Race, Equity and Justice

Advancing Inclusivity and Anti-Racism

The UW Alumni Association is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and to advancing understanding and actions that are actively anti-racist.

The UWAA’s mission to advance higher education and support the UW is grounded in the premise that an organized community of nearly 500,000 graduates is a force for extraordinary change. Our objective is to lead substantial change to engage marginalized alums and amplify Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) voices.

Looking for ways to make a difference? Visit our online resources page for events, resources and stories to keep you informed and engaged.

Our commitments

  • Engagement of BIPOC alumni and friends
    • Authentically listen to BIPOC alumni; co-design new engagement initiatives; strengthen mutually beneficial bridges between BIPOC alumni and current BIPOC students
    • Hire a new director-level engagement leader; critically assess and align UWAA programs and services with this renewed focus on equity and inclusion
  • Resources and Education
    • Identify and present diversity, equity and inclusion programs, resources, and services for UW alumni and friends
    • Expand virtual and online resources; create inclusive spaces for dialogue and learning
  • Advocacy and Civic Engagement  
    • Increase UWAA and UW Impact engagement in equity and justice issues in higher education
    • Increase BIPOC alumni engagement and participation in advocacy initiatives
  • Partnership and Amplification
    • Collaborate with local and national organizations committed to equity, inclusion, and social justice
    • Amplify and support UW alumni working on DEI issues and efforts
  • Measurement and Reporting of Progress
    • Create effective methods for measuring impact of UWAA initiatives
    • Develop and distribute annual impact report
  • Organizational Assessment
    • Audit internal operations, policies, and procedures to ensure they are equitable and inclusive; foster a culture of shared respect, dialogue, and accountability
    • Strengthen joint UWAA staff and Board of Trustees governing committee on race, equity, and justice to ensure strategic program administration and accountability
  • Diversity and Training
    • Increase diversity of staff, volunteer, and board leadership
    • Provide professional development opportunities that address anti-racism, inclusion, and equity; foster culture of shared accountability

Message from leadership

Oct. 5, 2020

A New Academic Year. Advancing Inclusivity and Anti-Racism at UWAA

Dear UWAA Members,

Last week, with autumn upon us, more than 75,000 students, staff and faculty began an academic year like no other in the University of Washington’s 159-year history.

Living, working and studying from locations near and far, our UW community continues to navigate an environment beset by the effects of dual pandemics: COVID-19 and generations of discrimination and racial injustice. The disproportionate impact on Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) is undeniable and unacceptable. In June, we shared that UWAA’s impact in areas of equity and inclusion is insufficient. Our leadership and Board of Trustees spent the summer listening and engaging in dialogue with alumni, staff, faculty and other thought leaders and members of the community.

Our future approach — and the focus of the UWAA’s efforts — must be different. For far too long, institutions and organizations, including universities and their alumni associations, have perpetuated cultures of structural and systemic racism, which we must commit to eliminating. The dynamic tension between a legacy of exclusion and the capacity for transformational change must end.

The UW Alumni Association is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and to advancing understanding and actions that are actively anti-racist. Our objective is to lead substantive change within our membership and the broad alumni community and to increase our awareness of cultural humility. At this time, we are called upon to act differently and implement substantial change to engage marginalized alums and amplify BIPOC voices within our community.

Realizing these goals and objectives will require the active participation of UWAA members and leaders. In addition to an active racial equity committee led by staff, in July, the UWAA Board of Trustees created a joint board and staff governance committee on race, equity and justice to ensure continued coordination – and accountability – for this renewed commitment. We’ve also created a new online resource, focused on a broad range of race, equity and justice programs and services from across the UW community, to increase your understanding and engagement with these important issues.

For the past three decades, the UWAA, inspired by the visionary leadership of the Multicultural Alumni Partnership, has advanced a commitment to diversity; however, this work is incomplete and our collective impact is insufficient. The time is now for a new era of action and change. As the incoming Class of 2024 begins its academic journey during a time of unprecedented uncertainty, we know that the resilience and persistence we share as Huskies will meet this challenge.

Thank you for being a UWAA member and for your continued support of the University of Washington. We welcome and encourage your direct feedback and communication as we begin the year ahead.


Signature: Paul Rucker
Paul Rucker, ’95,’02
Executive Director
UW Alumni Association

Signature: Ben Franz-Knight
Ben Franz-Knight, ’95
UW Alumni Association