New UWEC Director hopes to collaborate with the Eau Claire Community

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 5:58 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A first of its kind Racial and Restorative Justice Center at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is ready to launch with a new Director at the helm.

The Center for Racial and Restorative Justice was created at UWEC in 2020 with the goal of creating a hub for collaboration and research over topics related to race. The only piece missing was someone to bring the vision to life.

“What we were looking for is someone with a social conscience, passion for community advocacy, and grit,” Olga Diaz, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity, said. “And that’s exactly what we found.”

Catherine Emmanuelle stepped into her new role as a Director of the Racial and Restorative Justice Center at the end of June. She said her passion for racial and restorative justice was sparked by her family history.

“What was so meaningful to me is that my great grandmother came from Guanajuato, Mexico and started her family,” Emmanuelle said. “Of course my grandma was part of that. Just thinking back, who helped my grandma or great grandma as part of joining our country?”

As a UWEC alum, Emmanuelle says she feels at home in her new position and it’s something she feels destined to be a part of.

“One of those bucket list items of just pure joy with my soul and with what I can contribute as a professional is being the first director here for the Center of Race and Restorative Justice, " Emmanuelle said.

Emmanuelle said one of her main goals in this new position is to expand the role of the center to not only be a resource for Blugolds, but for the Eau Claire community as well.

“Both with learning from students, learning from our faculty and staff, but also understanding from our community,” Emmanuelle said. “Where are our highest needs and what resources can we have from our community, so that together we can be stronger and more productive.”

Diaz said that the work Emmanuelle is doing now is a part of a long-term goal the university has for the Center.

“Our goal is that in the next ten years this center will be nationally recognized for its work on these very difficult subject matters,” Diaz said.

Emmanuelle said they are in the early stages of programming the Center and she encourages people to reach out with ideas.

You can reach Emmanuelle at her email: emmancn@uwec.edu.

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