Human Science Major Co-Founds Organization to Confront Racism, Promote Cultural Diversity
August 12, 2020 – Nina Williams (NHS’22) recently co-founded, with a high school friend, the Student Coalition Against Racism. The human science major hopes the organization – focusing on confronting racism and promoting cultural diversity – will create dialogue, awareness, and change. During the past two years, Williams has also served with the Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service and One Tent Health, which offers free HIV screenings.
Question: Where did you grow up, and how did you learn about Georgetown?
Williams: I have spent most of my life in Massachusetts, but also lived in Michigan and Alabama for 10 years collectively. Georgetown wasn’t really on my radar until I went to the Women’s March on Washington in 2017. I fell in love with the city then and looked into schools in the area.
Question: How are you enjoying the human science major?
Williams: I love the human science major! The students in the major have really bonded over the years and created a close-knit community. Contentwise, it has combined my desire to study the hard sciences as they relate to human health while integrating topics about public health.
Question: Tell us about your leadership with the Student Coalition Against Racism and more about the organization.
Williams: I co-founded the Student Coalition Against Racism (SCAR) in June 2020 with a friend from high school. Following the national unrest and response to the grave injustices that continue to threaten people of color, we decided it was long overdue to take a critical look at the ways our high school was successful or unsuccessful in educating students about racism and cultural diversity.
I personally felt inadequately prepared by my education before Georgetown, but now I am able to recognize the culture of intolerance within the school, as well as how limited the spectrum of coursework was that we experienced. We recruited 25 students and alumni, those of whom spanned from the Class of 2014 to 2024, and we all shared the same sentiment and eagerness to advocate for change in the district.
Over the following months, we worked to collect opinions and testimonials of over 235 current students, alumni, community members, and faculty. With the community voices behind us, we wrote a “Letter of Suggestions” to the administration about the priorities of concern and suggestions for how to address the concerns. The five areas of priority were curriculum, school culture, discipline, the armed school resource officer, and the lack of diversity of faculty and administration.
We released the letter on July 28 and have garnered 305 supporting signatures within this first week. We are now in communication with the administration and school committee about instituting the changes we seek.
Question: What other activities have you been involved in while at Georgetown? How have you enjoyed those?
Williams: I am involved with GERMS as an EMT and as the director of public relations. I’ve been able to learn so much about medicine and patient care through the organization, as well as made some of my closest friends with other members.
I am also heavily involved with One Tent Health, a nonprofit that gives free HIV screening and other services to marginalized communities in DC. I work for them as a grant writer, education chair of the Student Advisory Board, and site leader. Creating an equitable health system is something I see myself continuing to work on once I leave school, so One Tent has been beyond valuable in my education about health inequities and building new systems that help those who are too often overlooked.
I also work in the Georgetown University Medical Center in the Office of Faculty and Academic Affairs, where I edit CVs for faculty members going up for promotion.
Question: What are your plans for the future?
Williams: I have not decided on where I see myself next, but I do know that I’m interested in addressing health inequities caused by marginalization and poverty. I have considered seeking a dual juris doctor and master of public health degree, or living abroad to study other health systems. I am also in the process of starting my own non-profit.