Merging academia and activism for race relations

Pictured: (l to r)Trustee, Susan U. Halpern; The New School’s Vice President of Social Justice, Maya Wiley, Activist, Linda Sarsour; Milano Dean, Michelle DePass; and Milano faculty member, Darrick Hamilton. 







In the months since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, activists and scholars have converged, condemning his violent and divisive racial rhetoric. In response to Trump’s rhetoric, leaders are working to build a resistance against an agenda that not only divides the country but also sets precedence for violent and discriminatory policies and actions.

The New School, known for its innovative work in areas of social change, has launched “Race in the U.S.,” a free and public lecture series on race relations in America. It features a dynamic lineup of conversations with community activists, scholars and policy changers.

As if it were planned for such a tense moment in our country, the lecture series was originally inspired by New School students’ desires to connect on the topic of race.

Michelle DePass, dean of the Milano School of International Affairs and one of the course organizers, said students were inspired by the work of the Black Lives Matter movement years ago and started galvanizing around race politics then. Now, with the launch of the lecture series, there is an opportunity to build a new program that integrates both an academic class of advocates and activists in the area of race.

“As we follow and work with our student body, we find that our students are very intersectional, and we realized that after this election, we cannot be in our silos anymore,” DePass said. “What this course is really doing is intersecting race with so many different aspects and elements of our society and lifting up the cover and saying that you really think you exist in this safe zone or this zone where the issues of the system have not touched you, but they actually have.”

What do we do in the toxic climate we have today? That is the question for which the lecture series hopes to stir up an answer. The New School social justice masterminds and scholars DePass, Maya Wiley and Darrick Hamilton joined forces to create this platform for impactful conversations with activists, organizers and scholars such as Shanelle Matthews of Black Lives Matter and Linda Saursour, a Muslim rights advocate and Women’s March organizer.

Read the full story here.

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