Tuesday, February 11, 2014

1,000 Speak Out for Racial Justice (hosted by the United Coalition for Racial Justice, or UCRJ)

Who: The UCRJ is a coalition of undergraduate and graduate students, student organizations, faculty, administrators, and employees building on the current momentum and long history of racial justice activism at UM.

USists is proud to join with Black Humanities Collective (BHC); DAAS Racial Task Force; Arts of Citizenship; Graduate Employees Organization (UM GEO); The Black Student Union; Residential College; American Culture Discretionary Funds Grant; Integrating Diversity and Equality in the Academy (IDEA); American Indian Studies Interdisciplinary Group (AISIG); Doing Queer Studies Now (DQSN), and many other sponsoring/supporting organizations to co-sponsor this student-centered demonstration and dialogue.

Where: Shapiro Undergraduate Library (note that a space will be reserved in the library for quiet study only.)

What/When: UCRJ’s event begins at 8 PM, Tuesday, February 18th with a student-led open mic and a keynote address by Barbara Ransby. Dr. Ransby is Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, History, and African American Studies at University of Illinois, Chicago and was a founding member of the United Coalition Against Racism (UCAR) as a graduate student at UM.

Sessions that follow include: teach-in discussions of specific topics like affirmative action, the history of student organizing, and the language of "diversity" (10 PM-1:30 AM, schedule below); student performances; documentary film screenings; spaces for collaboration among student organizations to develop policy strategies and to draft and workshop addresses to the Board of Regents. These sessions run to 8 AM, Wednesday the 19th. Free pizza and coffee will be provided.

How you can participate/support:
- Attend any portion of the event you can, especially the Tuesday 8 PM open mic/keynote by Barbara Ransby.
- Share the event with your students and colleagues and direct them to the teach-in session topics listed below.
- For the social media savvy, connect via Facebook, and sign up for UCRJ's "Thunderclap" (Thunderclap works by asking you to authorize an automatic posting about UCRJ to the social media platform of your choice--e.g. Facebook, Twitter--that will appear at the same time as everyone else who signs up to create a social media blitz on the 17th.)

Schedule of Teach-In Sessions

Session A (10-11:15 PM):

Affirmative Action at the Supreme Court 
Organized by: Robin Zheng
With: Matthew Countryman and Shanta Driver

Shanta Driver, national director of the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action (BAMN), and Matthew Countryman, Associate Professor of History and African-American Studies, are plaintiffs in the Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action case that is currently up for review by the Supreme Court.

Race in the Classroom
Organized by: Lisa Jong
With: Mejdulene Shomali, Wendy Cortes, and Megan Sweeney

This session invites students and instructors to think together to generate strategies and share resources for responding to uncomfortable interactions concerning race and racism in classroom contexts and for fostering an ethic of dialogue in our classrooms from day one. 

“Leaders and Best”: Exploring Michigan’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion 
Organized by: Becky Christensen
With: Kimberly Reyes, Kyle Southern, Aurora Kamimura, and Laura Sanchez-Parkinson

In this session, participants will consider both ways in which the University of Michigan has positioned itself among “the leaders and best” in promoting diversity and inclusion and the approaches student activists have taken to more closely align real conditions with the institution’s professed values. We will also discuss potential approaches the University could take to promote a more diverse and supportive community and share stories of student activism in promoting positive change.

Campus and Community Organizing 101: Detroit and Ann Arbor,
Tensions and Contradictions
Organized by: Lumas Helaire
With: Shari Robinson-Lynk, Stephen Ward, and Craig Regester

During our time together, Shari Robinson-Lynk (African American woman born & raised in Detroit who now resides in Ann Arbor; not a UM alum); Stephen Ward (African American man born & raised outside of Michigan; not a UM alum) & Craig Regester (White man; former resident of the city of Detroit & UM alum) will share their varied personal and professional narratives around living, working and organizing in Detroit. Please come prepared to engage in critical dialogue with these three UM scholars and activists. 

Session B (12-1:15 AM):

Political Organizing
Organized by: Sumana Paelle
With: Isaac Epstein and Dominic Barbato

This session will focus on important tactics and strategies to organize effective campaigns and protests, why some tactics and strategies have worked in UM's past and nationwide, and why others have failed. 

Student Organizing
Organized by: Chloe Brown
With: Mayra Orozco and Mimi Fadlallah

What does it mean to lead by example? Being an activist starts with being active in your community. Learn how to cultivate your personal leadership style. 

What is “Diversity” Anyway? A Conversation about Michigan’s Institutional Rhetoric
Organized by: Frank Kelderman
With: Valentina Montero-Roman, Kyle Grady, and Cass Adair

In this session we will collaboratively examine Michigan’s statements on “diversity” in websites, qualitative studies, and handbooks. We hope to start a critical conversation on the way the University has employed the rhetoric of inclusiveness, and how that rhetoric has shaped action or inaction in terms of dealing with campus climate issues and the enrollment of underrepresented minorities. Looking ahead to the ongoing project of pressuring the administration—including at the upcoming Regent’s Meeting of February 2014—this session will also offer a space to think in practical terms about how and when the rhetoric of diversity might become more than institutional self-promotion, and can instead serve a more critical reflection on its own policies and accomplishments. 

History of Student Organizing
Organized by: Rachel Webb
With: Elizabeth Hinton

In this session, we will walk through the history of student activism on the University of Michigan’s campus. In light of the current movement Being Black at the University of Michigan (#BBUM) and the case for reopening Affirmative Action, it is important to examine past movements and their outcomes, both short and long term.

We look forward to seeing you at this and other upcoming events:

Thurs. 2/13, 4 pm, Angell 3222
- A talk by Caroline Levander (Rice University): "Designing American Literature"
Mon. 2/24, 4 pm, Angell 3241
- Dissertation Chapter Workshop and Discussion with Konstantina Karageorgos

Mon. 3/17, 4 pm, Angell 3241
- Dissertation Chapter Workshop and Discussion with Sony Coranez Bolton

Mon. 3/24, 4 pm, Angell 3222
- Lecture by Hsuan Hsu (UC Davis): "Twain, Chinese Immigration, and Comparative Racialization"

Tues. 3/25, 4 pm, Angell 3241
- Discussion of Prof. Hsu's work-in-progress, "Literary Cartographies and the Scales of Environmental Justice"