The impossible demand involves demanding the impossible—studying what freedom educators from Ella Baker to Christopher Emdin do to create a model for restorative justice in education. Love believes, “You can’t have liberation without queerness,” and it is queerness that allows us to push what society says is normal and do the work of freedom dreaming. A radical feminist leadership sees “knowledge as an embodied practice” that is intersectional and anti-oppression. Racism, bigotry, and hate is a triad that only a participatory democracy can defeat. Love invites listeners to join the struggle for freedom.
Intro and interstitial music is by Lance Eric Haugan, with Aviva
and the Flying Penguins.
Outro music is by Paul Myhre, “7 Steps,” available on
Dr. Bettina Love is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Theory & Practice (Early Childhood, Elementary Education) in the College of Education at the University of Georgia. Love is the creator of “Get Free: Hip Hop Civics Education” [http://getfreehiphopcivics.com/], and is the author of Hip Hop Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South (Peter Lang, 2012) and We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (Beacon Press, 2019). Lucia and Tina talked with Dr. Love about hip hop education, freedom schools, and breaking the cycles of oppression. Love encourages her teacher education students to take risks and go beyond gimmicks and tricks in teaching. In the current resegregated public schools systems, abolitionist teaching requires creating a culturally-responsive pedagogy in which all students matter.
In Part Two Antonia Darder discusses the use of art and poetry in her engaged pedagogy. She raises key questions for talking about critical pedagogies and rethinking oppressive educational systems. What does an emancipatory pedagogy look like and how do we create the spaces to dream with our students?
Dr. Antonia Darder is the Leavey Presidential Endowed Chair in Ethics and Moral Leadership in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University and Professor Emerita of Educational Policy, Organization, and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Distinguished Visiting Faculty at the University of Johannesburg. Prof. Darder spoke with me about what led her to Paulo Freire and critical pedagogy. She stresses the importance of seeing students as co-creators of knowledge in the classroom that is rooted in a deep sense of respect. In countering ethnocentrism in current educational practices, Darder talks about creating counternarratives to neoliberalism.
Justice work requires
reflection and resiliency. In Part Two Gordon asks the question: where does
religion stand?—on the side of the status quo or the people most effected by
injustice? He sees social change as a spiritual activity, and one that makes
religion a force of unity in justice work. This activity means showing up and building
solidarity with others over racial and economic justice. There are so many
overwhelming issues to deal with–from climate change to the rise of white
supremacist nationalism—that we are in a race against time. Winning the race is
an intergenerational, interreligious action. Gordon leaves us not with despair
at the enormity of the power imbalances and struggles, but with hope:
“The true value of the
conversations and practices in Stand Up! may
be that they help us stay human amid darkness and uncertainty. They give us
courage not only to keep fighting but to care for one another” (Stand Up!, p. 62).
This July 2019 podcast is a conversation with Gordon Whitman, senior advisor of the interfaith group Faith in Action: Building a People-Powered Movement (formerly PICO National Network; https://faithinaction.org). He has a B.A. in history and urban studies and a law degree from Harvard Law School. Gordon did his initial work in community organizing in Santiago, Chile with a grassroots health collective during the Pinochet dictatorship to work for change, and then with parents in the Philadelphia public school system. His book, Stand Up!: How to Get Involved, Speak Out, and Win in a Word on Fire Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2018; https://standupbook.org/ is a handbook for grassroots organizing. Gordon provides guidance into how to share stories, map and analyze power, strategize, and work for system change.
In Part One Gordon shares his background in community organizing and strategies to motivate groups to build relationships to act together. And he shows how anti-racism work is central to movement building and social change. One example he gives is the La Red Campaign, Faith in Action’s Network of Protection for Immigrant Families: https://faithinaction.org/issue-campaign/la-red/
Misha Cahnmann-Taylor and Mariana Souto-Manning are “rehearsing for the revolution” (Augusto Boal’s term) in their creative teaching. In Part One of this podcast they share with us their stories of using theatre “as a way to train new teachers, and ourselves,” as well as create democratic spaces in classrooms through “culture circles” (Souto-Manning) and poetry and the arts (Cahnmann-Taylor). Join me in learning from these inventive teachers who are committed to embodied learning and serious play for transformative learning and social change.
Melisa “Misha” Cahnmann-Taylor is Professor of TESOL & World Language Program (TWLE), Dept. of Language & Literacy Education, College of Education, The University of Georgia. Her blog is https://teachersactup.com/
Mariana Souto-Manning is Professor of Early Childhood Education & Teacher Education, Teachers College, Columbia University; Founding Co-director of the Center for Innovation in Teacher Education and Development (CITED).
For the May 2019 podcast we welcome Jerome Scott, co-founder of Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty and Genocide (f. 1986). Jerome visited my REL/EDU 385: Religion, Education, and Activism class in April and told his story of what led him to become an activist/scholar educator. He shared about his work in voting rights, worker and immigrant justice, coalition building, education, and movement support. Jerome’s main work has involved linking scholar activists with activist scholars in grassroots communities. And fitting for this time of high school and college/university graduations, he laid out his hopes for building the “beloved community” in the future.
Jerome has done so much social change work; here are links to more resources and the organizations he helped/helps lead as a model for the work of transformative change at the grassroots level.
Walda Katz-Fishman and Jerome Scott, “Another United States Is Happening: Building Today’s Movement from the Bottom Up. The U.S. Social Forum and Beyond. Pp. 57-70 in The World and U.S. Social Forums: A Better World Is Possible and Necessary, eds. Judith Blau and Marina Karides. Brill 2008.
Intro and other interstitial music is by Lance Eric Haugan (theme music with Aviva and the Flying Penguins)
Otro music by Paul Myhre , “Zoe’s Moonrise–Year 1” (Myhre, 2019); available on ReverbnNation.com
This March 2019
podcast is for anyone who teaches/studies social movements, movement building,
labor history, union organizing, non-violent activism, social justice teaching,
and direct action for social change! Hear Teamster Local 728 Organizing
Director Ben Speight give an overview of union organizing and connections to
our current times. He visited my REL/EDU 385: Religion, Education, and Activism
class in February 2019 to plug us into the history of workers and why unions are
still relevant more than ever.
“United, Unafraid, Undefeated, Unstoppable Leaders.” That is the description by the students of U-Lead Athens. Since August 2014 they meet every Thursday night at Oconee United Methodist Church, on the boundary of the University of Georgia (a university that bans undocumented students). Mentors and allies from the university (the UGA Undocumented Student Alliance) and the community gather to eat and study and plan for the future. Their mission statement states that they assist high school and recent graduates in preparing for college, identifying schools that are open to un(der)documented students, and applying for scholarships and other financial support. U-Lead Athens is a sanctuary, in the many meanings of that term, providing a supportive community.
In August 2018 my daughter Jacy and I visited U-Lead on a Thursday evening and interviewed current college students who returned to visit or volunteer, some current students, the director of volunteers, PhD student Nikki Luke, and two of the co-directors, Prof. JoBeth Allen and Prof. Betina Kaplan. The conversations set the context of the discrimination and anti-immigrant laws in Georgia, the activist work of students and allies to change these laws and provide access to higher education and in-state tuition, as well as working on justice issues around TPS and DACA status. The students shared their stories, their art, and their hopes and challenges.
Equal access to education is a human right. To support U-Lead Athens, click here: