Antiracism Statement

The Center for Community Engagement affirms its commitment to fostering understanding of the historical structures that have created and maintained racial inequity locally and beyond.

We understand that racism is perpetuated through individual biases—both explicit and implicit—as well as social structures that systematize and reproduce it. Racism is a human construct and we believe that humans have the power to dismantle it; we strive to participate and engage others in that struggle toward liberation.

We acknowledge that a significant contributor to systemic racism in our culture is the tendency of influential organizations to address the social, economic, and political inequities that impact lives and generations of marginalized people without their direct input. We commit to lifting up the voices of historically excluded, racialized, and marginalized community members, students, staff, and faculty. We also aim to engage in shared decision-making practices that center the experiences and viewpoint of members of these communities.

This commitment includes the continued assessment of our internal practices and policies to ensure that how we do our work does not replicate, reinforce, or reproduce racial and other intersectional structural inequities. We will continue to assess and redevelop our policies, hiring and recruiting practices, and departmental cultural norms to make them anti-racist and create accountability structures that ensure that we hold ourselves accountable if ever we perpetuate inequities in our work or practices. We recognize that this is a journey of transformation and not a destination, and we welcome your input and support in this process.

We are committed to:

  • Challenging white supremacy ideologically, pedagogically, and institutionally.
  • Advocating for more equitable resource distribution inside and outside the University.
  • Collaborating with others within the University to advance anti-racism work in recognition of the larger social systems within which the University is situated that may propagate racist systems and structures.

We recognize that commitment to antiracism practice requires cultural humility, time, patience, and the support of University and community partners that are leading these efforts. We acknowledge that this commitment is ongoing and will work to ensure that we dedicate the time and resources to make antiracism practice a sustained part of the work that we do with our stakeholders every single day.

The Center for Community Engagement is following through on this commitment in the following past, present, and planned ways:


For years, the Center has incorporated racial equity in its work, such as the Urban Fellows program, Rochester Youth Year, and community-engaged learning. Our programmatic training and partnerships have manifested our commitment in various ways. More recently, our rebranding from the Rochester Center for Community Leadership to the Center for Community Engagement to take a stronger stance on our values. Our team has engaged in much discussion and internal reflection about anti-racist work and elected to have this work as a pillar of our departmental growth going forward. This statement is, in part, a reflection of that work and our efforts to challenge white supremacy in our work. The following steps have also recently been completed as a part of our ongoing efforts:

  • We will update our organizational identity and operational protocols to prioritize an anti-racist approach by:
    • Making anti-racist messaging and education a primary objective of our communication efforts.
    • Revising our recruitment practices to further address issues of racial justice and equity with the aim of diversifying our team.


Through our ongoing strategic planning process, we’ve identified the following actions that we aim to take in 2022.

  • We will build our departments collective capacity for anti-racist work by:
    • Identifying areas that require improvement.
    • Collaborating with outside organizations with expertise that we lack.
    • Building a timeline to address our own internal and institutional racism and determining a timeline for making changes.
    • Making our commitment to these changes public and accountable.

Moving into 2023 and beyond

The Center for Community Engagement will review our programs to ensure that everything we do is informed by an anti-racist approach by:

  • Partnering with other departments (on campus) and organizations (off campus) to develop, promote and deliver anti-racist programming that is relevant to our community.
  • Improving all established programs to ensure that they incorporate anti-racist concepts, content, partnerships, and activities.
  • Developing new programming to address any gaps that would prevent us from taking action to dismantle racist attitudes and policies in our local community and beyond.