Welcome to our shiny new website. My hope is that we have a robust and clear set of pages that include whatever we can come up with. Soon, I hope that we have our yearly mission statement, set of meeting practices, agendas, bibliographies of books that we like, lists of movies we wanna recommend, music we like, joint statements of support with other groups, pictures, and creative writing.

This is a WordPress site, and that partly means that it’s geared towards blog-type posts. I think this “post” feature would be useful for us to post commentaries on whatever we want that we’re okay with slowly being pushed down the page. One way to use these is to post about meetings that some of us have so that we keep a record of where our ideas, initiatives, and creations come from. People of color have long had to deal with the violent destruction of their history, be it their art, books, language, land, and bodies. Every thing we save and inscribe somewhere is a push back against the amnesia we are subjected to endlessly.

I had a nice conversation with Lola Loustanou earlier today. I came by her office and we talked about our own ideas for the caucus. Lola’s hope is to release a statement by next week. She’s also meeting with the VP of Equity, Michelle Dreiling, tomorrow. I met with the Survivor Support caucus yesterday in their first meeting of the term.

I have a meaningful relationship with the Survivor Support caucus, which used to be named the T.R.U.S.T. caucus (Teachers and Researchers Uplifting Survivors Together). In fall 2018, I found a mix of previous support caucus members and new people who were interested in working to improve the conditions that we work in. I was our union’s grievance officer at the time, and was specifically invested in finding a way to support graduate students who had revealed their ongoing horrifying working conditions. That fall, we worked together to draft contract language to bring to the table and bargain with the university to incorporate, as our contract was due to be re-negotiated in November.

The caucus meeting was wonderful. The support caucus, currently chaired by Emily Beecher in Sociology, is consistently a warm and welcoming space that is oriented towards supporting one another. Emily focused on opening up spaces for us to discuss our feelings about the contract negotiation cycle as it drew to a close, and also invited everyone to speak about what they want to see come out of the caucus this academic year (AY). I had to take off early, but I left feeling like the caucus was full of members ready to work on good ideas. I look forward to working in collaboration with them.

-Ricardo Friaz

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