We have an important announcement to share with you. The organization you’ve known first as the University of Mississippi Institute for Racial Reconciliation, and for the past two decades as the William Winter Institute, will now be called The Alluvial Collective. Our roots have gotten deeper, our work remains generative, and we continue to grow.
Governor William F. Winter served as more than a namesake to this organization. He was our leader, mentor, friend, and advocate. From the Institute’s earliest days, he was profoundly and personally inspirational to those who served as staff and those who engaged with our work. Sadly, both he and his wife, Elise, have passed away. Our team and the Winter family agree that Governor Winter’s legacy will always be a part of this organization. We can confidently look ahead to grow and to impact the future from the seeds of that legacy.
The word “alluvium” comes from natural science; it refers to the rich deposits of earth created by flowing water. Here in Mississippi, the Mississippi Alluvial Plain created by our Great River stretches from top to bottom of the state and beyond. As individuals, we are formed from the deposits of history and actions of those who came before us. From the beginning, our multi-generational community-building work has drawn from this history—sometimes joyous, sometimes painful, but always deep and enriching— to ground our learning and approaches.
In adopting the word “Collective” to describe our organization, we expand belonging and expand our horizons. Put simply, we invite each of you to join in this organization’s work.
While the name and the logo are changing, many of the people and relationships that have given us life remain the same. Our collective continues to grow and meet the new challenges of our contemporary world. In recent years, many of you have reminded us of how essential our community building work is. This work has grown beyond an initial focus on racial reconciliation. Race continues to underscore so many of the challenges faced in Mississippi and this country, and we are also resolved to work towards ending discrimination based on differences of any kind.
Since our founding, thousands of students, community members, and leaders of all kinds have undergone personal transformation through the Welcome Table, Summer Youth Institute, and other experiences with us. They have gone on to become influential changemakers, collectively moving our communities closer towards equity. As The Alluvial Collective, we’ll continue to be rooted in helping a community’s possibilities grow. Each of us has something to share and contribute. Drawing from the rich deposits made by those before us and looking towards the legacy we’ll leave for future generations, together we will help guide the future to a brighter place.