February 1, 2023

Center for Race, Equity, and Identity

Dear Goucher Parents and Friends,

As we prepare to welcome our students back to campus, I would love to introduce the work of the Center for Race, Equity, and Identity. The Center for Race, Equity, and Identity (also known as CREI) seeks to foster an environment in which marginalized community members feel affirmed and comfortable exploring and expressing their identities. We strive to improve the institutional advancement of all marginalized students, specifically students of color, LGBTQIA+ students, and disabled students/students with disabilities. CREI aspires to be a community that understands and values different lived experiences as well as actively acknowledges, intervenes, and disrupts systems of power, privilege, and oppression on campus and beyond. We think of ourselves as a “home away from home” for our students, a place in which they can be authentically themselves, ask some hard questions, and develop skills to better care for themselves and their community.
Students who engage with the Center for Race, Equity, and Identity can access the following support:

  • Student and student-group advocacy, advising, and mentorship
  • Community-building programming
  • Educational outreach and DEI awareness campaigns
  • Partnerships with students and community partners to support Goucher’s social justice mission

Living up to our motto, “Learn, Advocate, Be,” the Center for Race, Equity, and Identity hosts various programs and initiatives that foster students’ understanding of their own identities and communities through self-exploration, self-reflection, and experience sharing. I would love to share a little more about two of our most popular initiatives: our Student-Led Affinity Spaces and the Gender Affirming Closet.
The CREI Affinity Spaces celebrate identity and create intentional space for connection, community, and joy. Affinity spaces “allow students who share an identity—usually a marginalized identity—to gather, talk in a safe space about issues related to that identity, and transfer that discussion into action that makes for a more equitable experience at school” (Bell, 2015). Held once a month on Tuesdays and Thursdays, CREI hosts one staff-led and six student-led affinity spaces that represent our diverse student body. Two of the CREI Affinity Spaces are #Black Joy for Black and/or African American students, including those who are biracial and multiracial/mixed, and Accommodate This! for disabled students/students with disabilities, including but not limited to those with physical disabilities, those who are blind or have low vision, those who are D/deaf or hard of hearing, those who are neurodivergent, and those with chronic illness.
Another celebrated Center for Race, Equity, and Identity initiative is the Gender Affirming Closet. CREI understands that access to clothing that affirms one’s gender identity and expression is a huge barrier for transgender, non-binary, agender, and gender non-conforming people. Many of these needed items are expensive, difficult, or even dangerous to access and can be an essential part of living one’s truth. The Gender Affirming Closet is a continually growing collection of donations created to give students free access to gender expression and gender-affirming items in a safe, welcoming environment. We are currently accepting donations, if they are clean and in good condition, of clothing, shoes, accessories, binders, shapewear, and undergarments, as well as new makeup. If you are interested in donating or supporting the Gender Affirming Closet in other ways, please email crei@goucher.edu.
After a time of rest and reflection, the Center for Race, Equity, and Identity is looking forward to connecting with students again for a rejuvenating Spring 2023 semester. I invite you to learn more about our services and student support efforts by visiting the Center for Race, Equity, and Identity website, following our Instagram page, or by emailing crei@goucher.edu.
Summer Rai Torres (she/her)
Assistant Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion