The OWCA has released a statement on our commitment to anti-racism. This statement is the beginning of our work. OWCA commits to the following initial action items as part of working toward anti-racism.
Provide Memberships at No Charge
Any student or professional who identifies as a person of color can receive a 3-year membership (including conference registration) to the OWCA at no charge. In addition, individuals who work at a Minority Serving Institution (MSI), Historically Black College or University (HBCU), Tribal College or University (TCU), Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), or Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AAPISI) can receive a 3-year institutional membership for up to 50 people from their institution at no charge.
Teach Anti-Racist Writing Center Work
The OWCA Virtual Events Committee will continue to host virtual events on anti-racism that are open access. Event organizers will make sure that these events discuss practice (in addition to theory) and have clear takeaways for students and professionals. The OWCA will also continue to hire accessibility services, such as sign language interpreters, that are owned and provided by minorities.
If you would like to host an event on anti-racism or have ideas for an event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Revise the OWCA Diversity Committee
The original OWCA bylaws allowed for the creation of a permanent Diversity Committee. OWCA acknowledges that the name and focus of this committee is vague, hollow, and limited in scope as an internal service committee. Committee members are working to rename the committee and reorient its focus towards greater diversity and social justice within the larger writing center community in addition to the OWCA.
If you’d like to join this committee or have suggestions for its future direction, please email email@example.com.
Revise Bylaws for Anti-Racism
The Executive Board has already begun discussing revisions to the OWCA bylaws, including increasing the number of positions on the Executive Board, incorporating mentoring for new Board members, and better distributing labor. Over the next few months, the Diversity Committee will work to evaluate the OWCA bylaws for racist and discriminatory norms. Part of this process will involve evaluating other organizational structures, including the recruitment and election processes for the Executive Board.
If you’d like to assist with this work, on a short-term or long-term basis, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Release Public Reports
The OWCA recognizes that not collecting demographic information about our members can erase or ignore their identities and make it impossible to hold this association accountable for inclusivity and equity. At the same time, we understand that identities can change over time and that members may not want personal demographic information to be tied to their member accounts.
Thus, the OWCA will begin distributing an anonymous and optional demographic questionnaire yearly to our members, beginning in October 2021. We will publicly release a report at the end of each calendar year that shares the demographics of our membership, in addition to our budget and events/actions from the previous year. We hope this report makes it easier for our members and the larger writing center community to hold the OWCA accountable for its actions and priorities.
How You Can Help
Here are some ways you can get involved:
- Read our statement on anti-racism and share this statement with your colleagues.
- Give us feedback on this statement and our initial action items.
- Host a virtual event on anti-racism or suggest a presenter you’d like to learn from by emailing email@example.com.
- Complete our yearly demographic questionnaire in October, if you are an OWCA member.
- Become a member of the OWCA.
- Join an OWCA committee that interests you. We have committees on diversity, accessibility, virtual events, mentoring and resources, grants and fundraising, liasoning with other associations, and our yearly conference.
- Apply to serve on the Executive Board when we distribute our call for applications in September 2021. We will have an open position for a conference chair as well as several new positions.