Summer for Social Justice

July 16, 2019

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April Reign in "Drip Drop"

Summer is usually a time of get-togethers and being outside. Many of our partners are doing just that. But they’re not just grilling at barbeques or hitting the beach. They’re speaking out and launching multiple projects for social justice.

At the end of June, April Reign (CC ‘17) hosted panels and conversations regarding diversity and inclusion in the areas of culture and advertising at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. April was also featured in a virtual reality project, "Drip Dropwhich premiered at Cannes Lions. Viewers of the project interact with and hear stories of four people who didn’t see themselves in the creative industry, and then took action.

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On Juneteenth (June 19), Dante Barry (CC ‘16) of Million Hoodies Movement for Justice announced the launch of their newest campaign: FREE VALLEJO, a “multi-racial campaign to end gun violence and demand safety beyond policing comprised of survivors of gun violence.” They’re partnering with Vallejo for Racial Justice, California Families United 4 Justice, Anti Police Terror Project, Justice Teams Network, Presente.org, and National Families United 4 Justice on this campaign. The campaign created a social media toolkit in case you feel moved to support and amplify!

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At Stanford University, Jess X. Snow (CC ‘17) created a mural for students of color finding ways to heal from trauma. The mural illustrates on the outside what happens on the inside of the building housing the Institute for Diversity in the Arts. Jess writes that “this mural is about the Mother Earth offering a transference of healing to a younger, sweetheart figure, who is constellated by a community of young activists.” Read more in this article from the San Francisco Chronicle. Jess also finished another mural on the construction board outside of Google’s office in New York City (8th Ave and 16th St). The mural uplifts three trans and non-binary folks of color who call NYC their home. It will be up until October.

Congratulations to Bakari Kitwana (CC ‘16) who was recently named a WEB Dubois Research Institute Fellow at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African American Research. Bakari will work at the Harvard Hiphop Archive to create a digital video archive on hip-hop and presidential elections. Last month, at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Bakari joined Jasiri X (CC ‘12,13 & 16) in a conversation with Cornel West on the one-year anniversary of the police killing of Antwon Rose. 

And in memory of Rose, Jasiri X (CC ‘12,13 & 16) released this month, the first track off his new project, "A Tale of Three Rivers" about the city of Pittsburgh's tumultuous 2018. The track, “Purple Roses” was engineered by Soy Sos at Tuff Sound Recordings and produced by RLGN.

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Andrew Friedman (CC ‘16) has been busy preparing for the Center for Popular Democracy’s People's Convention in Detroit later this month, bringing together over 1,700 grassroots leaders, organizers, elected officials, movement artists and leading national progressive voices. “It will be a great mix of community-building, direct action, culture and organizing and leadership development,” he writes.

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Crystal Echohawk (CC ‘17) just launched a new narrative change toolkit that translates the research from the Reclaiming Native Truth project into actionable tools that can be easily shared. The report has raised important awareness about how toxic stereotypes that are perpetuated by media, pop culture and K-12 education fuel bias and racism against Native peoples, as well how to advance narrative change and social justice. Crystal also encourages you to sign their pledge to join the movement and stay tuned for more campaigns and actions coming soon.

Earlier this month, The New York Times Op-Docs, POV and Tribeca Film Institute presented the theatrical premiere of Michael Premo’s (CC ‘14) short film Water Warriors. Michael was part of a Q&A after the screening.

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Salvador Sarmiento (CC ‘17) and the National Day Laborer’s Network (NDLON) just launched RADIO JORNALERA, a “super cool day laborer radio station out of Pasadena, CA.” NDLON also released a new Jornaleros del Norte (day laborer band) music video and an animated video about migrant children detained in Border Patrol camps.

In their report, "Online Manipulation of Visual Content for Anti-Immigrant Propaganda," WITNESS analyzed nearly one million tweets to better understand how online activism and images related to immigration justice can be manipulated to harass individuals or groups, spread false information, and incite hate. The report includes valuable recommendations on how to create online imagery that is less likely to be re-contextualized or co-opted. It also offers guidance for groups on how to prevent, prepare for, and respond to online attacks.

Media Placements:

Sunu Chandy (CI ‘19) wrote for ReWire News on the potential impact of three cases before the Supreme Court next term about whether worker protections exclude LGBTQ employees. In her article, Gender-Based Stereotypes Have No Place in Employment Decisions. Will the Supreme Court Agree?” Sunu writes, “The U.S. Supreme Court must decide these matters in line with decades of precedent and confirm that federal protections against sex stereotyping apply to all workers. That way all of us who don’t conform to sex stereotypes—based on our behaviors, our dress, our gender identity, or based on who we love—will not be excluded from critical civil rights protections in the workplace.”

Jorge Vasquez (CI ‘18) appeared on ABC News this month, to comment on the end of the citizenship question on the Census.

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The New Yorker  magazine covered Laurie Jo Reynolds' (CI ‘15 & CC '10 & '13) project, Photo Requests from Solitary, that fulfills the photography requests of inmates being held in solitary confinement. The project is part of her work with Tamms Year Ten, a coalition that protested the conditions at Tamms Correctional Center and achieved their goal of closing its supermax detention after a very long struggle. Now the project works to support ending solitary in other states. For the photo project, the group also asks inmates to fill out a form describing a picture that they would like to receive. A volunteer will then create it.

At the end of June, Deanna Hoskins (CI ‘19) wrote for the Hill on Language Matters for Justice Reform and the need to stop using words like offenders, convicts, prisoners and felons. “When we no longer define someone in the media or other arenas as “other,” we shift culture and policies toward human rights and dignity,” Hoskins writes. “By making a conscious effort to change, we can use language that addresses injustice without dehumanizing people — especially black and brown people facing disproportionate discrimination after a record.”