What is Spectrum?

Spectrum is our commitment to supporting the development of a fully engaged chemistry community at Emory University. Spectrum provides a framework to advertise and develop programming that responds directly to emerging needs in our community. In particular, Spectrum seeks to facilitate communication that leads to the development of a robust anti-racist perspective in our policy and practice in chemistry. This includes understanding the history exclusion in the academy and addressing the needs and contributions of scholars historically excluded from STEM disciplines.

What is full engagement?

The difference between “full engagement” and “diversity and inclusion” is that “inclusion” suggests a dominant culture as a “gatekeeper” to participation. A fully engaged community makes room for everyone to bring their experiences to the table, encouraging genuine investment in a network of relationships that confront and dismantle structural bias.

How do we get there?

Full engagement requires us to create belonging for every member of our community. In the Spectrum Kick-Off presentation, we looked to bell hooks description of a “homeplace” as a site of belonging.

One’s homeplace was the site one could freely confront the issue of humanization… Black women resisted by making homes where all black people could strive to be subjects, not objects, where we could be affirmed in our minds and hearts despite poverty, hardship, and deprivation, where we could restore to ourselves the dignity denied us.

bell hooks (1990), Yearning: Race, Gender and Cultural Politics, p. 42

A homeplace provides affirmation, dignity, and security – belonging. Making chemistry a “homeplace” does not mean that our community should replace other sites and ways of belonging. However, belonging in our chemistry space is necessary for individuals to thrive as part of a diverse, fully engaged community.

How can I get involved?

Learning, unlearning, listening, and acting together to build a more fully inclusive community is an ongoing process. None of us are experts on every aspect of this journey, but we all must be participants. We are creating Spectrum as we go along – and you are invited to join us!

Explore Spectrum Projects

Spectrum is a project of the Emory University Department of Chemistry. If you would like to get in touch with a member of the Spectrum team, contact Kira Walsh, manager, communications and outreach. Our logo was designed by lisavideointro.

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