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Perspective: The packed days of summer


Diversity, equity, and inclusion work can be rough. There is always some crisis somewhere, something that reminds you that the work toward promoting a beloved community is not a one-and-done enterprise. Our days are just packed with revisions and recommendations, rejections and reprisals.

The gaslighting and distorted attacks from some corners of the community are part of the gig. Distorting ideas rooted in justice into messages of danger to beware is beyond frustrating, though. Like we want to steal something from people. I am also trepidatious of eruptions of intolerance, for the struggles of our trans, undocumented, and other marginalized friends are real out there. It takes a lot out of you, and we must remember to take care of our spirit with some R&R to replenish that sense of hope.

I started my summer in New Orleans at the National Conference on Race and Equity in Higher Education. Thousands of people dedicated to promoting justice and community gathered, holding one common principle, a profound respect for humanity. It was a beautiful gathering that recharged me, and my days were just packed with new knowledge, new friends, and a new sense of commitment. I know. It sounds like work, but trust, it was replenishing.

So, as I get ready to slide on my sandals to hang out on my back patio with a nice pint of something tasty, I’m looking at the cover of one of my favorite books, Calvin and Hobbes’ "The Days Are Just Packed," where they are drawn napping in a tree. Looks heavenly, and it makes me ask just what are my days packed with? Well, they’re packed with an ever-resilient sense of hope.

I’m Joe Flynn, and that is my perspective.

Joseph Flynn is the executive director for equity and inclusion in the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and an associate professor of curriculum and instruction.