"My dad is British, I am French, and my mom is from the West Indies so it can be hard to fit into a certain category. My artwork shows you don't have to be part of the category, you can be who you are, and that should be enough,” says Allison Skinner, ACC student and artist.
Skinner displayed two pieces of artwork, in hopes of sharing her narrative at Austin Community College’s National Day of Racial Healing celebration on Tuesday, January 21.
"In the art world, whenever you have models, it's kind of hard to find women of color or even males of color. I ended up using the same model over and over again but changed her skin tone. Being able to blend different cultures and bodies and meshing people together is a healing process for me too."
The event was part of a national campaign to bring individuals together to share experiences for truth-telling and trust-building to lead to racial healing.
"This event is a reflection of ACC's commitment to diversity, inclusion, and building relationships that lead to racial healing in the community," says Dr. Molly Beth Malcolm, ACC executive vice president of Campus Operations and Public Affairs. "Closing equity gaps requires all of us to work better together to explore opportunities for greater inclusion and equity.”
Organized by the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Center (TRHT), students, faculty, and community members got together to share poetry readings, dance and musical performances, and interactive art initiatives.
The event is supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation which hosted a national event at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, to inspire nationwide action toward unity and solidarity.
"Together, we will find a way to engage in this work and continue to make this a better place. Everyone is us. Every day it's our responsibility to make this a better community and a better world. It starts by doing this work, and the work continues as we remain engaged," says Khayree Williams, ACC’s TRHT director. “I want to make a challenge to the community: share how you were impacted to someone else and continue the hard work to promote racial equity, diversity, and inclusion.”
ACC is one of the ten national institutions selected to serve as a TRHT. Williams was named the college’s first director of the TRHT in December. He joined the college January 6.
The Campus Center will focus on eliminating system-inflicted trauma and harmful impacts on the community. The goal is to build cross-racial relationships that lead to racial healing and an exploration of ways to transform while creating narratives that can influence people's perspectives, perceptions, and behaviors about and toward one another.
Works of art by students, faculty, and community members will remain on display in Building 4000 through February. The college also will host a series of Racial Healing Circles on Friday, January 24.
Racial Healing Circles
Cypress Creek Campus, Room 1108 | 9 a.m. - Noon
South Austin Campus, Room 1130 | 1 - 4 p.m.
Riverside Campus, Building G, Room 9114 | 1 - 4 p.m.
Registration is not required but is encouraged. To register, visit https://forms.gle/azKrcRiWUpM4CmDh9.