Logan Williams, now a senior social work student, understands the importance of advocating for the change he wants to see, especially when it comes to race and racism. As part of a social work class, he participated in Voices of Discovery, a program that brings students from different backgrounds together to have discussions about the importance of diversity and listening to people whose experiences are different from their own. It wasn’t long before Williams, who identifies as Black, emerged as a leader in these discussions, taking the initiative to share his own lived experiences first. “What I started to notice was that there were very few people who would speak about their experiences…somebody has to break the ice. I think it’s important to have those conversations and if nobody starts one then there won’t be one.”
Williams’ professors noticed his passion and approached him last year about facilitating an All School Action Forum for the School of Social Work in response to the Black Homecoming Committee protests. Williams said he was nervous because, while he had participated in discussions on race, he had never filled the facilitator role before. However, he knew this was an important topic that needed attention. “I can be a part of the cause now…to help push the community in a direction I wanted to see it go, instead of just sitting back and wishing that it was different.”
That initial Action Forum facilitated by Williams has now led to the formation of a committee in the President’s Office that aims to expand the forum’s reach beyond the School of Social Work. According to Williams, who is an assistant for the program, their goal is to eventually hold a forum for each college on campus. He’s hopeful that these discussions will lead departments and colleges at Illinois State University to look inwards at what they can do to make their programs more inclusive and equitable for all students. Williams, who is also a Resident Assistant this year, is excited about his expanding platform to reach more students and faculty on campus. “We have to reach a solution because staying in the place we are right now where people don’t feel heard…that’s not okay. I want to work so that everybody can feel how I know that people deserve to feel.”
The Multicultural Outreach Team (MCOT), a part of Student Counseling Services whose mission is to foster a healthy, diverse, and equitable university community for underrepresented students, is seeking nominations for a new program in which we spotlight the achievements of diverse students on campus in a news story on our social media. If you know of a student who deserves to be featured, please submit a form online.