Claflin University’s Deeply Rooted Commitment to Social Justice

Dorothy S. Bass


Revealed 03-30-22

Submitted by Gilead Sciences

President Warmack walking with students.
President Warmack going for walks with students. 

Dr. Dwaun Warmack was just miles from the city of Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 when the police shooting demise of teenager Mike Brown ignited unrest and sparked nationwide discussion about the romance among the Black neighborhood and law enforcement.

At the time, Dwaun was approximately a month into his new function as president of nearby Harris-Stowe State University. He claims Brown’s death was deeply felt by the campus community offered that 40% of the learners hailed from Ferguson. To assistance the group mend, master and shift ahead, he created positive that all the ensuing discussions with law enforcement, municipalities, leaders and legislators have been held on campus.

“We had a civic and moral obligation to be the think tank to assistance the neighborhood mend,” describes Dwaun. “I don’t imagine social justice is an exercise or celebration. It’s who you are as a college. It is in the DNA.”

These days, he’s the president of Claflin University in South Carolina, 1 of the nation’s best 10 Traditionally Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), in which his longstanding determination to social justice aligns with the university’s basis. He points out how Claflin, which opened in 1869, was founded on essential social justice principles and became the 1st institution in the region to award a diploma to a woman of any race or track record.

Quickly immediately after signing up for Claflin in 2019, the college proven the Centre for Social Justice, which is supported by Gilead’s Racial Fairness Group Effects Fund. He sights the Centre for Social Justice as a car or truck for transforming attitudes and wondering about race even though also reshaping devices that have historically deprived Black communities. The center currently conducts range, fairness and inclusion coaching for police departments, civic governments and organizations all-around the country. It is also concentrated on overall health disparities, conducting analysis on why Blacks suffer disproportionately from conditions these as high blood pressure, diabetic issues and most recently, COVID-19.  

“Blacks are dying at a higher rate than any person else of COVID-19, but COVID is not racist,” Dwaun suggests. Rather, Blacks are impacted by a range of socioeconomic variables this sort of as absence of obtain to top quality health and fitness care, he explains. To assist treatment the challenge, Claflin is forming a partnership with a key healthcare business to deliver telehealth products and services to rural communities in South Carolina employing a residence-based technologies. The aim is to produce a product that can be tailored for use all through the state.

Early last year, the heart introduced a Pathways from Prison education software, in which some 100 incarcerated persons in South Carolina are doing work towards their college or university degrees. Dwaun understands the value that instruction delivers as he experienced to combat towards prevailing social forces to turn out to be the first member of his spouse and children to go to higher education. His grandmother was a sharecropper and his father was incarcerated when he was a baby. His mother, who lifted him and 4 other siblings, experienced restricted education but regarded the relevance of education and preached that it was “the fantastic equalizer.”

Even though he admits he was not the best student in high faculty, Dwaun was privileged to have a “guardian angel” and mentors who believed in him and showed him the way, even guiding him by the system of applying for school economical aid.

“I am unapologetic about mentoring youthful people,” he exclaims. “It’s our mission to academically, personally, socially and spiritually create college students.”

Dwaun notes that HBCUs have been elementary to setting up a class of Black experts in the United States. Even though HBCUs stand for less than 3% of schools and universities in the nation, they produce 23% of the country’s Black graduates. Some 40% of Black individuals with STEM (science, technologies, engineering and mathematics) levels were educated at HBCUs, and 70% of Black dentists and health professionals training these days attended HBCUs. He states these schools and universities realize success by creating a nurturing setting that takes a holistic solution to educating students.

“At HBCUs, no issue how you occur in, you are substantially superior when you get out,” he states. “It’s significant that our students have genuine influence, to produce a additional just culture for all.”

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Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a investigation-dependent biopharmaceutical organization that discovers, develops and commercializes impressive medicines in parts of unmet professional medical need. The company strives to remodel and simplify treatment for folks with existence-threatening health problems all-around the entire world. Gilead has operations in a lot more than 35 nations worldwide, with headquarters in Foster Town, California.

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