AARS Urgency of Now Initiative

October 1, 2020

Dear Rhodes Scholar,
 
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, we have convened a task force of Association of American Rhodes Scholars (AARS) board members and scholars to address systemic racism. We are using the title ‘Urgency of Now’, a term Martin Luther King used in his I Have A Dream speech, as it is at once inspiring and apt:
 
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
 
Over the past couple of months, and into the foreseeable future, this task force is focused on two broad goals: enacting change (locally and globally) and educating the AARS community. In other words, enacting change within our community and inspiring our fellow Rhodes to be agents of change.
 
Regarding the latter, the task force is organizing a series of virtual talks with leaders, authors, and academics who can help offer insight on the subject of systemic racism and how to address it. To kick off the series is a live interview with Maxine Williams (Commonwealth Caribbean & St. Catherine’s, 1992), the Global Chief Diversity Officer at Facebook on September 3rd at 6pm EST. We sincerely hope you will join what promises to be a timely and informative event. To sign up please register at this link: https://rhodestrust.cmail20.com/t/r-l-jkklyhht-uihdthhhkt-j/
 
Future talks will feature Randy Kennedy, Eric Foner, Kurt Schmoke, Leana Wen, Sherrylin Iffill, and others. Stay tuned! 
 
In addition to events, the task force is drafting an advocacy agenda with goals such as improving representation of black and POC on the AARS Board of Directors as well as increasing the pipeline and success of diverse applicants through an Ambassador’s program that conducts outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
 
We welcome your assistance and participation. If you would like to learn more, please reach out to any of the members listed below.
 
Kind regards,
 
The AARS Urgency of Now Task Force
James Basker* (Oregon and Christ Church ’76)
Donald "Field" Brown (Mississippi and Christ Church 2014)
Hazim Hardeman (Pennsylvania and St John's 2018)
George Keys (Maryland/DC and Balliol ’70)
Nnenna Lynch*, Chair (New York and St John’s ‘93)
Anea Moore (Pennsylvania and Green Templeton 2019)
Ashley Orr* (Ohio and St John's 2016)
Emmy Probasco* (Maryland/DC and Wolfson 2002)
Jessica Wamala (New Hampshire and Balliol 2014)