Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Mattering & Belonging Resources

The mission of the Jones Center for Leadership and Service is to educate and engage all students to lead and serve the global community, and we believe everyone has the ability and responsibility to engage in leadership as a process, advocate for social justice, and better the world. We recognize Vol is a Verb – therefore, we need to further commit ourselves to leadership and service that is rooted in equity, justice, mattering, and belonging. All of us have a responsibility to learn about systemic barriers that prevent a sense of belonging, understand our positionality within that system, and actively engage in both self and collective work to change systems that cause harm. The JCLS staff is dedicated to personal and professional education around these issues. It is our hope to create tangible action items to hold our office, programs, and services accountable. As a result, we will be reflecting on the following questions to ground our next steps in building a foundation that supports mattering and belonging:

  • How will we continue to cultivate a physical and virtual space that is welcoming and affirming?
  • How will we share resources and engage in tough conversations?
  • How will we recognize, acknowledge, and act against racism whenever and wherever we encounter it?
  • How will we ensure that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) are represented in our space – in the leadership resources that we provide, the community partners that we engage with, and in the professional and student staff that lead and serve through our office?

Vol is a Verb is a campus-wide campaign designed to support the Mattering & Belonging initiative, encouraging Volunteers to put actions behind our words to ensure that everyone feels like they matter and belong on Rocky Top. The Vol is a Verb website is an excellent resource.

As a staff, we have compiled the following list of tips, resources, and local businesses to support: 

  • Examine and unpack your own privilege.
  • Understand the intersectional connections between racism, economic issues, sexism, and other forms of injustice.
  • Don’t center the narrative around you – your job is to listen.
  • Support Black-owned businesses.
  • Check in on your Black friends, family, partners and colleagues. Don’t know what to say? Start here.
  • Do not circulate graphic videos of Black people being killed. It’s traumatic and unnecessary.
  • If you can and choose to make a donation, consider doing it monthly to show continued support.
  • If you are able, register to vote and exercise this right both in local and federal elections.
  • Make informed decisions about the businesses you choose to support financially. Do your research about companies’ hiring practices, financial contributions, and leadership. Do their decisions align with anti-racist values?
  • Financial literacy and educational resources from, a free financial aid resource accredited by the Better Business Bureau.


  • Think about how you were taught about race and culture. What do you know now that you didn’t know then that would change some of your opinions/actions?
  • What’s your earliest memory of becoming aware of your own racial identity?
  • How does it make you feel when a person of color calls something you did or said racist?

Action Items

  • How do you plan on helping the fight to end racial discrimination and systematic oppression?
  • How can you be actively anti-racist instead of simply “not racist”?
  • How can you use your knowledge to change and progress conversations with friends, family, colleagues and peers?

Providing Multicultural Education


*Available through Hodges Library.

Children’s Books:

  • Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz
  • Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea David Pinkey
  • The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Something Happened in Our Town by Marianna Celano
  • Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills by Renee Watson
  • When We Were Alone by David A Robertson
  • Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
  • A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
  • The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
  • The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler



  • 13th (Netflix)
  • When They See Us (Netflix)
  • Just Mercy (Amazon Prime)
  • American Son (Netflix)
  • Within our Gates (watch free on YouTube)
  • Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 (YouTube, GooglePlay, iTunes)
  • Clemency (Amazon Prime, Hulu)
  • Dear White People (Netflix)
  • I Am Not Your Negro (Amazon Prime, YouTube, GooglePlay)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Hulu)
  • King In The Wilderness (Hulu, HBO Max)
  • The Hate U Give (rent for free on YouTube, Amazon Prime, & Google Play; also on Hulu)
  • See You Yesterday (Netflix)
  • Selma (rent for free on YouTube, Amazon Prime, & Google Play)
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (Amazon Prime, iTunes)
  • Fruitvale Station (YouTube, Amazon Prime, & Google Play)
  • Crash (Hulu, YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Prime)
  • Freedom Writers (watch free on Pluto TV)


Content inspired by Fatima Del Barco and Mads Murphy’s ALLYSHIP/ACTIVISM RESOURCES FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITY