AWARE Week Events Open With Reception

Actively Working Against Racism and Ethnocentrism (AWARE) Week opens today, kicking off a series of speeches and panel discussions aimed at addressing concerns about race relations.

The annual event, sponsored by the Office of Race Relations and Minority Affairs, was first launched five years ago to raise racial awareness and to address national and campus race relations issues. This year's theme will be "Colleges: Windmills of Change for an Evolving Society."

Scheduled events include a town meeting for first-years titled "Propelling the Winds for a Multicultural Campus," a discussion on diversity in the workplace, a joint Office of Race Relations and Harvard Foundation panel on the importance of campus race relations, and closing addresses by recent College alumni.

"[AWARE Week] is a proactive educational effort for the community to come together and discuss race relations regardless of the visible climate of race relations issues on campus," Dean of Race Relations Hilda Hernandez-Gravelle said.

Alvin L. Bragg Jr. '95, moderator for the first-year discussion panel, said his event will focus on first-years and their changing views on race relations.

Hernandez-Gravelle said the town meeting is a new AWARE week event and is unique because administrators will be present at the discussion but will have no major role in the panel.

"I'm hoping that the panel will give people the chance to reflect on an important issue in a more personal way," Bragg said. "Discussion [about race relations] is usually policy-oriented and this is a way to bring it back to a personal level."

Events were organized by more than a dozen students on the AWARE Week Planning Committee and Hernandez-Gravelle. In addition to the week-long event, the committee organizes educational forums throughout the year.

In the past, AWARE 's speakers have included Alex Rodriguez, chair of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and Irene Natividad, past president of the National Women's Political Caucus.

Events begin today at 5 p.m. with a reception at the Faculty Club and entertainment by Imani, a student a cappella group.

Dr. J. Penny Saffold, dean of student affairs at San Francisco State University, will deliver the keynote address titled "Infiltration: Planned Action for Change.