In response to the race-based violence of the 2017 Charlottesville protest, the Samueli Foundation and UCI sought to build a program for high school students that would unearth and jettison the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs created by racism - primarily a belief in the hierarchy of human value. Under the leadership of Associate Dean of Faculty Development & Diversity, Belinda Robnett and Director Teresa Neighbors, the University of California Irvine has embarked on a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The mission of School of Social Sciences is to transform our academic and local community through the Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Healing program (DIRHA). DIRHA strives to prepare students to positively engage within diverse and pluralistic environments both within and beyond high schools. To build empathy, cultural competency, and reduce stereotypes that are based in the false hierarchy of human value (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) through faculty-led seminars, experiential learning, mentorship and leadership development. To enable participants to pass on their knowledge to their communities and peers through student-driven projects. Through strategic planning and programmatic development we hope to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of diversity in race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, age, and culture.
High school students from all across Orange County participated in a DIRHA sponsored art contest, called "MY COVID LIFE." Finalist and runner ups represented schools from north, central and south Orange County. Participants showcased the impact of the quarantine period through original artwork, songs, poems, and photography!