An educator and restorative justice thought leader in New York City, Camille Jacobs ’91 (Communications Media) is personally and professionally motivated to bring her skills and perspectives to the ongoing anti-racism conversation at SUNY New Paltz.
Most recently, the alumna expertly moderated the College’s latest installment of the Dismantling Racism Town Hall on Nov. 12, via Zoom. The event served as a continuation of ongoing conversations about the College’s work toward becoming an anti-racist institution, and how it can better serve all members of our community.
“It is an honor to have conversations that matter, conversations of inclusion where all voices are heard and are accepted,” said Jacobs. “There has been great wisdom exuding from this intentional space. We are building a community of understanding with these conversations while learning how to embrace and accept people with opposing world views. When we gather in these forums, we create possibility by just showing up.”
Dismantling Racism: Checking in Post-Election was designed as an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and alumni to share thoughts and ideas about the world in the days following the 2020 presidential election. Participants were encouraged to consider the uncertainty of the results and what the voting trends signaled about the ways America is wrestling with race relations and inclusion.
“More voters engaged in the democratic process than at any time in our history, and Kamala Harris made history as the first Black person and first South Asian-American woman to hold the second-highest office in the nation,” said President Donald P. Christian. “We also saw the power of organizing and advocacy across many states where BIPOC voices were represented in greater numbers than in recent history. Those are all signs of hope.”
Prior to the event, the College provided an update on the progress made this fall as a campus community on several relevant initiatives. A number of these actions were shared as part of the June 30 pledge to become an actively anti-racist and more inclusive institution.
Jacobs is deeply engaged in her alma matter’s diversity and equity initiatives. In addition to her work on the Town Hall series, she has partnered with the College’s Diversity and Inclusion Council to engage in professional development in “Restorative Practices.”
“Even when you are building a house, people need a place to live,” said Jacobs of the ongoing community dialogue. “All behavior has meaning – and what we are seeing is a result of years of unmet needs. Accountability is the willingness to care for the whole. We all have to intentionally work towards creating a future at New Paltz different than we have now; a restorative community.”
Among her numerous contributions in support of the College and the alumni association, Jacobs has served on the planning committee for First World for the past 10 years (2010 and 2015 reunions), planned and executed an alumni panel discussion for current students during the 2016 Reunion Weekend (“Proud Past, Bold Future”), mentored current students interested in pursuing a career in education, and served as a volunteer for alumni networking events in the New York area. Additionally, Jacobs organized a tribute to honor the memory of Dr. Margaret Wade Lewis, beloved former faculty member and department chair of the Department of Black Studies, during the 2010 First World Reunion.
Jacobs is a 2017 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Service Award, which recognizes alumni volunteers who have made exceptional contributions in support of the activities of the SUNY New Paltz Alumni Association.
Learn more about her work here.