GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Unlearning biases and promoting anti-racism is the goal of Calvin University’s “Unlearn 365.” Monday night, a documentary screening about Juneteenth wrapped up at Calvin’s Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium that brought out nearly 75 attendees.
Unlearn 365 is a weeklong initiative that is educating students with diverse forms of media on unlearning racial biases and promoting anti-racism through a lens of the Christian faith.
“It’s really important to think about stories, conversations and ideas that people might not have thought about before that are related to justice and related to how people have experienced their lives,” said Jane Bruin, the Director of the Center for Intercultural Student Development.
Calvin U is fighting discrimination and bias by creating the next set of leaders who are unlearning racism and promoting biblical anti-racist society. Unlearn 365 week is the start for Calvin year-round program series: UNLEARN 365.
What is anti-racism?
“Anti-racism is the active measure of standing against racism or racist policies and ideas, anything that has to do with the degradation of people when it comes to oppression of race and ethnic groups,” said Bruin.
Unlearn 365 is going on its 24th year. Students are supported with media including movies, roundtable discussions, and book clubs on diversity.
“It’s important today in the world we live in to learn in a way that makes us good leaders that can work in any space and helps us to function in a way that fights for justice and that seeks reconciliation,” said Bruin.
This year, extreme violence in the Middle East with the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis brings diversity, equity, and inclusion education into a focus globally. Calvin is already in the conversation.
“Calvin’s motto is to think deeply, justly and to live wholeheartedly as Christ agents of renewal in the world. When we think of something that is so deeply complicated like the Middle East, it’s really important to listen to all the stories and all the people that are involved and to really hear what is happening,” Bruin said.
Tonight students listened, watched and discussed a documentary about the liberation of American slaves called “Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom” by Rasool Berry.
“Juneteenth isn’t just about the past, but it’s about the present as well. And the opportunity to look into the past and delve into the story of slavery, which is a difficult conversation and a difficult history for many in our country,” said Berry.
He said learning about the impacts of American slavery and the liberation of millions of people is necessary to create a better future for all.
“Using it as a way to bring dialogue together which is why it’s such a great fit to the Unlearn week here at Calvin,” said Berry.