Accountability through the Lens of Cultural Humility:  A Call to Action 

By Dr. Edelmira Reynoso and Meridith Oram, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Words shared at this moment seem insufficient to make sense of the pain that many of us are feeling because of the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Their murders are not isolated incidents, but a pattern of systemic violence against Black people that goes back centuries. Many are in denial that white supremacy is infused into the systems and institutional structures of the United States but anti-blackness, structural racism, and white superiority are at its core. The only way to eradicate this is to take decisive action at the personal and institutional levels moving forward.

On the personal level, we urge everyone to engage in professional development opportunities that take us from our comfort zone to our learning edgei, which encourages us to better understand our multiple identities and the oppressions and privileges we have internalized about those respective identities. In doing this, we will all have a clearer sense of how our positionality impacts how we show up at Humboldt State and influences our interpersonal relationships with students and colleagues as well as our contributions to shape policy and systems.

The cultural humility framework teaches us that we must be curious lifelong learners and critically self-reflect on ourselves while holding this same level of accountability at the institutional level. It is important that we grow in our understanding of how systems of power, privilege, and oppression influence how Humboldt State works so what works can be celebrated and what is problematic can be made visible and changed. 

Stay tuned for offerings on the Cultural Humility framework to support our ongoing work for racial equity and racial justice.

Here are some useful webinars to watch during a break in your day:

Racial equity webinars:                                             

Keep an eye on cultural humility sessions offered through:

L4HSU will be offering learning sessions this summer pertinent to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Please stay tuned.

With gratitude and humility,
The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI)

[i] The comfort zone asks us to move beyond our traditional areas of comfort so we can open ourselves to new challenges because otherwise, we are not learning. The learning edge is at the limit of our comfort zone and where at this point, we are most open to expanding our knowledge and understanding. From: The Program on Intergroup Relations – University of Michigan 2014. Arao, B. & Clemens, K. From safe spaces to brave spaces: A new way to frame dialogue around diversity and social justice. The Art of Effective Facilitation.


The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion supports Diversity Grants meant to develop diversity, equity and inclusion on campus and in the community.  Featured below is one of the Grants this year by Sara Hart  from the Religious Studies Department, Art, Veterans and the American Experiment:  Community and Diversity in Three Dimensions




Collective Impact


Collective Impact is the model used by the HSU Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for all of the work done both on and off campus.  It is the structure used by Equity Arcata for all the work done in the campus and community.

1.   All participants have a common agenda for change including a shared understandingof the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.  

2.  Collecting data and measuring result consistently across all the participants ensures shared measurement for alignment and accountability.  

3.  A plan of action that outlines and coordinates mutually reinforcing activities for each participant.  

4.  Open and continuous communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation.  

5.  A backbone organization(s) with staff and specific set of skills to serve the entire initiative and coordinate participating organisations and agencies.

“…we believe that there is no other way society will achieve large-scale progress against the urgent and complex problems of our time, unless a collective impact approach becomes the accepted way of doing business.”       John Kania and Mark Kramer

Collective Impact Forum

Three Reasons Why Collective Impact Model is the Future of Social Change

Stanford Social Innovation Review