For seven years, between 2008 and 2015, I served as an administrator at the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers University. During that time, I had the opportunity to work with some truly fantastic people, both from within the academic world and those we invited to come and engage with us. I also had the honor of leveraging my skills to help found other academic endeavors – new collegial groups in History, Art History, interdisciplinary seminars, new Centers – but one of the most significant experiences I had was helping to found the Rutgers English Diversity Institute. You can read more about REDI here:

That experience – and at the time, I didn’t have a framework to help me define it – informed an exploration of my own internal biases and preconceptions, and allowed me to both listen and engage in informal, friendly discussions with faculty and participants around anti-racism, gender identity, and the impact of actions that later would gain the term microaggressions. I am grateful for the experience.

TCVA is located in a diverse set of communities and serves a full gamut of different people, each a specific individual who has evolved (or is evolving) their own specific identity from an endless combination of racial, economic, social, ideological, cultural, and gender backgrounds. It is delightful, and challenging, and rewarding, and sometimes fraught with missteps and pitfalls, to remain open to all of the humans we encounter. But, that is also part of TCVA’s purpose. To paraphrase our own mission statement – Every person is entitled to access and engage with their own artistic expression.

That is what we hope for and strive to make real.