"Dr. Collins brings with her an impressive combination of academic excellence, broad understanding and action in terms of inclusivity ... and heart. Perhaps from her training as journalist but certainly from the moment she entered academia, Dr. Collins has made it her mission to notice and to listen to students, colleagues and even community members who, for a variety of reasons, are removed from the mainstream, who are facing situations that leave them behind, vulnerable or in need of direction ... and to act upon it.
She has created informal support groups, formal support groups (her "Hear My Voice" project is a good example and she has worked through traditional channels such as academic committees and campus-wide programs that focused on the issues of diversity and inclusion. In all instances, the definitions were broad. Diversity was seen in all its facets, as was inclusivity. Whether Dr. Collins was helping an undocumented student through legal channels, a homeless student find shelter, staff members or fellow faculty members tend to economic or social issues that were affecting their jobs, or a non-traditional student navigate the world of higher education, her approach was the same: What could she and the institution do to help this person be valued and succeed?
And while her energy and resources were the driving forces, she understood that the community at large needed to be part of the solutions, too. In that regard, she cultivated relationships with seemingly unrelated groups of people within the campus and local communities who became her friends and allies to help in myriad ways, again, both formally and informally. She noticed them and she listened, as sometimes people in those groups, unrelated to the university, needed help, too. Dr. Collins stepped up there, too, forging lasting friendships and goodwill for the school.
Dr. Collins is passionate about all things, and her students and colleagues are the beneficiaries of that energy. As an educator, Dr. Collins inspires her students and colleagues, not by leading over them, but by leading with them."
Dr. Sally Renaud, Journalism Professor, Former Chair, Eastern Illinois University
A.C.E. In Community
Infrastructural Design for DEBI-P
Old Miner's Town
I remember visiting an old mining town that was closed down. Before closing, the workers had all known each other and their families since birth. They made a good living and were able to take care of themselves, their families and their community. Now that the mine was closed down, they were unemployed. They were hardworking people who did not have the time or desire to go to school - something that would have helped them gain future employment. In the past, they didn't need an education to work in the mines. They just needed skills and a generation of people who worked in these same mines. Without employment, they were poor and in poor health and feeling powerless and ignored. Symbolically, if a stranger were to see one of these white male workers on the street, they might assume that they have what some call "privilege" and interact with them from this assumed point of view. But, where is the privilege? They are white and male, yes, but where is the privilege? They are struggling just like many other Americans. There is no empathy afforded to them. There is no help.
This is the same type of injustice and lack of empathy put on ALAANA members and communities, women, the physically special, the poor, members of brown and black communities outside of the U.S., individuals who are emotionally special, and the list goes on and on.
Instead of spending the majority of time discussing the issues, Active Centralized Empowerment participants talk about solutions and how they are surviving. What skills have they learned from being in a particular situation? Basically, it is a process of owning your own authenticity. When you engage with them with this lens, you learn that they don't feel as if they have privilege because they are struggling like so many other Americans. People should be open to hearing them actively centralize themselves on their Truth. This empowers them to be Included with self-empowerment. They belong without apology and expect to be treated fairly and equally based on their cross-cultural competence. A.C.E. positions cross-cultural competency and lived experiences in a place of value to define and redefine. Are you an angry black woman or are you a passionate black woman? Are you an angry black woman because you are being treated unfairly so you should be angry? This type of thinking, understanding the human being behind every situation. Explore it. Own it. Then work from that truth. That's A.C.E.ing it. If you are racist, explore it, own it, then work from that truth. If you are brilliant, explore it, own it, then work from that truth. Freedom.
A.C.E.ing IT METHODICALLY & HUMANLY
For communities I use methodologies to assess what is working, what is not working and provide possible suggestions that are inclusive of the voices from the members of the community. I listen to the people. For example, I led an A.C.E. workshop and assessment consultation for a city community that did not feel included in policies, felt that their voices were not heard, and were marginalized racially, ethnically, and economically. The opportunities just weren't there and to exacerbate the situation, violent crimes within their neighborhood was on the rise. After giving a presentation on what A.C.E. is and does and after doing an assessment that included focus groups, an online survey with community members who chose to participate, an observation analysis of their community, another online survey and in-depth interviews, a presentation was done on the results. It's important that power is found on the ground and that attention is paid to aspects that are in their control. Empowered together, we were able to come up with potential, viable solutions. Leaders were chosen, people with diverse opinions created teams, everyone was given an opportunity to offer solutions and direction, and everyone felt empowered about implementing the proposed solutions. The so called "agitators" of the neighborhood were transformed into the protectors of the community.
It is also important to know that Storytelling creates Community. By creating and implementing stories focused on your strengths, for instance, and being Active on a Centralized Agreement and goal of Good, the Empowerment felt inside the CORE of the community and its members, Transformational changes in their neighborhood emerges as a unit. Crime went down, businesses wanting to make a profit from dire situations now includes the good of the community in their business plans with a percentage of profits going back into the community. Employment opportunities went up, and self-esteem and confidence data results went up as well. It felt and looked like the entire community came together, came back to life, found hope and everything was brighter and just simply glowed.
A.C.E. Assessment Services Provides
Assessment of Community Composition
Assessment of Leader Positions & Positioning
Assessment of Leadership Styles
Assessments of DEBI Initiatives in conjunction with Results Desired
Assessment of Responsibility & Accountability Measures
Assessment of All Communications within and to the Community
Assessment on Issues of Power
A.C.E. Consultation ROIs
Return On Investment
Representations Of Inclusion With Power & Equity
Clear Vision & Insight on Community Challenges to DEI Initiatives
Suggestions for Communication Enhancement
Recommendations to Improve Performances & Outcomes
Recommendations on Leadership Styles that are most conducive to Achieving DEBI Initiatives in the Community as a Collective
Recommendations on Issues of Power Distribution
Recommendations for Community Communication including the use of Media
I'm excited about working with you and discovering ways your Community
can come together and A.C.E. IT for Optimal Performance and Results !
or call me at (877)-644-7844
or Fax me at (217) 727-6084
And let's get started!