Ulric Shannon on Championing Equity, Social Justice and Anti-Racism

What can I say, he is a humble humanitarian, an enthusiastic educator, a culture curator, and a fantastically-flawed Chicagoan. Growing up in the Austin neighborhood, Ulric calls it his “home space.” It’s a place where he sees excellence, love, talent, and affirmation of his identity.

“My community inspires me. We are directly impacted by systemic racism, and yet we continue to persevere! It inspired me to dismantle systems of oppression in my community – specifically in education. I want to make sure that my community is not trying to survive, but thrive in all of its beauty and excellence, starting with our children.” – Ulric

“It is my responsibility to contribute to the movement to champion equity, social justice, and anti-racism that will change the face of my community, city, and country.” – Ulric Shannon

What are the best resources that have helped you along the way?

 I have been blessed with so many communities that helped me along the way. I would first say, my family and close life-long friends. They have always held me accountable and to a standard of excellence while remaining my full authentic self. Next would be my Lane Tech community, my Posse community, and my Surge community. They have each helped me realize my full potential academically, professionally, and personally as I navigate adulthood as a first general college graduate and professional. 

Who has been the most influential person to you?

My father – He is the most selfless person I know. He has always been a man of integrity, commitment, and patience. He taught me how to be an upstanding man. He taught me that I have so much value and to use it all for good. These are all things that influenced how I lead with relationships with my friends, in relationships, and professionally. He also indirectly taught me the importance of being honest, working hard, caring for others, and being patient even through the toughest of times. And lastly, he showed me to appreciate life. He is a very simple man.

You see that calm gentleman all the way in the back? Yup! That ‘s Mr. Shannon, Ulric’s dad.

What is your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it?

Perpetuating white supremacy culture was detrimental to my confidence and my belief in my people’s ability. I learned that with my 3 (master) degrees, I was chasing white people’s validation because I had given them power over determining if I was “good enough.” In reality, I was great, amazing, awesome, spectacular, intelligent, more than enough, and so much more from the jump!

As an educator, Ulric wants to lead the students with high expectations. He wants them to know that they are deserving and that they need to be recognized and celebrated. He wants them to see their own greatness because he believes that their excellence has always been within them.

“To the younger generation: Sawubona – I see you, I respect you, and I value you!” -Ulric

To stay on top of things within his role, Ulric stays in conversation with his community. He shares and seeks knowledge with his friends, family, and colleagues. He also actively seek out learning spaces and communities of practice – fellowships and reading books.

Follow Ulric on Twitter – @ChicagoUlric
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/ulricshannon/  

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