WRJI offers both compassion and solidarity to all those Alums of color who are experiencing, in addition to the everyday struggle of racism in America, a relentless onslaught of hatred, mistreatment , murder and injustice. We recognize that vigilance is exhausting and trust is dwindling. We are committed to amplifying and activating anti-racism work in many forms, and invite all Alums to join us.
We speak their names...
Please see our YouTube Channel to be informed and inspired by engaging interviews with WRJI leaders Hollee Mangrum, '04, President of the Chicago Wellesley Club, and Tyree Oredein, DrPH, '98, owner of Left Turn Village LLC. You will also find a short video with powerful testimonials by Wellesley alum activists explaining their commitment to WRJI.
Offered monthly, the Opening Conversation About Race, created by WRJI and facilitated by trained professionals, provides a brave and supported space for self-reflection and learning with other Wellesley Alums.
Anti-racism is a lifelong journey: this is an invitation to begin or to re-ignite your anti-racism work. Whether you are a BIPOC or a white Alum, we welcome your participation - to enter the dialogue, to advance your learning process, to form community, to enhance the struggle for racial justice. Then try a Next-Step Program to continue your journey.
A Next-Step Program, created and led by Fiona Oliphant, '93.
Back by popular demand!
Intended for Alums to become more familiar with what it means to be an ally. We will explore in depth the most effective ways to offer support, to intervene, to plan and execute action with and in solidarity with BIPOC folx. Through presentation and discussion, white alums will have the opportunity to challenge themselves: what are you willing to give, and give up, to dismantle white supremacy? BIPOC are invited to grow stronger allyship with one another.
A NEW! Next-Step Program, created and led by Tyree Oredein, '98.
While we shared Wellesley College, people of color often experience our alma mater in vastly different ways than their white classmates. Even in “women-centered spaces," white people can, intentionally or unintentionally, marginalize, dismiss and harm Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). In this workshop, we will discuss the intersections of race and gender, the resulting distribution of power and privilege, and how it impacts the dynamic within the Wellesley community.
Join other Wellesley Alums each month to discuss an explosion of books being published on the history and experiences of racism. Professionally led by avid reader and skilled facilitator, Fiona Oliphant, '93, third Sunday of every month. Deepen your understanding of the power of racism in America, its roots, prevalence, and ways to fight it - receiving professional guidance for your racial justice work. Each month we will explore themes and learn from one another's viewpoints. We recommend but do not require, that participants join a WRJI Opening Conversation, especially if you have not previously participated in frank conversations about racism and its impact on BIPOC.
Have you missed out on important movie experiences - or watched them and wished for a place to discuss and look more deeply into their messages? WRJI Movie Nights are designed to provide Wellesley Alums with a brave and supportive space to do just that. We will watch the selected movie together on Zoom (some humorous, some serious; some documentary, some fiction), then discuss its themes and portrayals for an hour. Anyone who has recently seen the film is welcome to join us for the discussion only, in the final hour. We recommend but do not require, that participants join a WRJI Opening Conversation, if you have not previously participated in race-focused conversations.
The WAAT program is an intensive study group, developed by a group of WRJI leaders over a 2-year period of intensive study and facilitated by them. WAAT consists of seven 3-hour sessions, scheduled 2 weeks apart, with reading and writing assignments in between. WAAT "graduates" develop a personal anti-racism action plan, identifying ways in which they can impact racial justice and continue their own journey.
WAAT is intended for those who have participated in the Opening Conversation or another anti-racism experience. Interested alums will be contacted as future cohorts are formed.
The mission of the WRJI is to actively promote racial justice in our national culture and practice, as well as the wider world community, advancing inclusion and eliminating systemic, institutional and internalized racism. We strive for four key goals: to educate, to amplify, to activate,
and to transform.
Our leaders are passionate about doing anti-racism work ourselves - together, in our families and communities, at work and in our own hearts. We move forward and back - taking on pieces of work as our busy lives permit, supported by one another, and our Executive Coordinator.
WRJI was born at Reunion 2017, when a small group raised the imperative to combat racism. We grew slowly for 3 years. In May of 2020, when the gruesome murder George Floyd amplified long-standing cries for anti-racism, Wellesley alums turned to WRJI; hundreds have participated in online programs since June 2020.
WRJI is led by Michele Leonard, '77. One of the founders of WRJI and a Class Co-President, Michele brings unwavering passion and commitment, along with years of organizational experience, anti-racism activism. She employs a steady, gentle leadership style to keep volunteers on course and mission-focused.