Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an escapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly." -Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
The center exists to cultivate beloved community and is rooted in self-love, intercultural comradery, and social justice engagement.
The cultivation of beloved community requires whole-self presence and whole-hearted active participation in creating inclusive attitudes and environments. As members of this community we are deeply committed to working together towards equity, justice, and belonging for ALL and to honoring the differences we discover in ourselves and each other along the way. Moreover, we are committed to the disruption of dominant narratives that reinforce structural inequalities and the exploration of more loving and just alternatives.
In an effort to create a warm, supportive and vibrant home for community members from marginalized locations and their allies, the center is designated for anti-oppression oriented activities and critical consciousness-raising, and any group wishing to use this space must use it for such purposes.
The center is home to a social justice-oriented branch of the Allen Ginsburg Library and the many events, groups, and offerings of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion such as
Rather than deeming the Center a "safe space," we rely on the framework articulated by Arao and Clemens (2013) and regard the Center to be a brave space. So often safety is conflated with comfort and the very concept can be used to reify they dynamics of privilege and oppression. Instead, we agree with the authors that we "have a responsibility to foster a learning environment that supports…the challenging work of authentic engagement with regard to issues of identity, oppression, power and privilege" and that this work "requires…risk, difficulty, controversy" which can be seen as "incompatible with safety" (p. 138-9). Moreover, we want the Center to be a place that inspires community members to be brave, to venture beyond the confines of their comfort zones, and to show up willing to "[participate] fully and truthfully" (139). To that end we have established the following Ground Rules for the Center in hopes that community members will risk holding each other accountable for creating and maintaining an ever-more-inclusive environment.
In short: In integrity with Naropa's commitment to diversity and founding vision to create a welcoming environment, the "Cultural Identity Center" provides a much needed safe haven for community members with marginalized identities and their allies. Visibly located and accessible, the Center is a warm and inclusive environment which fosters self-love, intercultural comradery, and community engagement.