Diversity Blast: Love & Justice

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” -Cornel West

 We often start our meetings in the office with “highs and lows” during which we share the high and low points of the week before. This week started with the low: late into Saturday evening, a hung jury was declared on the first degree murder charge leveled against Michael Dunn, the white man who shot and killed Jordan Davis, an unarmed 17-year old black child. The familiar feelings of disgust, anger and disappointment I’d felt following the Trayvon Martin verdict surged up in me, and made me do a quick-glance around the room I was in: the only person of color in an unfamiliar town in an unfamiliar bar. All of a sudden, the laughter from the table over rang loud and false, full of something nasty. What joy could be had when there was no justice for Jordan Davis and his family, and when it is still so dangerous to be black? Like so many injustices before it, Michael Dunn’s mistrial underscored what we’ve come to expect: that black and brown life will not be deemed worthy, and that justice is only meant to be served to us in the form of racial profiling, police harassment and a racially- and economically motivated drug war instead of for us, as we were led to believe it should.

My high point came last night as over one hundred students, teachers, education professionals and civic activists sat in Lipscomb’s Swang Hall to hear Curtis Acosta share his philosophy of culturally responsive pedagogy through the lens of his personal experiences as a teacher of the now-banned Mexican-American Studies curriculum in Arizona. The crux of Acosta’s presentation: love. A revolutionary and transcendent love that encompasses both empathy and action, much like Paulo Freire, bell hooks, Cornel West and so many other educator-activists. For them, love is a matter of justice and justice a matter of love. The theme of this week’s blast is Love & Justice, and we will explore the ways in which people across our nation have extended their love to those who’ve been disempowered in order to achieve full justice for all.

——–

Artists Create Portraits of Justice After Dunn and Zimmerman Trials by Carla Murphy

  • In the wake of both trials, artists across ages and races have taken to their respective media to comment on the lost lives of black children.

On the Killing of Jordan Davis by Michael Dunn by Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • Essayist Ta-Nehisis Coates explores America’s history of trivializing black life through the lens of parenthood.

In 1970, Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Invoked Love for Women and Gay Activists in the Struggle

  • As a Black Nationalist leader, Huey P. Newton used his position of power to speak to ending discrimination against LGBT and women’s rights activists. Recognizing that revolutionaries share a similar path, he sought to reach across the aisle and bolster the movement for these groups.


Obama to Announce Young Men of Color Initiative
 by Carla Murphy

  • As an extension of the Justice and Ed Department’s initiatives to address the School-to-Prison Pipeline, President Obama has announced a plan to reach out to young men of color, and bring them into folds of a fully realized enfranchisement.


Attorney General Eric Holder Calls for Restoring Voting Rights to Former Felons
 by Brentin Mock

  • As one of the most openly justice-oriented Attorney Generals in recent history, Eric Holder continues his push to fully enfranchise as many Americans as possible. While many have sought to bring down mandatory minimums for prison sentences, AG Holder would like to restore the full citizenship of former felons.

This is What It Looks Like When Dozens of Clergy and Faith Leaders Get Arrested for Protesting Obama’s Deportations by Esther Yu-Hsi Lee

  • Religious leaders rally around undocumented Americans to protest deportations carried out by the current administration.

Washington State Poised to Give Undocumented Students Financial Aid Access by Esther Yu-Hsi Lee

  • Here’s to hoping our state takes a similar route 🙂

Fearless Talk about Love in Education

  • Educator/blogger Kristin Olson speaks on what it takes to be a phenomenal and social justice oriented educator: love.

Obama Will Now Include Workers with Disabilities in his Minimum Wage Hike by Sy Mukhergee

  • Recognizing the gaps within the lowest-wage earning workers, the Obama administration would like to raise the wages of workers with disabilities to be equal with that of the able-bodied.

What We Should Learn From Avonte Oquendo’s death by Malaka Wilson-Greene

  • Avonte Oquendo, a 14 year old black child with non-verbal autism, went missing during school hours in October of last year. Last month, his body was found, which raised questions of how safe the black body, and in particular a black, disabled body, is in school.

Curtis Acosta begins his presentations with a unifying clap and a chanting of the Luis Valdez’s Mayan-inspired poem “In Lak’Ech” as an invocation of love, empathy and doing unto others as you would have done to you.  It reads:

In the spirit of In Lak’Ech, love and justice,

Brynn

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