EDWARDSVILLE – Tandra Taylor, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of History, has been announced as Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s interim director of the Institute for Community Justice and Racial Equity (ICJRE) at the Southwestern Illinois Justice and Workforce Development Center in Belleville. SIUE's ICJRE strives to achieve equity, racial justice and positive transformational change for southwestern Illinois’ historically marginalized, disenfranchised and oppressed people."SIUE is highly engaged in the educational and communal work of equity, racial and social justice, as demonstrated in our curriculum, co-curricular programming, and civic and community partnerships with the greater Metro-east community,” said Jessica Harris, PhD, vice chancellor for anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion. “Through the ICJRE and with Dr. Taylor’s leadership, I have no doubt that the University will continue to advance its academic mission to solve pressing social problems and prepare students to be change makers in the community.”

Tandra Taylor, PhD, interim director of the Institute for Community Justice and Racial Equity.“When I think about the possibilities of the ICJRE, I envision it as a catalyst in the process of creating an equitable, vibrant society in the greater Metro-East wherein Black people and people of color thrive and achieve broad social mobility that structural racism has long denied them,” said Taylor.

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“To that end, the ICJRE will become a leading equity-minded community engagement enterprise,” she continued. “Where together with our partners engaged in research and education, members from the business community, and criminal justice reform professionals, we seek to transform the region’s marginalized communities through closing equity gaps and empowering individuals and families.”

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Taylor is a fourth-generation daughter of East St. Louis, first-generation college graduate, researcher, and community-engaged educator. Her research background in African-American education and labor history offers a guidepost to promote awareness to address inequity in education and various labor sectors across the region.

“As the interim director of the Institute, I will establish the goals of the ICJRE to align with the university's strategic plan and advance its educational mission,” Taylor added. “SIUE has and is taking strides in its efforts to achieve inclusive excellence, and my role contributes by closing gaps between SIUE and important communities whose access to foundational pathways to achieve social mobility has been restricted due to systemic racism.”

The Institute’s goals not only focus on SIUE’s efforts in ADEI work, but rather will contribute to a collaboration across divisions with institutional and community partners including Madison CUSD #12 Oral Histories Project, an effort to contribute to narrative change and documenting marginalized history from Madison, Ill.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high-quality education that powerfully transforms the lives of all individuals who seek something greater. A premier metropolitan university, SIUE is creating social and economic mobility for individuals while also powering the workforce of the future. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of more than 12,500.

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