The Power & Privilege Symposium
What is the Power & Privilege Symposium?
The Power & Privilege Symposium is designed to make space for conversations about structural oppression and how they manifest themselves on the Whitman College campus and beyond. Topics include racism, sexism, ableism, capitalism and more. The community unites to support the lectures, panels, discussions and showcases created by our peers. The symposium strives to educate the community about the power structures prevailing around the world, questioning many of the paradigms which have socialized us. Our mission as a team is to create an environment that interrogates hard questions and the relationships, and structures of power and privilege.
2024 Theme: Unmasked
The 2024 Power and Privilege Symposium (P&P) offers a crucial and distinct opportunity to explore the complex dynamics of power and privilege present in our campus community, allowing everyone to address these issues through critical conversations and activities. The symposium aims to extend that conversation to examine how these dynamics influence our interactions with the individuals and organizations from the Walla Walla community and the Indigenous people of this land. For that reason, the Executive Team wants to present this year’s theme, “Unmasked.” This is a call to action, an invitation to the entirety of the Whitman College community to immerse deep into the distinctions of our individual and collective experiences, and a commitment to fostering meaningful inclusivity and understanding.
A critical aspect of our goal is for us to take a step back and reassess practices and structures within our college experiences. Students are raising their voices and will continue to do so. We invite members of the administration, faculty and staff to add their voices and perspectives to the program because their participation and engagement is necessary. This integrative and reflective process is aimed at understanding how these practices shape the diverse experiences of our community members from a multitude of perspectives.
If you resonate with the theme, apply to be a 2024 P&P session leader by the end of day on Sunday, Dec. 10. We encourage all Whitman students, staff, faculty and administration, as well as Walla Walla community members, to apply!
“Unmasked” encapsulates central focuses that we demand for our community:
- Acknowledging Privilege. We seek to address the varied privileges that we, members of our campus community, carry with us. This involves an active effort to recognize the unseen advantages and subtle immunities granted to individuals and institutions through societal norms, often overlooked in our daily interactions.
- Understanding Power Dynamics. The symposium strives to open spaces that highlight the complex power dynamics and hierarchies prevalent in our college community. By individually and collectively reflecting on these structures, we intend to recognize how they shape interactions among different groups, influencing individual experiences and opportunities.
- Fostering Meaningful Collaboration. The heart of this year’s symposium lies in our pursuit of meaningful integration and collaboration within the diversity of our campus and local communities. This involves reimagining structures and creating spaces where voices, particularly those of historical and modern silenced groups, are not just heard but are influential in decision-making and campus life.
As a team, we welcome all members of the Whitman College community and beyond to join us in this daring journey of unmasking the layers of our realities, challenging our mental and physical structures and practices, and paving the way for a more equitable and empathetic community.
Power and Privilege Symposium Executive Team 2023–2024
Brandon Martínez Serrano, Marina Balasanyan, Rosaura Albizo Barron, Franko Omair, Masha
Aghabekyan, Imani Weta