WATCH | Empowering Change: An Evening of Conversation & Learning with Professors Bogues, Rose & Provost Locke

At this special event, leading Brown scholars illuminated their work and fielded questions from the alumni community about the persistence of racial inequality and the legacies of slavery.

Empowering Change graphic with headshots of Bogues, Rose, and LockeOn January 27, 2022 hundreds of Brunonians came together virtually for Empowering Change (see full recording below), which connected the work of two of Brown’s preeminent research centers with the historic events and issues our society is dealing with today. In a discussion moderated by Provost Locke, professors B. Anthony Bogues ADE'02 hon. and Tricia Rose AM'87 PhD'93, P'14 delved into the work of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA) and the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice (CSSJ)—and explored how they are helping to shift our societal narratives in the areas of anti-racism, racial equality, and social justice.

“Both our scholarly research as well as our public humanities work is really about finding ways—creating platforms—of critical interventions into the historical narratives which undergird our imaginers of our history and who we are as Americans,” said Bogues of the CSSJ. “What we hope to do by puncturing these historical narratives is to make a difference.” 

Professor Rose later commented: “It’s almost impossible for me to imagine a peaceful, just, multiracial democracy without an educated, open, critically engaged populace on the question of race.”

“ What is so wonderful about both of these centers—and I would hope about Brown in general—is a mission to connect the knowledge being generated to the great issues of our times. And making sure that it’s successful way beyond College Hill. ”

Provost Richard Locke

Critical questions, answered. 

Following a brief explanation about the work of the two centers, the professors spent the majority of the evening responding directly to questions from the audience on a range of topics such as: How can we turn “study” into “action”? What are appropriate reparations? Is critical race theory justified? And, what can we do—what levers can we pull to move these ideas forward?

In regards to bridging study and action, Professor Bogues remarked “Study and action are a false dichotomy. Study can be a form of action itself.” He went on to explain that the narrative of history becomes a part of the dominant ideas of society, so we can then think of alternative ideas.

And, addressing the desire to take action, Rose explained that anyone can help in any area they are interested in: “The power of systemic racism is not so much finding it in a location (Is it in wealth? Is it in education? Is it in jobs and employment? Criminal justice?) but the power in which these ways are connected to one another and that discriminatory, problematic forms of policy and practice reverberate across these areas to create something bigger and more difficult and more painful than one area could produce on its own…And the most important thing we can do is look for those connections…That’s the way I would encourage people to think about it. You could work on transportation, you could work on pollution and health discrepancies, you could work on unemployment, police profiling, education… It’s going to be about wanting to separate places so that the power of that driving force can be reduced.” 


Watch the full recording:

Empowering Change


Professors Bogues and Rose explore the complex issue of race in our society at this January 27 event presented by Brown’s Office of Alumni Relations.

Or see it in writing.

Read the transcript.


An inspiring experience for participants

Following the event, attendees remarked on the opportunity to head “back to the classroom” and learn more about Brown’s efforts to create change through scholarly research and open dialogue:

"Today there is much divisive speech about race, diversity, equity, and inclusion. It was refreshing to learn more about the work of these centers at Brown. I was particularly impressed with the emphasis on making the information available and accessible to many. ‘Education is the great equalizer.’ The way the centers reach out across generations is critical to race relations progress in America and the rest of the world."
—Harry Holt ’84, P’16

"WOW, the webinar on Empowering Change was wonderful and inspiring. And so timely. Thank you very very much. A program like this sure makes me realize how wonderful a Brown education is today, and how grateful I am that it was so wonderful back 57 years ago when I was lucky enough to first venture foot on campus."
—Jane Lean ’59

"This was an outstanding program tonight. I'm so glad I joined.”
—Cheryl Allen-Ricciardi ’07

“Outstanding program. Timely and important subject. Impressive professors and great questions from the audience.“
—David Prescott ’64

"I am so gratified to see the transformation that has occurred at the University since I attended there more than six decades ago. We were almost all white, middle, and upper-middle class. Casual racism, casual anti-Semitism, cruel remarks about a classmate with disabilities, assumptions about the rightness of male privilege…..what a world. What a better, better place it is now. And, yet, even then, I heard and learned so much to work against all that. Here’s one of my most vivid examples: a Black minister from the South spoke to a class I took, Christian Ethics, invited by our professor. He spoke about the beginnings of the civil rights struggles. Unforgettable. What a place, what gratitude I continue to feel."
—Jill Hirst Scobie ’58

Let’s keep the momentum going.

Interested in digging deeper? Here are a few ways you can continue to expand your knowledge on this critical topic:

  1. Attend more upcoming related events.
    Investigate the origins, histories, and enduring contemporary effects of racism in America with CSREA’s Race & In America Series (February 15, March 15, and April 19). And save the date for May 5-6, for the CSSJ’s upcoming University Reparations Conference (join the CSSJ’s newsletter list to learn more).
  2. Soak in more knowledge with past webinars and discussions. Find CSSJ and CSREA webinars on YouTube.
  3. Get the latest straight to your inbox.
    Sign up for the CSREA and CSSJ newsletters.
  4. Follow along on social.
    Find CSREA on Twitter or Facebook or CSSJ on Twitter or Facebook.
  5. Support the centers with a gift of treasure or time.
    Give to CSREA, give to CSSJ, or join the Friends of the CSSJ.

Empowering Change was presented by Brown’s Office of Alumni Relations in partnership with the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America and the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice.