be Done?"

MWV itself celebrated the start of Women's History Month with a talk by RAND's archivist on "(Some) Notable ‘RANDswomen’."

In February, BELIEVE celebrated Black History Month with a series of events to create a space for and celebrate the Black community at RAND, including:

  • Mythbusters, a lively, interactive discussion debunking common racial stereotypes and misconceptions.
  • An Amazon Prime Watch Party for One Night in Miami
  • A book discussion of Caste
  • A presentation by a staff member who only recently discovered her family's African American roots
  • A Celebration of the Black Community at RAND

At the Celebration, BELIEVE co-chair and Pardee RAND professor Dionne Barnes-Proby introduced the event by reflecting on Black History Month. Ten speakers shared poems, short stories, and personal testimonies that highlighted their tremendous contributions internally and externally, as well as the diverse perspectives and experiences of the Black community. More than 160 guests attended the virtual event.

Student Khadesia Howell (cohort '20), one of the speakers, talked about the shifting meaning of Black liberation, challenging individuals to consider a new foundation of the concept. She spoke about the contributions that she hopes to make in her own work to add to Black liberation. "We must be given the chance to learn the tools that built the tables that originally excluded us, so that we can improve those tools and make a table of our own," she said.

—Monica Hertzman