Tag Archives: healing and advocacy

UPDATES – SEPTEMBER 24, 2020

Dear Members of the Emerson Community,

This community update was written before yesterday’s ruling by Attorney General, Daniel Cameron, regarding the indictment of officers involved in the shooting and death of Breonna Taylor. In many ways, the content of much of this newsletter feels out of sync with this moment and what some members of the Emerson Community may be feeling or needing in this moment. Regretfully, there is no measure of consolation that I can offer to sufficiently address the pain that some of us are experiencing today.

I don’t know all of what happened in Breonna Taylor’s apartment that night. We may never know.

What I do know is that Breonna Taylor was not a suspect of a crime. She was an EMT who was working to save the lives of people during a pandemic.

What I do know is that she was sleeping in her apartment when all hell broke loose resulting in six shots being fired into her body.

What I do know is that she is one of a long list of unarmed Black people who have been killed as a result of state sanctioned violence.

What I do know is that I am grieving for her, her family, communities of color, and those of us who don’t have the privilege of safety while we sleep, run, drive or even breathe.

Today, I will grieve. Tomorrow, I will continue to work for change.

– Sylvia

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The Social Justice Center has a number of new programs that are available to the Emerson Community.

Panic & Patience Podcast – Building Community Through Art, Education, and Social Justice

The Panic & Patience Podcast series is hosted by Jae Williams, Director of Special Projects in the Social Justice Center. This series highlights the work of artists, educators, entrepreneurs, athletes, and community leaders as they explore issues affecting marginalized communities, and how we as leaders can create space and support efforts of change. “This is a space where Black and Brown folks can see themselves and their experiences reflected all of their inherit brilliance, fullness, and power,” said Sylvia Spears, Vice President for Equity & Social Justice. This series is anchored in an understanding that this work is an urgent ever-changing process of dismantling social constructs, unconscious bias, and systematic oppression, while also working to build for a future that encourages cultural humility, inclusion, and community growth. Panic & Patience is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. Season One is available at Panic & Patience on Youtube. Feel free to check out Jae’s personal Panic & Patience website: https://bit.ly/ourpanicandpatience

 
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Radical Guide for Social Justice
A collection of texts, videos, podcasts, and other multimodal materials gathered by members of the Social Justice Center as we work to deepen our individual knowledge and collective practice. We share this collection for those who are also interested in doing their own work for social justice. These topics provide an entry point for further exploration into social justice, anti-oppression, liberation, and organizing movements. As you expand your interest in any particular area, we encourage you to take an intersectional approach by exploring other topics as well. Visit https://guides.library.emerson.edu/radical
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Healing & Advocacy

We’re still available and can connect via email, phone, and through video calls! Some additional ways to connect are though:

Trauma Informed Yoga
Focused on listening to your body.
Wednesdays from 6-7 PM EST on Zoom
Register at: https://tinyurl.com/Y67j6RN0

Support Group
A space for folks to gather who have experienced PBIV.
For more information or to join, email advocacy@emerson.edu

What We Grow: An Intentional Practice Community
This Practice Community is an intentional 8 week-long space focused on growing self-accountability in our own lives through relationships and cultivating a beginning understanding of transformative justice. This group is inspired by the article ‘Dreaming Accountability’ by Mia Mingus, her work, and the work of BATJC, Just Practice, and many, many other femme, trans, and gender expansive communities of color who have long been rooting into practices of community accountability. For more information or to join, email advocacy@emerson.edu

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A Book Club Won’t Save Us: Study, Act, Reflect, Repeat
What does principled struggle mean? More importantly, why does it matter? Join Samantha Ivery, Director of Diversity & Equity Initiatives in the Social Justice Center, in a 4-week series to begin a praxis of “study, act, reflect, repeat.” Participants will meet weekly for a month to:
  • Take personal responsibility for increasing our own awareness and knowledge base of societal norms linked to systemic oppression;
  • Develop critical thinking muscles to integrate dissonant themes into practice;
  • Build a repertoire of reflective practices;
  • Leave motivated to repeat.
SERIES #1
Black Lives, Native Lands, White Worlds: A History of Slavery in New England (Jared Ross Hardesty)
October 6, 13, 20, 27 – AFTERNOON 12-1PM
October 6, 13, 20, 27 – EVENING 5-6PM
 
SERIES #2
See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love (Valarie Kaur)
November 10, 17 & December 1, 8 – AFTERNOON 12-1PM
November 10, 17 & December 1, 8 – EVENING 5-6PM
 
Registration: Click the links above for the dates and time slot of your choosing. Please contact samantha_ivery@emerson.edu for questions or more details.
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What we have been reading and thinking about…

The Four Parts of Accountability: How To Give A Genuine Apology Part 1
How To Give A Genuine Apology Part 2: The Apology – The What and The How
Mia Mingus is a writer, educator and organizer for disability justice and transformative justice. Read at https://leavingevidence.wordpress.com

A Conversation About Healing Justice with Cara Page
Cara Page is a Black queer feminist cultural/memory worker, curator, and organizer. She joins Isha Weerasinghe, a senior policy analyst focused on mental health and works on CLASP’s (Center for Law and Social Policy) youth team. Watch at https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=1420060828384539
Connectfulness Podcast 010: Mending Racialized Trauma: A Body Centered Approach with Resmaa Menakem
Rebecca is joined by healer, author, and trauma specialist, Resmaa Menakem. Resmaa helps people, communities, and organizations find strength and healing that’s both holistic and resilient. Listen at https://connectfulness.com/episode/010-resmaa-menakem-racialized-trauma
The Deep by Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes
The water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society—and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future in this brilliantly imaginative novella inspired by the Hugo Award nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’ rap group Clipping. More info at https://www.riverssolomon.com/thedeep

Racial Justice and Survivor Advocacy

Pandemic, Protests, and the Redistribution of Power

The past four months have been a period of significant upheaval for people around the world, including the very communities in which we live, learn, and work. adrienne maree brown describes the pandemic as a period of compression, with those who are able to withdrawing from the world and going into the deep isolation of self-quarantine. adrienne suggests this compression, for some of us, resulted in a return to our truest natures, rediscovering who and what we value most in our lives. Some would say we have experienced a kind of spontaneous attunement to our higher and better selves.

And yet, this compression occurred against the backdrop of indisputable evidence of oppression, direct and structural violence, and systemic racism. We sit in the midst of a schism—a gap between what our higher selves want for our communities and the reality of the lived experiences of those in the margins. The result of this schism is rupture—the kind that creates disorder, shifts consciousness, and activates a desire for reclamation.

It is a time of reclaiming our bodies, our rights, our agency, our land, and our self-determination. This reclamation is revealing itself globally in the form of history-making protest. People around the world have taken to the streets to assert the rights of Black and African American people to exist in their fullest humanity. Many have realized that “none of us are free until all of us are free.” At the same time, the #MeToo movement has been re-energized and survivors are calling for individual and institutional accountability. They are naming names and daring others to live up to their promise of safety, care, and justice.

The pandemic has created an opening for transformative change. Who among us will step into co-creating the future of our deepest desires?

 
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Racial Justice at Emerson

Echoing POWER’s 2019 social media posts, blackatemerson, a new Instagram account, posed this simple question: “How have professors, administrators, and other Emersonians treated you?” In under a week’s time, over 115 students and alums, a majority who identify as Black or people of color, posted stories of their experiences at Emerson. These testimonies recount ongoing microaggressions, casual uses of the N-word, the fetishization and critique of Black women and their bodies, isolation from consistently being the only Black person in a setting, not seeing themselves reflected meaningfully in curricula, and expressions of what it feels like to be both hypervisible and invisible at the same time.

 

I am also seeing faculty and staff colleagues of color who carry the weight of supporting students of color, while also being tapped to guide their departments on diversity. All of this is occurring while they struggle to make sense of the ongoing murder and horrible treatment of people who look just like them. The emotional burden carried by students, faculty, and staff of color is tremendous, and yet they continue to do their best work in the context of an environment that every day reminds them that it wasn’t built for them.

This week, I was surprised by a message forwarded to me by a colleague at another institution, a place where I worked for five years. The letter was signed by the Board of Trustees, the President, and all members of the senior leadership team. Here are some of the commitments that college is making in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and their community’s call for racial justice:

  • Express support for movements across the nation to put an end to systemic racism, and join with them to say that Black Lives Matter and racial injustice must end.
  • Make implicit bias training mandatory for all students, faculty, and staff with commitment from the Board of Trustees to participate in the training.
  • Expand curriculum in areas addressing racial injustice, systemic racism, and institutionalized inequality.
  • Provide funding for recruitment and retention of faculty and staff of color and for Employee Resource Networks (affinity groups) to strengthen recruitment and retention.
  • Institute comprehensive exit interviews with departing faculty and staff of color to identify common themes, and begin an enhanced retention plan.
  • Increase access to therapists of color and ensure they understand race-based trauma.
  • Review and update training and policies for campus police to ensure empathetic, equitable, and just standard operating procedures.
  • Expect to be held accountable for their actions and not to expect colleagues of color—who for too long have shouldered the hard work—to lead this alone.

Only time will tell what actually happens at that institution. Maybe their commitments will lead to real and lasting change and maybe they won’t. Nonetheless, I can’t help but ask what we are willing to do at Emerson to make it the place that represents the aspirations of our better selves?

 
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Where To Begin?

Begin at the beginning by reflecting on your own beliefs and actions. Examine the ways you might be benefitting from the status quo. Then assess the norms, policies, practices of your program, your organization, your department, your office,  or your division for the existence of anti-racist practices. If you don’t know what that is referring to or you don’t see any of these practices present, then you know where to begin your work. Here are some thought-provoking resources. Warning: These resources are pointed and direct. They will make you uncomfortable. If they don’t, then you aren’t really doing the work.

Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources: http://bit.ly/ScaffoldedAntiRacistResources

A word for White People, in Two Parts by adrienne maree brown: http://adriennemareebrown.net

The Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture: https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/white-supremacy-culture-characteristics.html

 
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Survivor Advocacy and the Importance of Knowing The Landscape

This past week, I have seen a surge in community concern and survivor advocacy about power-based interpersonal violence (PBIV) and the College’s response. Questions were raised about climate in student organizations and the College’s ability to hold student leaders accountable for harms they have caused.

Survivor advocacy is critically important. Not only does it play a role in community accountability, it also serves as a powerful catalyst for change. It was survivor advocacy that sparked the review of College processes in 2014, leading to a detailed Sexual Misconduct Policy, the hire of a full-time Title IX Coordinator, and the creation of the Healing & Advocacy Collective (formerly Violence Prevention & Response). It was survivor advocacy in 2019 that resulted in a Presidential Working Group charged with examining the “sexual misconduct ecosystem” among students. This current wave of advocacy has the potential to result in continued institutional as well as cultural change at Emerson.

As you push forward, please know that survivor advocacy is most effective when grounded in deep knowledge of the landscape, including what the laws and regulations allow and what they limit, what the scope of any relevant policies are, who has responsibility for what, as well as where power is exercised and by whom. As you work to address concerns, look for the root causes of issues by asking yourself why something is occurring. The first answer you come up with is never the root cause. Continue to ask why. Here are some places to start in understanding the landscape:

 
NINE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT TITLE IX AT EMERSON COLLEGE
  1. Title IX is a federal regulation that prohibits sex discrimination in educational settings that receiving federal funding. Power-based interpersonal violence (PBIV) has historically fallen under these regulations. The regulations will change on August 14, 2020. See: New Title IX Regulations Overview at bit.ly/sjcmessages
  2. The College must comply with Title IX regulations or risk loss of federal funding. This funding comes largely in the form of financial aid. 
  3. The Sexual Misconduct Policy outlines how reports of PBIV will be addressed by Emerson. See: www.emerson.edu/policies/sexual-misconduct 
  4. The policy does not cover what occurs within student organizations or the student leadership processes. Student orgs are governed by SEAL (www.emerson.edu/seal) and student staff positions are under the purview of many departments across the College.
  5. In most instances, Emerson’s Title IX Coordinator will not launch an investigation into a report of PBIV without the participation and agreement of the person who has been affected by the harm.
  6. The Title IX Coordinator is only one of many people at Emerson responsible for the addressing reports of PBIV, the provision of accommodations or supports to people who have been harmed, and the implementation of actions to increase the safety of individuals or the campus community. See Eco-Map for Student-on-Student PBIV at https://bit.ly/sjcmessages,
    which details the range of individuals who may have an influence on what occurs in response to a report.
  7. The Title IX Coordinator does not conduct the actual investigation of reports of PBIV. Investigations are conducted by an internal or external investigator assigned to a case.
  8. The Title IX Coordinator does not have the authority to impose sanctions on any member of the community. Student sanctions are imposed by a Sanction Panel. Faculty and Staff sanctions are imposed in accordance with Appendix B of the SMP. See: www.emerson.edu/policies/sexual-misconduct#AppendixB
  9. Most importantly, despite efforts to develop trauma-informed processes and to conduct trauma-informed investigations, this process will never be sufficiently supportive of the people involved. It is a process dictated by federal regulations that was created in the likeness of a flawed legal system.
If you or someone you know has been affected by power-based interpersonal violence, please feel free to contact Greta or Melanie in the Healing & Advocacy Collective by email: advocate@emerson.edu

Updates – April 27, 2020

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows.

And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

Words by Kitty O’Meara, Art by April Nemeth, from Little Korboose at https://littlekorboose.com

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Greetings Everyone,

What an extraordinary period of time in which we are all living. Despite the rapid change and enormous upheaval that has occurred, we are somehow making our way through day-by-day. Students continue to learn, some in the safety of their homes and others as they still seek stability. Faculty continue to teach and finish up the semester after heroically transitioning their courses to an online delivery modality in a week’s time. Staff continue to get vital work done from home, while juggling their roles as parents, teachers to their children, and remote service providers.

Y algunos miembros del equipo de trabajo, aquellos que son a menudo pasados por alto, los que logran llegar diariamente a su trabajo para que el resto de nosotros podamos hacer lo que tenemos que hacer. Son ustedes y las personas como ustedes quienes nos sostienen y apoyan en nuestras vidas. Para aquellos que traen la comida, y aquellos que la preparan, los que mantienen nuestros edificios funcionando y los que nos mantienen unidos, sepan que los veo y los aprecio. Siempre han sido y serán esenciales, no por las tareas que realizan sino por quiénes son y las formas en que se mueven en el mundo. Con todo mi respeto, les deseo lo mejor a ustedes y a sus familias, y rezo para que estén protegidos de daños o perjuicios siempre, pero especialmente durante estos momentos difíciles. Ustedes están en mi corazón.

As we move forward, I hope we come out of this haze with more than stories of discomfort, financial hardship, and grief. Perhaps, we will grow into better versions of ourselves. Perhaps, we will learn what it truly means to live in the context of
community. Perhaps, as Rev. angel Kyodo Williams says, we will “tip the balance toward greater justice.”

In solidarity with you,
Sylvia

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Special Message to the Class of 2020
Your final semester at Emerson certainly has not been what you anticipated or wanted. Instead of marching into an arena for your commencement on May 10, your graduation festivities will most likely take place among a small group of family and friends, some of whom will join you by video. Please know that your accomplishments are so much greater than could ever be fully expressed through any commencement ceremony. Your graduation is really about all of the incredible ways you have grown during your time at Emerson, the deep and enduring relationships you have made, the challenges you have overcome, and the ways in which you have called Emerson to do better and be better. Graduation is often talked about as a time when graduates prepare to launch independently into the world. Yet, we are living through a period of time in which acknowledgment of our collective interdependence is most important. In the weeks and months to come, you will be called to balance the excitement of this new beginning with the uncertainty and complexity of this time. You have what it takes. You have the creativity, the talent, and the fortitude to make it through. You will write, and perform, and produce, and serve, and speak into the world, leading the rest of us into a new and better way to live. To the Class of 2020, I wish you peace and joy as you celebrate all that you have become.
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Social Justice Center Expanding its Reach
The Social Justice Center is not only doing work in the context of physical distance and social solidarity, we are also expanding our reach. We continue to provide support and advocacy to individuals and communities, work to advance equity and social justice, foster youth empowerment and creativity, and support the efforts of grassroots organizations who are coordinating  mutual aid projects in the Boston area. In addition, in response to the troubling uptick of xenophobic and discriminatory acts against members of the Asian and Asian American communities, we recently launched a new online platform called SJC LIVE for engaging with others about relevant social justice issues of the time.
Poster of Social Justice Center event called "Reflection and Action: Solidarity in Anti-Racist Practices"SJC LIVE is a virtual space for expanding our individual and collective capacities to manifest transformative social change. These Facebook Live conversations seek to center the people and work of racial justice movements, and call us into solidarity through anti-racist action. The videos from our five-part SJC LIVE series on anti-racist practices have been viewed by more than 2400 people, with our recent discussion on Abolition as an Anti-Racist Practice drawing more 600 viewers, including Emersonians out in the world as well as interested people with no connection to Emerson, from as far west as California and as far south as Florida. SJC LIVE is taking a brief hiatus but will be resuming soon with our next series focusing on Power, Violence, and Institutional Betrayals. In the meantime, all SJC LIVE videos can be found on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SocialJusticeCtr/videos and accessible transcripts can be downloaded at https://bit.ly/sjclivetranscripts.
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Additional Ways We Continue to Work in Support of Community
Power-Based Interpersonal Violence, Title IX and Clery: What It All Means and Why It Matters
In an effort to provide members of the community with a deeper understanding of campus-based responses to power-based interpersonal violence, the Social Justice Center is developing an online toolkit. This resource will provide information to increase understanding of power-based interpersonal violence (PBIV) and the implications for prevention strategies; the range of systems responses including traditional and trauma-informed approaches; information about various campus-based and legal methods of reporting PBIV (criminal, civil, and Title IX processes); the legal foundations of Title IX and the Clery Act, and how these regulations dictate and impact how colleges respond; the breadth of national and local context, including shifting trends related to federal Title IX guidance; as well as the key features of Emerson’s Sexual Misconduct policies and processes. It is our hope that this toolkit will help dispel any misinformation, reduce confusion, answer some questions, and clarify the scope of institutional processes that are often unknown.

Healing & Advocacy Collective
In the midst of physical distancing, Healing & Advocacy continues to connect with people online. We are supporting survivors, offering virtual workshops and trauma-informed yoga, engaging via social media, and working on strengthening our infrastructure. If you would like to connect with Healing & Advocacy, feel free to email Greta and Melanie at advocate@emerson.edu.

Title IX Access & Equity
Title IX Access & Equity realizes the importance of being able to report incidents of interpersonal violence even when the College is operating remotely. Therefore, we continue to receive and respond to all reports of sex/gender-based harm consistent with the process outlined in the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. This includes providing work and classroom accommodations, protective measures, interim measures, formal investigations, and informal processes. We continue to oversee the College’s centralized review, investigation, and resolution process for all reports of interpersonal violence. In addition to responding to reports of harm, our office continues to provide monthly training workshops for all employees as well as workshops to various members of our community. We are also available to provide workshops on request. We are here when you need us. To connect with Pam or Ryan, please email titleix@emerson.edu.
Logo for "Elma Lewis Center: For Civic Engagement, Learning & Research" Elma Lewis Center
The Elma Lewis Center continues to build and expand community partnerships, including supporting the work of community organizers adapting to the challenges of social solidarity during physical distancing. The Elma Lewis Living Stories project is ongoing, including research, community members’ sharing stories for the archive, and the Call to Artists. Youth programs and projects continue after shifting to virtual sessions in mid-March. The Creative Community Network youth held workshops on mutual aid and connecting with Boston-area activists. Youth LEAD participants engaged in group learning about the community impact of COVID-19 on hyperlocal and national levels. And the Massachusetts Temporary Protection Status Youth Committee participated in multimedia workshops to create a YouTube Channel, an advocacy magazine, and hosted Boston Experimental Theatre documentary showings and talkbacks. Our campus partner Jumpstart transitioned from providing in-school support with preschool partners to supporting teachers and families with at-home learning. The ELC is also piloting virtual music and dance events for workers most impacted by COVID-19 to provide a space of joy in the midst of hardship. You can reach the ELC by email at elmalewiscenter@emerson.edu.
"Bias" written in black and white letteringIdentity-Based Harm (Bias) Incident Reports
This academic year, we received 62 reports of identity-based harm. Although this reflects a slight decrease in the number of reports from the 2018-2019 academic year (68) we must also take into context the mid-semester shift to online learning this spring. The classroom continues to be reported as the highest location in which incidents of identity-based harm occur. Experiences of harm related to ethnicity/culture, race, and gender identity/expression continue to be the most reported. As concerns about COVID-19 increased, there was an uptick in concerns about the targeting of Emersonians who identify as Asian or Asian American while out in the Boston area. Some of this information was shared outside of the identity-based harm reporting process. Aggregate data for the 2019-2020 academic year will be updated to reflect incidents received through the formal end of the semester.
Title IX in black lettering on blue backgroundTitle IX Access & Equity Reports
During the 2019-2020 academic year, 85 reports of violations of the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy were received by Title IX Access & Equity. Reports include a range of behaviors and are not limited to sexual assault. Of the 85 reports, Title IX Access & Equity received requests from 6 reporting parties for investigations. All requests were moved forward for investigation. At the request of students or based on an assessment by the staff of Title IX Access & Equity, 20 instances of accommodations, interim measures or protective measures were issued. These measures include some singular or combination of protective measures, including but not limited to No Contact Orders, Stay Away Directives; Third-Party accommodations, and work and classroom accommodations.
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From Haymarket Books
The Pandemic is  Portal – A Conversation with Arundhati Roy, Hosted by Imani Perry
www.haymarketbooks.org/blogs/130-arundhati-roy-the-pandemic-is-a-portal

In her latest essay, “The Pandemic Is a Portal” — from her forthcoming Haymarket Books publication Azadi: Freedom. Fascism. Fiction. — Arundhati Roy writes:
What is this thing that has happened to us? It’s a virus, yes. In and of itself it holds no moral brief. But it is definitely more than a virus. Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality,” trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves.
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Social Justice Center

Emerson College
(617) 824-8528

Updates – March 16, 2020 – We are still available!

Physical spaciousness and social solidarity equals community care.

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We’re still here and available.

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Hello Good People.
Many of us are feeling like our lives have been flipped upside down. And just as we start to make sense of how the changing landscape will affect us, another wave of change comes. While it is certainly unsettling, this is what community care looks like today. It means caring enough about one another, even those we don’t know, that we are willing to make the necessary changes in our lives so we can all be well.

What if we shifted our consciousness to viewing our collective acts of change as the way we show care, compassion, and solidarity with one another? What if we re-framed social distancing as a way of contributing to social spaciousness in support of our communities? And what if we looked just beyond ourselves to those who are even more vulnerable? It might help us find moments of peace in knowing that we are doing the right thing for ourselves and for others.

– Sylvia

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Shout out to all of the people working hard to keep us safe, with special thanks to the maintenance and facilities staff for their extra work, to food services people for being extended family for so many students, and to #ecstudentunion for putting principles of mutual aid into practice by sharing information about campus resources, creating the free store exchange, and having people’s backs.

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Out of an abundance of caution and care for the Community, the staff of the Social Justice Center will be working in alternative ways that best support community health and well-being. We will continue to be available by phone, email, and online via Zoom, Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, Google Hangout, etc. Please contact us if you’d like to connect. Follow us on Facebook/SocialJusticeCtr for some social justice nourishment.

Social Justice Center
Sylvia, Alayne, Samantha, & Jae
617-824-8528
sjc@emerson.edu

Healing and Advocacy
Melanie & Greta
617-824-8857
advocate@emerson.edu

Elma Lewis Center
Tam, Ashley, & Jeeyoon
617-824-8526
elmalewiscenter@emerson.edu

Title IX
Pam & Ryan
617-824-8999
titleix@emerson.edu

“…the things we should be doing in response to the coronavirus are really the things we should be doing as a way of being alive. They are about caring for ourselves and for each other, about building and supporting ongoing collective strategies of safety and wellness….”
— Susan Raffo, Coronavirus, Climate Change, and Community Care
www.susanraffo.com/blog

Updates – September 11, 2018

Over the past several months we have been questioning what it means to truly engage in social justice work. What is it that we are striving for? What is our urgency? Can we collectively envision the world we are working toward?

We have come to more deeply know that anti-oppression work is insufficient. It is not enough. While we mitigate the harms caused by oppressive structures and practices, and seek to disrupt our own internalized oppression, we must also call for liberation. This understanding has led us to ponder what it means to truly be free.

"Are You Free?" in white letters written on black background

Right now:
We ask, are you free? Are you really free? At locations throughout campus you will find black boxes. Grab a card, write your thoughts, and insert the card into one of the black boxes. Keep an eye out for interactive installations on Walker 10, in the Iwasaki Library Co-lab, and in Paramount.

Throughout the year: Poster reading: "Decolonize. Reclaim. Imagine. Manifest. A Future of Co-liberation."We hope you will grapple with us about what it means to decolonize, reclaim, imagine, and manifest a future of co-liberation.


Poster reading "Healing & Advocacy Collective" with drawing a tree branch hangingIn reflection, we have considered whether our office names and titles align with our deepening values. This is especially important as we think about the incredible work that Melanie Matson and Greta Spoering do in support of our community, especially those who are impacted by power-based interpersonal violence. We seek to lift up and recognize the power of authentic relationships, the importance of trauma-informed practices, and the incredible strength of individuals and communities, as well as their extraordinary capacity to heal. In support of our community the Office of Violence Prevention & Response has become the Healing & Advocacy Collective—a space for being believed, a space where you can be yourself, and a space for healing.


And finally, many of you are aware that I was hired six years ago as Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion. In keeping with our shift in focus to social justice, President Pelton has changed my title to Vice President for Equity and Social Justice. I take on this title with full recognition of the weight of the work ahead and hope you will join the Social Justice Center in manifesting a future of co-liberation.