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Message from UCLA Ed&IS Assistant Dean of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Natacha Cesar-Davis
Dr. Natacha Cesar-Davis headshot

Dear Ed&IS Family,  

I begin my tenure as inaugural Assistant Dean of Black Life and Equity, Diversity, Inclusion with great humility and purpose. I recognize the hard work that made this role possible, and I take this responsibility seriously. Since 2021, the SEIS Black Bruins have spent over 400 unpaid hours organizing, planning, and meeting with stakeholders. Through their initiative, they created a list of demands that asked that Ed&IS "recognize and meet the known needs of Black scholars and the overall Black community." In conjunction with the commitment of Ed&IS senior leadership, staff, faculty, students, and alumni to respond to this call to action, these organizing efforts have created a tangible avenue to transform these demands into actionable items. Indeed, the assistant dean role exemplifies the sacrifices and hard work of many different members of the Ed&IS community.

Over the next six months, I, with the support of the Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (OJEDI) and the EDI committee, plan to:

  • Create visible spaces that celebrate Black excellence and resilience at Ed&IS
  • Meet with all centers, academic divisions, and departments within our school to assess how OJEDI can work with that particular area
  • Continue to develop processes that address equity needs and challenges at the individual and organizational level

As I close this message, I would like to leave you with some thoughts on the work that is ahead for us. The global pandemic that started over two years ago has stalled our collective pursuit of equity. Equity work is only possible when we work in unity. Through dialogue, we develop the empathy we need to approach one another. In the company of one another, we recognize that the suffering of one of us affects us all. Together, we understand that every community member is needed and essential to our overall success. In many different ways, the pandemic has distanced us and simultaneously highlighted the power that we hold when we gather. Our task is to continue to create spaces that allow us to be in fellowship with one another so that we can continue to make Ed&IS a place that is accountable and transparent.

With much appreciation, 

Natacha M. Cesar-Davis, PhD

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