Williams students, faculty and staff,
It is my pleasure to invite you to attend Claiming Williams this Thursday, February 1, 2024.
For those new to the college, Claiming Williams was created in 2008 when students, joined by staff and faculty, responded to a series of racist and sexist incidents by pushing for Williams to make itself more inclusive. You can learn more about the history and spirit of the event on the Claiming Williams website.
This year the steering committee has organized programming around the theme of “Access to and through Higher Education.” You can find a complete schedule of community driven events on the Claiming Williams website. The schedule also includes two keynotes: one in the morning by author Aaliyah Bilal, whose works of fiction and nonfiction focus on the Black American Muslim experience and stories that connect Chinese and Afro-Diasporic peoples; and another in the evening by Ruth Simmons, President’s Distinguished Fellow at Rice University and past president of Brown University, Smith College and Prairie View A&M University. President Simmons is also author of this year’s Williams Reads selection, Up Home: One Girl’s Journey.
Claiming Williams events are free and open to all students, faculty and staff. The keynotes are also open to the general public. Managers: staff are an important constituency for Claiming Williams, and I ask that you please enable them to participate if they wish to do so.
In closing, I want to thank the Claiming Williams Steering Committee for organizing this year’s program, with its ambitious theme and schedule. I also want to thank Bob ’67 and Susan Bahr and their family, whose generous support through the Bahr Family Fund for Diversity and Inclusion helps make this day possible.
I hope many of you will join me for a fantastic Claiming Williams on Thursday!