CWU News

Southern Poverty Law Center to Address Central Washington Social Climate Issues

As part of the ongoing effort to strengthen and support respectful communities, Central Washington University students, faculty, and staff, and community members will hear from Lecia Brooks, the outreach director for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). She will come to Ellensburg for a series of campus discussions on Monday, February 13.

The series will include a free, public presentation titled “Building Respectful Communities: Transcending Hate” at 5:30 p.m. in the Student Union and Recreation Center Ballroom. During her talk, Brooks will provide a historical context of the social climate within Kittitas County. She will also share SPLC data on hate incidents that have occurred post-election and discuss how to navigate this landscape.

Her presentation is sponsored by the university and Not in Our KittCo (NIOKC), a community movement that promotes collaboration to build a safe and inclusive environment. SPLC officials have been in contact with the university and community following recent local distribution of Ku Klux Klan flyers.

“What caught my interest, in particular, was the immediate, positive community response in that the community came together to stand against these racist flyers that were being spread across town,” Brooks said.

Two exclusive campus forums will also be held—one for faculty and staff, the other for students.

The brown bag luncheon, titled “Speak Up!” encourages faculty and staff to share their ideas and opinions on social challenges in the workplace and classrooms. Brooks, in turn, will offer strategies to address micro-aggressions, overt racism, and external and internal biases.

University students will get the chance to participate during a “Student Real Talk,” which will specifically address student issues. During the session, Brooks will answer questions and provide ways to help one another when hate occurs.

The presentations are co-sponsored by the CWU Office of Student Involvement, Center for Leadership and Community Engagement, Associated Students of CWU, Brother 2 Brother, SISTERS, and Africana and Black Studies.

Not In Our Kittitas County and CWU also arranged Brooks’ visit to Columbia Basin College in Pasco on February 14.

Media contact: Dawn Alford, Public Affairs Coordinator, 509-963-1484,

--February 3, 2017