University of California, Irvine Launches the Black Thriving Initiative

The new Black Thriving Initiative at the University of California, Irvine aims to mobilize the whole university to promote Black student success, degree completion, and advancement in academic programs, with a goal of making the university a first choice for Black students. Key priorities for the initiative are: promoting accountability for anti-Blackness through understanding; leveraging the research mission to advance understanding of the Black experience and drivers of well-being; and engage Black communities by linking the university’s future as a public research university to the success of Black people.

The Black Thriving Initiative’s outward-facing platform is to engage with Black communities by linking the future of UCI to the success of Black people. This longer-term strategy involves fortifying relationships with Black organizations, working with Black alumni, elevating awareness of UCI’s commitment to a thriving culture throughout the state and across the country, and investing in student success and honoring faculty.

“The Black Thriving Initiative is UCI’s response to a national imperative,” said Douglas Haynes, vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion. “The unrest that we are witnessing across the country is about the persistence of systemic oppression and exclusion from educational opportunity, participation in the economy, access to healthcare and other areas essential to social justice and human well-being. As a great public research university, UCI is uniquely positioned to set an example for institutional transformation. Our Black Thriving Initiative not only builds on the enduring campus commitment to inclusive excellence but also specifically addresses anti-Blackness as a precondition to building and sustaining a thriving culture for Black people.”

“In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we mobilized a whole-university response; every corner of the campus did its part and made a contribution. We knew we were all in it together,” added Chancellor Howard Gillman. “Confronting anti-Blackness, systemic racism and long-standing systems of exclusion and oppression also demands a whole-university response, where we all take responsibility for creating a more free and just society.”

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