Women’s Leadership Institute is in solidarity with Black communities

June 1, 2020 - Amy Bonomi, PhD and Amanda Guinot Talbot, PhD

The Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) Executive Board at Michigan State University is saddened and outraged by the continued tolerance of racism, violence and traumatization of Black people and communities of color in the United States. 

It is impossible to make sense of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the unconscionable deaths that have taken place for centuries.  And, through structural inequalities at the intersection of race and socioeconomic status, COVID-19 continues its devastating toll on communities of color.

The racism and structural inequalities facing Black people and communities of color runs squarely in opposition of WLI’S mission and commitment to equity and inclusion. The WLI works to ignite women leaders and create equity for all. This means supporting, educating, partnering, and standing with women and their allies. The pursuit of justice and the condemnation of institutional racism is a critical component of leadership and work we must do together. Michelle Obama says it is upon us, as social justice leaders, to root out racism and structural inequalities.

The WLI Executive Board stands in solidarity with our Black students, colleagues and communities of color, and we commit to doing our part to root out racism.  To our Black students, colleagues and communities of color:  We are here for you.  You are not alone.  To our allies in support of Black students, colleagues and communities of color:  We are here for you.

In the coming weeks and months, in support of you, the WLI Executive Board commits to the following action steps and engagement opportunities.  Through WLI’S vision of equity for women and women leaders, we will amplify our engagement of women at intersectional social identities – including conversations to mitigate the impact of racism. 

  1. Listening sessions and teach-ins:  We invite students to participate in several virtual listening sessions and teach-ins between now and July 31, 2020 to explore women’s leadership and professional support needs with a focus on racial inequalities, equity and justice.  More information to come on social media!

  2. Student scholarships: We invite students to submit your entries to our social media campaign contest to raise further awareness of, and reimagine strategies for mitigating, the combined impacts of racism and gender inequality facing women leaders.  Three (3) scholarships will be awarded in the amount of $1,000 each.  More information to come on social media!

  3. Women with intersectional identities in WLI fall 2020 programs:  WLI is known for its engagement opportunities involving women leaders with intersectional identities.  Our September 10, 2020 evening program features keynote panelists Margaret Dimond and Mona Hanna-Attisha – who are leading in the front lines of the health care sector’s response to COVID-19 in communities of color.  Our September 9, 2020 program will feature four women leaders (to be named) whose focus is on mitigating racism and social injustice.

In closing, we look forward to connecting with you to listen, support and make needed changes.

Sincerely yours,


Amy Bonomi and Amanda Guinot Talbot on behalf of the WLI Executive Board:

Margaret Dimond
Celia Ebert
Carolyn Jackson
Alejandra Loaiza-Delgado
Gloria Santona
Christine Mason Soneral
Ann Tomlanovich