Equity & Diversity


June 19, 2020

Greetings UTCOP Family,

Allow me to begin with Happy Juneteenth! As a Black woman born in America, I nor do the members of my family, typically work on Juneteenth, as it is a day yet to be recognized as a national holiday worthy of the commemoration it deserves. Ordinarily, we engage in educational and culturally affirming activities among members of community that honor my ancestors and our rich cultural heritage. However, I yielded that practice today with the understanding that this message needed to be shared and shared today without delay.

I hope that this day of celebration around Black emancipation from slavery two and half years AFTER President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, is one that results in continued reflection, remembrance, and active solidarity. This message of emancipation was finally brought to the shores of Galveston, TX on June 19, 1865 and thus, resulted in Jubliee Day, a day now more commonly known as Juneteenth!

For many of us, this week has been a week of hope, much needed hope. It began with the Supreme Court of the United States extending protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to also prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. This was a major victory for our LGBTQIA sisters, brothers, and siblings, and thus, a victory for us all. Then, hope dared to continue when the Supreme Court decided to continue to provide beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program continued protections without fear of deportation, at least for now. I exhaled for the first time in weeks and allowed myself to “breathe in” hope.  These messages of hope are not solely political ones. They are affirmations of humanity.  Messages that insist on the visibility of ALL people, particularly those who’ve been historically marginalized, that deserve to be seen, heard, respected, and protected. 

As a student, believer, and actualizer of intersectionality, I do not doubt that these victories are inextricably linked to a movement that insists on Black Lives Matter(ing) and justice being achieved. I know this with a high degree of resolution, because I understand that as our humanity is tethered to one another, so are the liberties and oppressions we experience. In that, when Black lives, Queer lives, Immigrant lives, and the many more lives rendered to the margins are FREE and finally MATTER, ALL lives will matter. Until then, I will exhale with measured hope.

Love and light, UTCOP fam…

Warmest Regards,
Skyller Walkes, Ph.D.

DEAI and Anti-Racism Readings to Further Curriculum Development and Actionable Knowledge

Trigger-warning: not all of these readings are light or palatable. Still, all voices matter in the struggle against oppression, however insidious or explicit that oppression may be. For some, this may be exploratory, and for others, it may already ring familiar. In any case, I hope you’ll access it in the spirit of growth and community, and as always, I invite you to connect with me should you desire any additional support.

Yours in community,
Skyller Walkes, Ph.D.

The Association of American Medical Colleges website has provided resource readings that speak to structural racism and oppression in healthcare, while underscoring actionable knowledge. You’ll find their explanation contained in this blurb from the website: “The new Anti-racism in Medicine Collection within MedEdPORTAL provides educators with practice-based, peer-reviewed resources to teach anti-racist knowledge and clinical skills, elevates the educational scholarship of anti-racist curricula, and aims to convene a community of collaborators dedicated to the elimination of racism within medical education.” Please find the link below:


This is a syllabus prepared by UNT’s History Department. It contains several recommendations. Additionally, the department identifies several Black bookstores where these resources can be found – an effective way of demonstrating the value of supporting Black community members through economics.

Decriminalizing Blackness: A Syllabus from the History Department of the University of North Texas

Black immigrants are one of the fastest growing demographics in the United States. Nonetheless, this group remains a novelty in the broader immigration discourse. This report aims to elevate the conditions facing Black immigrants in the United States, drawing particular attention to their experience in the criminal law and immigration systems. This report argues that like African-Americans, Black immigrants experience disparate, often negative, outcomes within various social and economic structures in the U.S., including the country’s mass criminalization and immigration enforcement regimes.

The State of Black Immigrants, Part II: Black Immigrants in the Mass Criminalization System

Education and Visitor Services Coordinator for UT Austin’s Art Galleries at Black Studies (AGBS) Kendyll Gross writes a letter of support to the UT Pharmacy community for an upcoming collaboration developed by Assistant Dean of Diversity & Inclusion Skyller Walkes, “Interrogating Race, Gender, Class, and Sexuality through Art in Decolonial Art Spaces for Future Pharmacists.”

AGBS Letter of Support

The Weathering Hypothesis and the Health of African-American Women and Infants: Evidence and Speculations

This Is What Racial Trauma Does To The Body And Brain

Additional Anti-Racism Resources

NAACP resources on coronavirus

The Relationship Between Structural Racism and Black-White Disparities in Fatal Police Shootings at the State Level

75 ways Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are speaking out for Black lives

The Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture

The New York Times‘ 1619 Project and Podcast

National Pharmacy Organizations Unite to Take a Stand Against Racial Injustice

Statues and Memorials: Whites Writing Whiteness:

The politics surrounding and undergirding statues and memorials and societal responses to them was much in the news when this annotated Reading List was being prepared, associated in large part with Black Lives Matter and public statuary of people associated with slavery. Clearly the issues raised have wider remit too, as old orders give way to new and what was once, at least by those in positions of political authority, seen as worthy of public recognition and memorialization comes under attack, sometimes literally attack.

Remaking memory: on statues and memorials

Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy

Virtual learning opportunities:
Take A Stand On Racial Injustice: Perspectives From Mental Health Experts In Advocacy & Psychiatric Health Care

Location: Online Via PsychU.org

When: Tuesday, July 7, 2020 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. CT.

This PsychU webinar will feature a conversation on racial injustice in America. The panel discussion will highlight the current landscape of racial injustice, how racial injustice affects mental health perceptions and treatment, and potential ways to move forward to reduce this bias. The panel will include key leaders in mental health from National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America, and a psychiatrist who has worked to reduce disparities in mental health care as well as research in culture, ethnicity, and severe mental illness. The webinar is applicable to all audiences, including health care professionals, as well as mental health patients and caregivers.

Speakers are paid consultants of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc.

Please Note: Due to high levels of interest, please access this webinar via your computer. If you are unable to access via your computer or prefer to dial-in via phone, please click here to register for the 2 p.m. CT rebroadcast.

 Video discussion hosted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on fighting racism as a multiracial Jewish Community with Ilana Kaufman, Executive Director of the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative, Gamal Palmer, Schusterman Fellow 2019, Ginna Green, political consultant and strategist, and ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

The 1619 Project’s Virtual Panel on the Historical Roots of the Pandemic’s Racial Disparities

UT alumna and 2020 University Commencement Speaker Brené Brown talks with professor Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist and the Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University.

Brené with Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist

Discussions at The University of Texas at Austin and the UT College of Pharmacy:
Resources for engaging in anti-racism work and practicing solidarity:
Resources for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) to engage in self-care:
Resources on how to better support Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) faculty and staff through anti-racism awareness and action:
Books to read:
  • Freedom Is A Constant Struggle by Angela Davis
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
  • Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo
  • Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Iscenberg
  • America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis
  • Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? By Mumia Abu-Jamal
  • A Young People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  • People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  • The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race Edited by Jesmyn Ward
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and
  • Become a Good Ancestor by Llayla Saad
  • How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones
  • When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by
  • Patrisse Kahn-Cullors and Asha Bandele
  • An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz
  • The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther by Jeffrey Haas
Articles and resources:
Intersectionality between the Black Lives Matter movement and honoring Pride Month:
Film and television to watch:
  • The Kalief Browder Story (Netflix)
  • The Innocence Files (Netflix)
  • Who Killed Malcolm X? (Netflix)
  • 13th (Netflix)
  • Just Mercy (Free across multiple streaming platforms during the month of June)
  • When They See Us (Netflix)
  • American Son (Netflix)
  • The Hate U Give (Hulu)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Hulu)
Podcasts to listen to:
  • 1619 by the New York Times
  • About Race
  • Codeswitch
  • Pod Save the People
  • Intersectionality Matters!

Statement by The Coalition of Diversity and Inclusion Officers, University of Texas at Austin


June 1, 2020

As diversity officers at the University of Texas at Austin, we are grieved, horrified, saddened by the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, as well as countless others who have lost their lives to acts of racial violence. These egregious acts of racial profiling, physical violence, and death of Black individuals are taking place against a backdrop of a global pandemic that places in bold relief the wrenching inequities that have divided our nation as the virus disproportionately ravages communities of color.

We recognize that we are experiencing more than just a moment of discomfort and discontent. Our nation’s dark history has led to this critical moment in time. This is a history that we must grapple with, as we collectively struggle to move forward together.

As diversity officers we want our community and particularly its Black members, many of whom grew up in the same city as George Floyd and may have known him or his people, to know that we are here for you. We understand that these recent senseless events are triggering, tragic, and a stark reminder that Black lives are fragile and can be stolen from us at any moment.

We urge everyone to remember that if one of us is hurting, then we all hurt. Our silence in the face of injustice sends a negative message to the most vulnerable members of our university community. Now, more than ever, we reaffirm and reinvigorate our commitment to supporting an equitable, inclusive, and just institution in which violence, hate, and intolerance are not accepted and are actively combatted.

We encourage all members of our university community to check in on and support each other, recognizing that these recent events differently impact our students and colleagues in very deep and personal ways.

We also encourage our community members to reach out directly to their college or school’s diversity officer for any support, guidance, and resources that they may need.

In Support and Solidarity,

The Coalition of Diversity and Inclusion Officers, University of Texas at Austin

Ya’Ke Smith, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Moody College of Communication

Esther J. Calzada, Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion, Steve Hicks School of Social Work

Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, Assistant Dean for Civic Engagement, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

Edmund T. Gordon, Vice Provost for Diversity, University of Texas at Austin

Shavonne Henderson, Director of Student Equity and Inclusion, School of Law

Christine Julien, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Cockrell School of Engineering

Samuel Moore, Director of Outreach and Diversity, Jackson School of Geosciences

Shelley Payne, Advisor to the Dean for Diversity & Inclusion, College of Natural Sciences

Monique Pikus, Director of Diversity and Organizational Climate, College of Liberal Arts

Rene Salazar, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Dell Medical School

Raji Srinivasan, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, McCombs School of Business

Richard J. Reddick, Associate Dean for Equity, Community Engagement, and Outreach, College of Education

Skyller Walkes, Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, College of Pharmacy

Statement on Gender Equity and Underrepresented Minorities

May 14, 2020

Dear College of Pharmacy Family,

As this semester and full-term academic year come to a close, we wish to acknowledge that we’ve had to experience, confront, and actively survive so much as a community, with respect to the pandemic and beyond. In our intentional efforts to remain tethered to our values and commitment to diversity and belonging, we’d be remiss to ignore how our uniquely beautiful identities have also been impacted. Whether directly or indirectly, we bore collective witness to behaviors and actions in our world that have tested our resilience.

As a larger national community, we’ve seen and experienced the hurtful, bigoted “othering“ of members of our Asian/ Asian American community and immigrants, through xenophobia and racism. We’ve seen the devastation of anti-Semitism through vicious attacks on our Jewish community and their places of worship. We’ve seen the continuation of the senseless brutal slayings of unarmed Black men and women while simply playing video games or jogging for exercise, among other non-threatening activities. We’ve seen several gender non-conforming and transgender members of community violently killed simply for daring to exist. Of course, these examples speak to only a few, but the impact continues to loudly reverberate- disrupting a sense of safety, peace, stasis, and belonging for many of us.

Still, we wish to resolutely affirm each and every one of you. We see you. We value the diversity of our community, and YOU matter. While reaffirming our ability to choose unity and each other in our collective efforts to thrive, we will also remain committed to supporting you. In that, we denounce racialized violence and bigoted injustice. After all, it is the diversity of our differences that make us an outstanding College of Pharmacy.

Warmest Regards,
Skyller Walkes, Ph.D.

Cultural Proficiency Committee

The Cultural Proficiency Committee of the College of Pharmacy works to create and maintain a learning, research, and work environment (both physical and social) that promotes and values diversity of people, beliefs and ideas. Objectives of this standing committee include:

  1. to promote education and training opportunities as well as college activities for faculty, staff and students in support of creating an inclusive working and learning environment.
  2. to facilitate the incorporation of content and learning strategies throughout the entire curriculum to strengthen students’ cultural competency.
  3. to improve two-way communications with off-campus faculty.
  4. to improve communication with families of current and prospective students as well as with the broader community by promoting the College’s commitment to cultural diversity and proficiency.

Accomplishments of this committee include:

  • Established College-wide Cultural Celebrations*
  • Diversity Forums
  • Grants Awarded to support events and projects with objectives relevant to diversity education
  • Faculty/Staff Survey and Report which measures opinions on diversity and gender equity

*The Pharmacy Council co-sponsored the Cultural Celebrations until 2014, when it took over sole sponsorship of the event.

See also: Outreach – CPC Sponsored Projects

A Introductory Message from Skyller Walkes, Ph.D.

A woman smiling.

Skyller Walkes, Ph.D.

September 18, 2019

Greetings College of Pharmacy Family,

My name is Dr. Skyller Walkes, and it is with great enthusiasm that I introduce myself to the outstanding community of the College of Pharmacy. I am thrilled to begin this year at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy as the Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion and Assistant Professor of Instruction in the Division of Pharmacy Practice.

Informed by our collective vision, I endeavor to advance our commitment and demonstration to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in the College of Pharmacy. Through the mediums of intentional engagement, open and authentic dialogue, and an integrated curriculum, we will inspire, prepare, and empower our 21st Century learners to be the innovative and culturally competent Pharmacy leaders of tomorrow.

Conscientious transformation is rarely easy, and less so, when tethered to rooted themes of identity, culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, ability, country of origin, and religion, as it challenges us to examine the depths of our acculturation and socialization processes. Furthermore, such critically-minded exploration encourages further meaning-making of our socially organized settings and how we might conjointly interact in those settings. Yet, it also encourages us to envision our unique selves as contributing members of a broader community in our plural world- a world in which we have a vocational purpose and commitment to serve.

As we foster professional and educational relationships in the College of Pharmacy through co-constructed knowledge production, we seek to design every aspect of our practices to speak to the collective consciousness of our faculty staff, and student constituents- cultivating an experience of diverse thought, affirmed identity, and engaging praxis. Through this intentional and concerted effort modeled by our leadership and exemplified by our student community, the College of Pharmacy espouses to engender and activate researchers and practitioners who will engage the world with a civic mind and global perspective of diversity to support ALL members of community. This is not only our aspiration for building a visibly diverse and inclusive community, but our firm, collective charge as a premier College of Pharmacy.

Yours in Community,
Skyller Walkes, Ph.D.

Diversity Statement

The College of Pharmacy at UT Austin, ranked among the top three pharmacy programs in the country, aims to be an exemplar of intersectionally inclusive excellence through a rigorous approach to the understanding of intercultural engagement in our ever-expanding global world and knowledge economy.

The College of Pharmacy further labors to uphold a vision that inspires and challenges, yet explicitly affirms the students, staff, and faculty of our diverse community with authentic appreciation for the differences that engineer our pluralistic ingenuity. Our commitment to be intentionally inclusive in the culture, curriculum, and practices of the College of Pharmacy is resolute.


Read the spring 2020 edition of DiversiTEA Corner, the newsletter about topics and events regarding inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility at the UT College of Pharmacy.

Past Issues

College Strategic Plan

For additional information about diversity efforts, seeKey Priority 4 of the College of Pharmacy Strategic Plan(Recruitment, Retention, and Recognition of an Outstanding and Diverse Faculty and Staff).


APA Race and Ethnicity Bias Free Style Guide

Posters and Stickers

The College of Pharmacy has created posters and stickers in multiple languages in an effort to get its message out on creating a climate conducive to learning and creating knowledge for every person in the community. Feel free to download and print these items for your own use, display, and distribution.


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