Designated safe spaces to formally open March 25

by Karen Burbach, UNMC strategic communications | March 08, 2021

Image with caption: The

The "Brave Space" is one of the spaces in the new Inclusion Corner, located at the McGoogan Health Sciences Library.

The UNMC Office of Inclusion will open The Inclusion Corner inside the McGoogan Health Sciences Library on March 25 at 4 p.m.

"The Inclusion Corner," located in the northeast corner of the library's sixth floor, will house two distinctly named spaces: the "Brave Space" and the "Safe Space."

"These spaces will serve as a standing physical location where faculty, staff and students feel a sense of belonging as the images reflect the diversity of our campus," said Sheritta Strong, MD, director of inclusion. "They also provide space for us to have difficult conversations and opportunities for growth as we work together to co-create understanding for a more inclusive campus."

An enclosed space to allow for greater privacy, the "Brave Space" has Zoom capabilities and initially will accommodate two people within the room. In a post-pandemic world, up to six people can meet in the room. Organizers say the space, which may be reserved, allows for difficult conversations, honest self-reflection and trust-building. Reservations may be made by through Central Scheduling under the room "Brave Space."

The adjacent "Safe Space" provides for open seating and can accommodate six to eight people. Designed to be a place for vulnerability, authenticity and empathy, the space also will highlight campus groups aligned with UNMC's inclusion goals. Affinity groups interested in being featured should email a print-ready, 8x11 one-pager to Jhoanna Olmos, inclusion program associate, via email. The one-pagers should include information about the group including a brief description and the most up-to-date contact information. The one-pagers will be framed and hung within the space.

picture disc.

As part of the opening, the Inclusion and McGoogan teams will be on hand to answer questions and will make available pins featuring the word "ENOUGH" to individuals committed to having difficult conversations/reflections.

Designed by Jasmine Marcelin, MD, and Kate-Lynn Muir, DO, and the Internal Medicine Residency DIVERSE Taskforce in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine, the ENOUGH campaign includes pins that represent UNMC's commitment to stand with its Black, Indigenous and people of color trainees, patients, colleagues and friends in the fight to end systemic racism, injustice, police brutality and health disparities.

The pins are being launched in conjunction with a 21-week racial equity challenge, where challenge participants can sign up to receive weekly emails with suggested articles, podcasts and webinars to raise awareness, compassion, understanding and engagement toward racial equity. After reviewing suggested items, participants can keep track of their weekly progress.

The opening date for The Inclusion Corner is intentional, Dr. Strong said, as it coincides with the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. This annual United Nations observance raises awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice and honors and remembers the individuals who died as a result of the transatlantic slave trade.

"The journey toward more inclusive cultures begins with increased awareness," Dr. Strong said. "These dedicated spaces will further enrich our campus conversations around the critical topics of inclusion, diversity and equity."