Oregonians at 2022 NW Regional Equity Conference

By | March 7, 2022

Oregon community college and university representatives attended the 2022 NW Regional Equity Conference. This conference aims to improve equitable, sustainable experiences and outcomes for systemically marginalized and underrepresented populations through inclusive and anti-racist strategies.

This professional development opportunity was supported by funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Conference Takeaways

Here are some of the takeaways that Oregon attendees are thinking about after the event.

Connection, healing, humanity. – Anonymous

No matter where you are on the Equity-Privilege spectrum, your voice, energy and effort are needed. – Leigh Hancock, Columbia Gorge Community College

Equity is a journey and a practice, not a destination you can reach and inhabit. There are lots of folks on this road together and recognizing that you are with others on a journey helps. – Anonymous

I got a lot of practical ideas about how to incorporate activities that promote into the classroom setting. – Alicia Ibaraki, Western Oregon University

That there is a community of educators that are committed to doing this work at every level. This rejuvenated me! – Anonymous

Over the past two years, many of us have been doing a lot of learning and unlearning. Although there is still more learning and unlearning to be done, we need to use what we have learned and start taking action. It’s time to let go of control, create brave spaces, engage in uncomfortable conversations, and work for change in our schools, communities and beyond. – Anonymous

I thought a lot about the emotional work necessary for equity work, and how one has to be both in tune with and willing to work on one’s emotional responses in order to be a good ally. This is definitely something I will be attending to in the ways that I incorporate equity practices in my work life. – Anonymous

I learned so much that it’s hard to distill into a couple of sentences. One key strategy I’ll take into my future work is to set DEI goals that are: specific, meaningful, impactful and may take a risk (getting outside my comfort zone). The conference also reinforced several things that I as a white person recommit to, including: listening to understand rather than respond; holding myself accountable; using my power and privilege to make change; and always seeking to learn more. – Anonymous

Surprisingly, my main takeaway had less to do with the content, and more to do with observing the meeting practices that were being modeled at this conference. Many meetings started with breathing exercises, stretching, taking time to focus and become present in the meeting. One presenter was very intentional about allowing the ASL interpreter to catch up with them and spelling out names. One meeting had several break out sessions with just two people per room, and started with a reflective question that helped us get to know each other and open up to talk with each other about more difficult topics. Very helpful! – Michelle Batchelor, Western Oregon University

The conference re-energized my passion in teaching social justice, deepened my empathy and inspired vision for the future! – Anonymous