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Leading antiracism activist Ibram X. Kendi set to give lecture for Campus Community Book Project

“How to Be an Antiracist” author Ibram X. Kendi will speak about the Campus Community Book Project’s theme of “social justice in practice”

 

By KAYA DO-KHANH — campus@theaggie.org

 

Ibram X. Kendi, a renowned Boston University history professor and the author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” will visit UC Davis to talk about his book and its relation to social justice in practice at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

The event is organized by the Campus Community Book Project at UC Davis, an initiative out of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) that came about in response to 9/11 to bring the campus community together and promote dialogue about specific issues. 

“[It does this] by encouraging diverse members of the campus and surrounding communities to read the same book and attend related events,” the program’s website states.

The 2021-2022 project features leading antiracist activist Kendi’s book, “How to Be an Antiracist.” The facilitators of the project have hosted lectures, discussions and film viewings related to the book’s themes. There have been discussions about social justice, racism and antiracism across various disciplines, with programs from the Stand-Up Comedy Club to the School of Veterinary Medicine. 

“We’re trying to be comprehensive in recognizing that racism is so deeply steeped in everything we do in every structure, and that applies to the various academic disciplines,” Program Co-Director Megan Macklin said. “We’ve been really grateful for all the partnerships we’re able to build to encourage folks and to provide a space for folks around the campus and the community to talk about what social justice means in their particular field while also again having that unifying vision of what does this really mean when we’re thinking about UC Davis as an institution.” 

Before his talk in the evening of March 31, Kendi will take part in a non-ticketed panel discussion that is open to the public at 4 p.m. in Jackson Hall at the Mondavi Center. It will be a live, in-person discussion, but it will also be available via livestream for members of the UC Davis community as well as for other UC schools.

“Now that we’re doing a lot of [programming] virtually and we have those video recordings available, I think that it creates a lot of longevity to the conversation,” Macklin said. 

The Campus Council on Community and Diversity, which is made up of representatives from across the UC Davis campus, chose the project’s 2021-2022 theme to be the topic of “social justice in practice.”

“They were very, very intentional in having that ‘in practice’ component be attached to our discussion of social justice,” Macklin said. “We are not talking about how social justice might look at a very high level or how we might want it to look in the future. We wanted to have an opportunity to talk about what social justice looks like right now and what it looks like for our particular community.”

Associate Chief Diversity Officer in the Office of DEI Mikael Villalobos said that the book project strongly aligns with the office’s mission.

“The community-building aspect of the book project is important in supporting the goals of the Office of DEI, because we have a community relations part,” Villalobos said, “and it is an avenue that really brings faculty, student, staff and the greater campus community to engage in the importance of dialogue and also explore the topics that impact us collectively in a way that is a part of supportive learning.”

Written by: Kaya Do-Khanh — campus@theaggie.org

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