February 2018 DEI Spotlight
Name: Whitney Sherrill
Preferred Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
Affiliation/Title: Graduate Student
Degree(s): B.S. Chemical Engineering: Nonprofit Studies Minor, Master of Urban Planning Candidate
Home Country: United States of America
Language(s) Spoken: English
Gender Identity: Woman
Racial Identity: While race, as a category, functions more to divide, oppress, and build hierarchies than to honor individual identities, I do identify with, and engage with what is often referred to as “black culture”.
Favorite Food: Roasted Butternut Squash
What are other identities that you would like to share?: Differently Abled, Bisexual, Christian, and Female.
Favorite book/author and why: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. James Baldwin was an incredible writer and prolific thinker. The issues he lays before his nephew to understand are just as relevant today as they were then, and his revelations of race and religion are profound and powerful.
Favorite thing to do when not at TC: Spend Time with Family and Close Friends.
Why is diversity, equity and inclusion important to you? One of the most pressing issues of our time is dehumanization. We live in a time of intense tribalism and othering -- leading to a lack of empathy, self-awareness, willingness to listen, and understanding. Within my own personal responsibility of engaging with everyday activism, I also mindfully engage in “everyday humanization” -- the process by which, through each interaction, I attempt to invite those within my immediate sphere of influence to be wholly, unashamedly, and completely themselves. Providing a continuous platform for difference to be used as a tool for breaking down barriers and building unity allows for all of us to be better in our practice and our personal lives. When we strive to include and embrace, providing a seat at the table for all voices, that, within itself, is an act of political warfare.
DEI Contribution/Highlight: Whitney served as president for the Urban Planning MLK Committee. Whitney had the opportunity to co-curate an event that included a panel of black women who were thought leaders in the city of Detroit. The discussion that resulted from the panel included an exploration of unequal development patterns. The discussion also included an exploration of opportunities for leveraging resident interests and voices in the decision-making process for planning and development in the city of Detroit. The event received great feedback from professionals in the field, Taubman faculty, and Taubman students, and the broad range of participants showed that community-based development was valuable, and of interest, to a number of stakeholders in the future of Detroit.