In the spring of 2020, Koerner director Gary L. Haller suggested that the Koerner Center and its members expand its purview to address issues of racism and social injustice. To support this initiative an advisory committee was assembled to develop a program for the Koerner fellowship.
The mission of the committee is two-fold and syncretic. It seeks to deploy the center’s reputation and abilities to generate substantive steps to promote racial justice. Our community and our committee seek a deeper understanding of the histories and structures that have led to, and maintain, racial inequalities in our society. As a first programmatic step, the center will host a series of conversations/talks with speakers invited from within our own community and university. In addition, there will be a monthly book discussion and a film series. A center website will contain pertinent essays, articles, and podcasts. Information and suggestions gleaned from these “Deep Listening” encounters will be used to guide the committee in subsequent advocacy. As a second step forward, the committee expects that these activities will result in identification of those areas in which the center’s influence and actions can best be exerted to promote change. It hopes that this initiative will interest and involve the whole community while challenging the ethical and political will of all.
On January 21, 2021, the advocacy committee met with the Yale Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate to report on its progress, with the goal of soliciting faculty support and assistance for its advocacy. To read the transcript of their presentation, click here. FAS Senate members interested in collaborating with the Koerner Advocacy Committee should send an email to the Center’s Executive Director, Jenna-Claire Kemper.