Inquire. Reveal. Empower.
A colleague recently asked me if the Institute on Race and Ethnicity was about academic research, student scholarship, advocacy, public policy, or social change in Little Rock, the state, or on-campus, or what? My response was a resounding YES! Embedded in this personâ€™s innocent curiosity was a sophisticated articulation of the Instituteâ€™s charge and breadthâ€¦ essentially a multifaceted approach to a highly complex and nuanced issue.
The Instituteâ€™s birth and existence signify that there is hope on the horizon in bringing systemic change regarding the most central problem of our time: racism. Building upon the strengths and accomplishments achieved in its short life, the Institute is forging ahead with a refined focus on how it will pursue its work and prove added value. The Strategic Directions provide a general framework for how we will conduct business and fulfill our mission. It captures the scope of our strategic priorities in simplified terms and is intended for internal and external audiences.
Staying true to the original mission, the new vision statement will become both the driving force and hallmark for every activity the Institute undertakes. The guiding principlesare not a set of random statements but serve to undergird the ethos of the Instituteâ€™s activities. These principles speak to what IRE values and why what we seek to do is honorable, needed, and important. Similarly, our theory of change expresses the Instituteâ€™s understanding of the problem and suggested strategies by which it is to be resolved.
A branding effort will include a fresh look of our communications collateral and the launch of IREâ€™s new taglineâ€”Inquire. Reveal. Empower. The idea is to maximize multimedia in order to spread our message and grow our following. In doing so, stakeholders will hear from us more often and in a number of different ways.
On a practical level, the Strategic Directions is a call to action that invites others to be a part of the solution. We recognize that the vision can only come to fruition if there is broad-based community support and investment. Arkansas is uniquely positioned to lead the way in modeling the American ideals of freedom, justice and equality for ALL people. However, there must be some urgency to our collective efforts to develop and nurture a culture of racial harmony and mutual respect. Please join us!
Michael R. Twyman, Ph.D.
Director, UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity