NEWS | October 1, 2021 | By Lily Weaver | Photo by Tamar Crump
Colorado College’s ultimate mission is to provide the finest liberal arts education in the country. To achieve this goal, it is imperative that the school strives for an environment that does not foster negative experiences or outcomes based on race.
According to CC’s Antiracism Implementation Plan, students will be better prepared to make positive change in the world if antiracism remains at the forefront of teaching, learning, and student life.
The Antiracism Implementation Plan acknowledges that the school may never achieve its goal of becoming an antiracist campus, but they will not stop working to get closer to this mission. The plan, created in 2019, outlines the following seven goals:
- Make diversity, equity, and inclusion central to college leadership.
- Establish antiracism, equity, and inclusion as foundational to our community expectations.
- Invest in student antiracism resources and efforts.
- Support and engage all faculty and staff in antiracism work.
- Make antiracism a central value in CC’s academic and co-curricular programs.
- Increase compositional diversity of CC community.
- Make antiracism central to CC’s communication.
These goals are a starting point for combating racism on CC’s campus, but action and execution are equally, if not more, important.
The Catalyst spoke to Denise Geronimo ’24 to gain insight on what actions students are taking to ensure Colorado College has an equitable and inclusive environment for all members of the community.
Geronimo is a member of The Collective for Antiracism and Liberation (CAL), a student-led group of Colorado College students, staff, and alumni dedicated to antiracism and liberation. The group was formed during the summer of 2020 in response to nationwide police brutality and racism that sparked Black Lives Matter protests around the world.
The “main aims” of CAL, according to their mission statement, are the “abolition of racism and classist carceral systems, the liberation of all oppressed peoples, and the creation of safe communities.”
When asked her opinion on CC’s progress regarding antiracism efforts this year Geronimo said, “After an entire school year of COVID, the Collective for Antiracism and Liberation is excited to be active on campus with the entire student body.”
Last year, there was no in-person engagement with CAL due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Zoom really took a toll on engagement because it was hard to find ways to engage with the Colorado Springs community and motivate people to show up to antiracist awareness meetings and online events,” Geronimo said.
CAL has clear goals for the upcoming year to put antiracist rhetoric into action.
“We hope to gain more activity and provide a supportive role for various antiracist initiatives and student-led events.” Geronimo said. “Right now, CAL is planning on working with Prison Project, which is a club that focuses on abolishing the prison industrial complex throughout the country and within the state of Colorado. We are going to spend the semester building up participation alongside the Prison Project, and we hope to collaborate with community action partners, such as the abolitionist group Black&Pink and a halfway house for ex-convicts. By the end of the year, we hope to be supporting multiple youth-led groups that focus on antiracist efforts.”
Colorado College’s administrative efforts regarding antiracism are vital, but without student-led engagement in this area, it will be difficult to make impactful change. Groups such as CAL are already taking these steps and, “are ready to hit the ground running and make up for lost time this year,” Geronimo said.