A Queens CUNY recently partnered with a national organization to advance racial equality and social justice for its students and the community at large.
On Thursday, Oct. 14, Queensborough Community College announced that the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) selected it as a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center. QCC will be the only New York City-based college or university to host this multi-year initiative.
QCC will be responsible for educating, preparing and inspiring the next generation of leaders and flipping the narrative about race and the racial hierarchy in the country.
“We are honored to be selected for this highly competitive partnership and privileged to advance racial equity and social justice in our city,” Queensborough President Dr. Christine Mangino said. “It is our responsibility to find and lead solutions that change society’s attitudes, beliefs and actions. Racial healing occurs when we — all of us from all races and all social and economic backgrounds — work together to reject hate, build relationships and find strength and inspiration in our differences.”
AAC&U chose the participating institutions in a competitive process, with QCC being one of only 49 TRHT Centers in the nation and arguably one of the most diverse colleges in the country.
Out of 13,000 students, 26% are Black, 25% are Latinx, 31% are Asian or Pacific Islanders and 16% are white. Queensborough students come from over 117 countries and speak over 80 languages.
“As the most diverse and largest urban university in the U.S., CUNY is uniquely positioned to address the structural inequities and systemic racism that persist in our country and city. We salute Queensborough Community College and President Mangino for this important selection and are proud of their commitment to help our communities heal, produce actionable change and transform students’ lives by making their paths toward social mobility more accessible and equitable,” CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said.
QCC joins other educational institutions like Brown and Duke Universities, which have also partnered with AAC&U for this program, to address the historical and contemporary effects of racism, break down racialized practices and promote transformational and sustainable change.
Several QCC faculty members collaborated on the proposal to become a TRHT Campus Center, including Amaris Matos, executive adviser to the president for equity at Queensborough; Laura Cohen, director of the Kupferberg Holocaust Center; Amawati Gonesh, director of the Advocacy Resource Center; Mercedes Franco, mathematics department faculty and Danny Sexton, English department faculty.
“As part of this national network of campus centers, and at the intersection of our many identities here at Queensborough, we will support racial healing by addressing the biases and misbeliefs that lead to inequitable outcomes and experiences in our community,” Matos said.
According to AAC&U, its TRHT Campus Centers are funded by the Lumina Foundation, the Meyer Foundation, Trellis Foundation and Wiley Education Services, a division of Wiley.
“With divisions and distrust across and among racial and ethnic identities rising throughout our country, we felt as an institution of higher learning we must address the legacies and harm of racism and bias,” Matos added. “Queensborough’s strength is its diversity and as we educate ourselves, broaden the understanding of our lived experiences, and lead by example, we will help our community start to heal.”