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Coming Home: Our Multiracial Identities, Kinship, and Racial Justice Work

Index #1004

Level of Experience: Intermediate
Session Track: Race and Social Justice in Higher Education

On the margins of the discourse on race and racism in higher education theory and practice. With such positioning, multiracial people may have difficulty navigating racial justice movements and understanding what roles can be played in racial justice work. This session is framed around the belief that our ability to show up as biracial/multiracial/mixed people within racial justice work is predicated on us doing our own work. Therefore, this session is designed as a space to allow multiracial people opportunities to understand current theory and practice while building connections through the sharing of stories. It is a space to learn contemporary frameworks and come together in conversation to understand our own and shared identities toward being about to show up more fully and intentionally for racial justice work, especially in the face of persistent and pervasive anti-Black racism. We believe community building is key to supporting not only students, but also staff, faculty, and other constituents to develop a sense of belonging, which is an important foundation for successful outcomes. This two-part institute should particularly benefit educators from all backgrounds and expertise levels who are able to connect-in with multiraciality and/or mixedness (across a wide range of racial and ethnic identities, including those who may be transracially adopted). 


After briefly reviewing contemporary frameworks on multiraciality to develop a shared sense of language, we will focus our efforts on better understanding the contexts shaping and complicating our identities and experiences. This is the starting point of a larger conversation surrounding how we can "come home" through kinship building. The second part will focus on engaging participants using interactive activities to share stories about belonging and not belonging, and develop tools to more fully and appropriately engage in racial justice work. Throughout the institute, contradictions in the popular discourse about multiraciality and recent controversies will be presented for participants to engage in critical thinking about their own potential biases (i.e., self-work) as well as how to educate others toward developing further solidarities that include multiracial perspectives. 

Overall, participants of this institute will:

  • Engage in deep exploration of our identities related to multiraciality and mixedness;
  • Develop tools for building multiracial community in solidarity with racial justice movements; and
  • Apply lessons learned from dialogue toward more fully showing up in racial justice work.

Presenters: 

Marc Johnston-Guerrero, PhD, Associate Professor, Educational Studies, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Sabrina Kwist, EdD, Dean of Equity & Inclusion, Los Medanos College, Pittsburg, CA

Charlene Martinez, MEd, Associate Director of Student Experiences & Engagement, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

Jenn Wells, MA, Director of Equity & Inclusion, Marlborough School, Los Angeles, CA