WSU Tri-Cities presents “The Community Classroom: Race, Equity and Engaged Citizenship” as a means for engaging with our local community in this important learning process of building racial literacy. We believe that together we can become a community that is more empowered to lead anti-racist efforts. We commit to doing this by investing in establishing a shared understanding of who we have been and who we want to be around race relations in our community. Please join us in learning from esteemed WSU faculty and friends of the university as we go back to school to be better neighbors, leaders, and citizens and invest in developing a culture of anti-racism in the Tri-Cities.

The Community Classroom events are presented in partnership by the WSU Tri-Cities MOSAIC Center for Student Inclusion and the WSU Tri-Cities Office of Academic Affairs.

History of Civil Rights in the Tri-Cities Past and Present

September 30 | 4 p.m.

Robert Bauman and Robert Franklin, both History faculty at Washington State University, Tri-Cities, will give a presentation on the history of African-American activism in the Tri-Cities from the 1940s-1970s.  The presentation will highlight efforts to end racial segregation in the Tri-Cities, including civil rights marches in Kennewick and Pasco in the 1960s and 1970s.  The presentation is based on material from their forthcoming book, Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region, to be published by WSU Press in November.

This event will also welcome the following panelists: life coach and radio personality Reka Robinson, Daishaundra Loving-Hearne, co-CEO of the Urban Poets Society and organizer with the Black Lives Matter Coalition: Tri-Cities, and Naima Chambers Smith, CEO of the Tri-Cities Diversity and Inclusion Council. They will talk about the advocacy efforts they are spearheading within our local community around racial justice and how others can be a part of supporting the work.


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Dr. Bob Bauman

Robert Bauman is Professor of History and Academic Director of Arts and Sciences at Washington State University, Tri-Cities.  He is co-editor, with Robert Franklin, of the forthcoming book, Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region, to be published by WSU Press in November.

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Robert Franklin

Robert Franklin is the Assistant Director and Archivist of the Hanford History Project, Director of the Hanford Oral History Project, and a Lecturer in the History Department at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. He is co-editor, with Robert Bauman, on two books using oral histories to tell the history of the Hanford region. The first volume of that series, Nowhere to Remember: Hanford, White Bluffs, and Richland to 1943 was released in 2018 by WSU Press, and the forthcoming book, Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region, to be published by WSU Press in November.


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Reka Robinson

Reka is a relationship life coach for women and a radio personality who is using her platforms and status as a Tri-Cities public figure to promote conversations around race and voter registration. Recently she spearheaded a series called “Race Conversations” on public radio and organized a mobile voter registration campaign. This year she was named Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Eastern WA and Northern Idaho, as well as top 10 Female Life Coach of 2020 by Yahoo! Finance for her work in empowering women.

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Daishaundra Loving-Hearne

Daishaundra Loving-Hearne is no stranger to the arts or the power of it. She is a writer, a CEO of Urban Poets Society, youth advocate, and a founder of the Black Lives Matter Coalition: Tri-Cities.

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Naima Chambers-Smith

Naima is the founder and CEO of the Tri-Cities Diversity & Inclusion Council (TCD&IC) 501(c)(3) and organizer of the Tri-Cities Collective Black Voice. She also serves as commissioner on the City of Pasco’s Inclusivity Diversity and Equity Commission (PIDEC.) She is a member of the African American Community Cultural & Educational Society (AACCES) and Racial Equity & Social Justice (RESJ) Coalition while also volunteering for the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) and Tri-Cities Mutual Aid Fund.  Naima has over 20 years’ progressive law enforcement experience and is a DEI leader and trainer for officers, managers, and staff members of the Oregon Department of Corrections. She brings the lived experience of a multi-racial, multicultural family who also works as an independent DEI consultant and trainer.

Digital Dissensus: Discovering Truth in an Era of Misinformation

October 22 | 4 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Are conspiracy theorists and anti-maskers anti-fact? Or is there a deeper dynamic at play? Mike Caulfield, director of blended and networked learning at WSU Vancouver and nationally recognized digital literacy expert will discuss the roots of our current “digital dissensus” and explain how our approach to education may be making the problem worse. How do we design education for a world where information is plentiful, and attention is the scarcity? How do we encourage analysis and engagement in our students without having those same impulses gamed by bad actors? What epistemic stances and heuristics serve the public in a world where expertise is niche and very little is directly verifiable, and where facts are atomized, separated from analysis, and reassembled in bizarre and dangerous ways?


Mike Caulfield

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Mike Caulfield is the director of blended and networked learning at Washington State University, Vancouver and a nationally recognized digital literacy expert. His areas of expertise include informal learning, online communities and open educational resources with special interest in civic literacy and digital citizenship.

Dr. Anna Plemons

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Dismantling Racism: The Game of Change

October 29 | 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Racism in our world is not a new issue. In the current climate no one wants to be deemed “bad” but people struggle with maintaining systems of power and privilege and being deemed a “good” person.  While faculty and community practitioners have some knowledge of the historical roots of structural racism, there is a lack of awareness of the impact of this social construct, and that it is supported by implicit bias.  Through the lens of medical education and popular culture we will explore how this works and what we can do address and stifle it in academe and society.

This workshop/discussion will offer members of various communities the language and practices to move the “center at the margins” – that is to shift their view point from a majority group’s perspective to that of the marginalized group or groups. We plan to provide strategies to help faculty become more aware of the problems of bias and structural racism.  We will broach ways to reduce the systemic impact on resident and other faculty evaluations. Utilizing principles presented in work by Dr. Robert R. Gaiser on teaching professionalism: i.e. reflective thinking, metacognition, and transformational learning in a small group interactive environment we hope to translate practices that are applicable to things like sports culture and daily life.


Dr. Thabiti Lewis

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Thabiti Lewis is professor of English and interim associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at Washington State University, Vancouver. He is also the editor of Conversations with Toni Cade Bambara and Ballers of the New School: Race and Sports in America. He writes extensively about masculinity, sports, and popular culture and has published work in the areas of literary studies and history and popular culture and critical race. He has lectured widely about critical race, masculinity and sports culture. Professor Lewis conducts a workshop called “The Anti-racist Locker” and has worked with Dr. Theard to examine approaches for eliminating or reducing systemic racism in medical education and society.

Dr. Marie Theard, MD

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Dr. Theard completed her residency at University of Illinois in Chicago and a fellowship in Neuroanesthesia at Washington University in St. Louis.  She is currently director of Neuroanesthesia in the Dept. of Anesthesiology at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Theard has published several articles illuminating the limitations of structural racism in academia and education, conducted surveys on DEI, and workshops examining approaches for eliminating or reducing systemic racism in medical education. As a former co-chair and now member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee of the Society of Neurosciences in Anesthesiology and Critical care, she has hosted conferences to address how to improve medical training in order to effect more equity and inclusion in medicine. In an effort to engage Portland’s African American community, she was recently awarded a mentorship grant from the American Society of Anesthesiology’s Professional Diversity Committee to begin a pipeline project to increase interest among African American high school students for careers in medicine.