Lift Me Up: Fostering Belonging Beyond the Classroom

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Akilah R. Carter-Francique School of Education, Health and Human Services, Benedict College, Columbia, SC, USA

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The purpose of this article is to encourage administrators, faculty, and staff to foster a sense of belonging for students of color in kinesiology and affiliated academic units at institutions of higher education. Kinesiology is vast and has a range of corresponding workforce careers; however, despite equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts, people of color still lag behind in representation. Acknowledging the current social and legislative climate that seeks to dismantle equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts, the American Kinesiology Association as a leadership-driven membership has the opportunity to further its stance and governance through amplifying the sense of belonging as a social justice practice. Fostering a holistic sense of belonging for students of color beyond the conventional classroom can promote successful student outcomes with increased academic engagement and use of support services, increased personal self-concept and mental health and wellness, and an overall satisfaction with the college experience.

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