The Multicultural Literacy and Leadership Initiative

We seek to build a collaborative effort among communities of color through a multicultural literacy and leadership initiative. Our principle goal is to build a foundation for coalition building that is based on inter-racial and inter-cultural dialogue, awareness, and understanding. This endeavor is premised on the notion that we cannot afford simply to assume that communities of color can transcend their differences.

OVERVIEW

Over the past several generations, the United States has become an increasingly multiracial and multicultural society. This fact has been celebrated by those who regard the increase in diversity as an indication of incremental progress towards a racially harmonious, colorblind society. However, neither the recent increase in numbers of people of color nor the formal equality protected by the civil rights legislation of the 1960s could ever, by themselves, eradicate the many patterns of inequality and discrimination that affect racial minorities. Concealed by the notion that racism no longer exists in American society, these injustices persist in many spheres of American life. Moreover, they serve to engender competition and antagonism within and between communities of color, for whom resources and political capital tend to be scarce. These antagonisms are exacerbated by a general lack of understanding across communities of color of the varied historically and culturally embedded experiences that constitute their self-definitions and inform their all-too-separate struggles for social justice.

We seek to build a collaborative effort among communities of color through a multicultural literacy and leadership initiative. Our principle goal is to build a foundation for coalition building that is based on inter-racial and inter-cultural dialogue, awareness, and understanding. This endeavor is premised on the notion that we cannot afford simply to assume that communities of color can transcend their differences. Nor can we afford to assume that our differences render dialogue impossible or undesirable, and that we ought to pursue our respective social justice goals separately. Our hope is that the development of a common understanding will promote the establishment of common ground from which we can fight the racial injustices that continue to plague our society. We seek, then, to build bridges between academics, grass roots activists, and policy makers across and within communities of color in order to develop and enhance multiracial literacy and leadership.

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