Coalition for Anti-Racist Action

Who We Are

A cross-campus network of staff and faculty committed to doing work to support calls to action by Black-led organizations at the University of Cincinnati.

Visit the Coalition for Anti-Racist Action website here.

What We Do

We learn from existing resources how to combat systemic racism, explore complicity, become better allies, and help others do the same. Further, we work collaboratively with Black-led organizations to illuminate and challenge policies and practices that exclude, harm, or otherwise hinder the success of Black students, alumni, staff, faculty, and community partners. We write letters, speak at meetings and events, participate in demonstrations, and otherwise advocate policies and practices that support calls to action by Black-led organizations at the University of Cincinnati.

Historical Context

UC’s Coalition for Anti-Racist Action (CARA or “the coalition”) was founded in 2020 by a group of mostly white colleagues who signed a  Pledge to Dismantle White Supremacy Within Ourselves and Our Institutions.

Aware of the danger of well-meaning white folks organizing to address systemic racism at UC (focused on anti-Black racism), we sought guidance and formal consultation from Black colleagues. While we aim to attract members across identity groups and work collaboratively with any organization working to advance racial equity, our focus remains:

Doing work to support calls to action by Black-led organizations at UC.

Since 2021, we have embraced the call to End Polite Silence as our central call to action. The movement to End Polite Silence was initiated by Carol Tonge Mack, Assistant Dean of Student Success in Arts & Sciences. Carol began the movement to End Polite Silence as part of her healing journey after being targeted in a racist cartoon circulated on September 18, 2013.

The cartoon portrayed her and Ron Jackson, the first Black Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences as dangerous authoritarians threatening the “quality” of the institution.

What happened next is what often happens: Black students, staff, and faculty rallied to provide support and advocate for change while most of us remained politely silent. 

If you aren’t negatively affected by racism, you may not understand how it shows up. You may even be disinclined to believe it exists, especially considering the visibility of messages that indicate commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion. If you are affected by racism, you may be disinclined to talk about it because who will believe you? Who have your back?

 As an organization housed within UC’s Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, we do not argue the existence of racism at UC. Rather, seek opportunities to collaboratively advocate for accountability and changes to policies, practices, and behaviors that perpetuate racial disparities in who enters and advances at UC.  Learn more about the TRHT Framework.

Organizational Structure

UC’s Coalition is led by Co-Chairs MK Lamkin (Undergraduate Research) and Keith Lanser (Center for Community Engagement). Communication efforts are led by Amy Koshoffer (UC Libraries), Suzanne Buzek (Lindner College of Business), and Eric Jenkins (School of Communication, Digital Media, and Film Studies). Other members are called to lead or support actions as needs arise.

How to Get Involved

Staff and faculty join the Coalition by signing a pledge. Each year, Coalition leaders revisit, revise, and recirculate the pledge. By revisiting and revising the pledge, we continually improve how we communication the purpose of the Coalition and the role of members. Signing a pledge annually provides members the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the work and their commitment to it.  You must have a UC email address to access.

View Previous Pledges

Must have a UC email address to access:

The University of Cincinnati (UC) is a predominantly white institution with a long history of accommodating anti-Black racism. UC’s Irate8, an award-winning student activist group, provides a brief overview of the most egregious (documented) examples in their “Let Us Help You See” video (YouTube, 2015). From Charles McMicken’s 1861 bequeathment to found a college for “white boys and girls” to the Martin Luther King trash parties in the 1980s; the UC Police killings of Lorenzo Collins (1997), Kelly Brinson (2010), and Everette Howard (2011); the racist cartoons with no accountability (2013); and finally the UC Police murder of Samuel DuBose (2015) that ignited their organizing efforts, the Irate8 compiled important history to help “you see” racial injustice at UC and mobilize for change. While the Irate8 achieved important milestones (increased funding and resources for minority serving programs, the inclusion of a DEI statement for all UC job applicants, and more), their organization dissolved as its leaders graduated.

As the late 2010s neared the 2020s, cell phone recordings of police killing unarmed Black Americans continued to elevate awareness of anti-Black police brutality in the United States. Each tragedy ignited local and regional protests, demonstrations, and organizing efforts. The May 2020 murder of George Floyd was the last straw: it ignited protests, demonstrations, and organizing efforts across the nation and world. At the University of Cincinnati, the Black Round Table, Undergraduate Student Government, and others produced fresh sets of demands to UC’s president. Staff and faculty organizations produced resolutions and statements of their own, calling for action and committing to do better.

Among the statements produced was a Pledge to Dismantle White Supremacy within Ourselves and Our Institutions for UC staff and faculty. Those who signed the pledge had the option of joining what would eventually become UC’s Coalition for Anti-Racist Action (CARA), “a cross-campus network of staff and faculty committed to dismantling white supremacy by doing work to support calls to action by Black-led organizations at the University of Cincinnati”. Whereas Black students, staff, and faculty have been organizing and leading efforts to address racial inequities at UC since the 1930s, the forming of the Coalition marked the first time (to our knowledge) that a multiracial staff-faculty group has organized formally to support calls to action by Black-led organizations at UC.

Coalition work during that first and second year emphasized defining organizational structure and initiatives, listening, learning, facilitating discussions, building collaborations within the institution, and writing letters and statements. As the Coalition enters its third year, it hopes to engage more directly in enacting policy change. Although their efforts emphasize collaborating with Black-led organizations at UC, they aim to work collaboratively with all organizations working to produce racial equity.

This work is made possible by scholars and activists at UC who have produced and shared knowledge, understanding of human experience, and models for advocacy and organizing for racial justice. Content (including definitions) is informed by How to Be an Antiracist (Kendi, 2019).

Signers are provided the option of joining UC’s Coalition for Anti-Racist Action (CARA) as a “Member” or "Friend".
Members will be identified as CARA members on a public-facing web page. Members also engage in anti-racist action through CARA or through another organization at UC.

Friends are added to our group in MS Teams (provides access to files) and provided email updates and notifications. Those who join CARA as friends now may become members when they are ready.

We strongly encourage returning and new CARA affiliates to sign as members rather than friends. While we understand that some people may be in the early stages of their advocacy journey, change cannot be made until we all stand up together. Anonymity does a disservice to those who do not have the privilege of choosing whether or not to be seen.


Headshot of MK Lamkin

MK Lamkin

Assoc Professor - Educator, CCPS Prof Studies/Exp Learning

120.05 University Pavilion


Like Undergraduate Research Program Directors across the nation, the purpose of my work is to “broaden participation in Undergraduate Research”. This means both expanding the overall number of participants across disciplines and growing the proportion of participants from groups historically excluded from research professions. I approach my role by providing discipline-inclusive centralized programs and working with colleagues across the institution to support college-level and department-level undergraduate research initiatives. Centralized programs include:
·      Exploring Research Small Group Consultations
·      The Undergraduate Research Society
·      The Undergraduate Scholarly Showcase
·      Summer Learning Community for Student Researchers
·      Excellence in Research Mentorship Awards
·      The Grad-Undergrad Research Connections Program
·      Training Programs for Research Mentors
·      Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program
I seek collaborations with colleagues and students interested in advancing equitable access to research experiences and psychological safety in research environments.

Headshot of Trent A Pinto

Trent A Pinto

Dir Resident Education & Development, SA Resident Education & Development