'Change starts here': Temple University commemorates opening of Anti-Racism Center

Temple University on Monday held the grand opening of its newly established Center for Anti-Racism.

Several people spoke at the opening commemoration, including the center's director Timothy Welbeck. A civil rights attorney, Welbeck is also an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Africology and African-American studies.

"As we seek to create scholarship that will shape the course of the discourse," Welbeck said.  "To help us better understand what racism is, how it reveals itself and how we can better fight against it."

The idea for Temple's Anti-Racism Center started two years ago, in a time of racial reckoning following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others. 

"The work needs to be done regardless of whether it’s popular," Welbeck said.  "Temple is committed to continuing this work even though it’s no longer a trending topic."


Temple University President Jason Wingard says they just rolled out their strategic plan and this center is a big part of his vision.

"Some of those priorities include providing value for all students leading to professional success," said Wingard. "Accelerate a commitment to an impactful civic and community engagement."

Professor Molefi Kefe Asante has been the voice of anti-racism at Temple for decades.

"It will also work toward getting rid of all the other oppressions we have," Asante said. "Antisemitism, we will work toward the anti LQBTQ faction. We will also work toward the attack on black women."

The center was built using a $1.3 million state grant with Senator Sharif Street on hand at the grand opening.

"It is not enough for the group of people who are being oppressed to speak against their own oppression," Street said.  "People say, of course, that’s going to happen, other folk have to do it."

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta was instrumental in securing the funding and he's proud that Temple followed through on creating the center.

"We are in a moment right now where there are other universities in our commonwealth who made similar commitments to engage in the work of anti-racism who are going in the other direction," Kenyatta said.

At the entrance to the center there is a pledge board asking for everyone to sign on in the fight to end racism.

Students will be able to engage in research, volunteer and be a part of programing in the Spring