Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor Amrita Myers and the Department of History’s Diversity Committee had plans to host the Social Justice in America Series (SJAS) in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs during the spring semester. However, as fall 2020 continues to bring new experiences to the IU campus, the SJAS will continue in a virtual form and is themed “Defending Democracy: Confronting Voter Suppression and White Supremacy in the New Millennium.”
“Every year, the Social Justice in America series proves to be a powerful event,” James C. Wimbush, vice president for diversity, equity, and multicultural affairs, dean of The University Graduate School, and Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership said. “In today’s political climate, this event provides a wonderful educational opportunity where participants will be able to engage in critical dialogue and provide a unique and one of a kind experience.”
The first event for the SJAS begins on September 30 from 6-8 p.m with a Zoom workshop featuring Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, co-executive director of the Highlander Research & Education Center. Henderson led a virtual “Train the Trainer” workshop in April—also hosted by Amrita and OVPDEMA—where she discussed “a utopian vision” with the participants. This workshop will be focused on the issues that are most pressing in Bloomington and how to become a safer and more civil city.
The following day, from 2-4 p.m, the SJAS will host the Virtual Social Justice Fair which will host roughly 60 different campus and community programs and organizations that are engaged in social justice work. They will be on hand to share how IU students can get involved on campus and in the local community.
After the fair, from 6-8 p.m the SJAS will host a Virtual Town Hall featuring Henderson along with Abby Ang, founder of No Space for Hate, and IU Law professors Luis Fuentes-Rohwer and Jeannine Bell. This town hall will focus on local and national issues such as minority voting rights and the increase of hate-related incidents at institutions and venues across the country.
“We are excited about this year’s Social Justice in America Series,” Myers said. “The transition from an in-person series of events to virtual ones was difficult at first, but we are committed to ensuring that SJAS 2020 is as fulfilling and educational as our past events have been. Given the racial crisis that is deepening in our nation, we are even more focused on ensuring the success of this year’s events.”
To register and learn more about the Social Justice in America Series, please click here.