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).
In Part 2 of this conversation, share with us their strategies for creating open and democratic spaces in the classroom through specific games and other techniques such as storytelling, poetry, and the arts. They share their joy at being surprised at the creative innovation of their students, whether in k-2, university level, or k-12 teachers. In doing so, they share how they bridge the theory and practice divide, value the knowledge of their students, and engage in new meaning-making for a more just world.
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.
Rev. Noelle Damico (United Church of Christ) is an activist educator and movement builder with the Alliance for Fair Food.[http://www.allianceforfairfood.org/]. She coordinated the 2 million member Presbyterian Church USA’s involvement in the Coalition of Immokalee Worker’s Campaign for Fair Food [https://ciw-online.org/], among many other food justicecampaigns. This podcast takes place in an actual class setting, my Religion and Ecology class at Agnes Scott College, a historic women’s liberal arts college in Decatur, GA. Noelle joined us via Skype in our unit on connecting issues of economic justice to the larger topic of sustainability.
What is often missing
in mainstream discussions of the organic food movement is workers. Noelle takes
us through the founding of the Coalition of Immokalee Worker’s campaign and the
“sea-change” it brought, and continues to bring, in the food system, to create
a system that works for all people. Issues of safety, forced labor, human
trafficking, gender violence, poverty wages, wage theft, and worker abuse are
all parts of the history of injustices that CIW addresses.
A worker-driven social responsibility model begins at the work site, determined by the workers who become organizers and change-agents through marches, education tours, hunger strikes, boycotts, and other direct actions. Joining CIW are faith leaders and students as partners. One outcome on university campuses has been the cutting of contracts with Taco Bell on over 25 campuses. The current Boycott Wendy’s campaign [http://www.boycott-wendys.org/] seeks to continue to move companies beyond their “corporate responsibility codes” to real food justice. The CIW campaign has shown that changing the conditions in the field is at the root of a sustainable food future.
Pedagogy is an action verb here. On my campus the tomatoes in our dining hall are part of the fair food system; Aramark was (reluctantly but eventually) one of the signers. But our Aramark dining staff continue, through their own worker-driven campaign, to fight for fair wages and a workplace that offers respect and human dignity (through their union, SEIU). Though unionized, their struggle is difficult. Thus, fair farm and campus food workers are connected.
As part of the class students engage in a practicum with the campus Office of Sustainability in a variety of areas (climate change events, organic farming, National Audubon wildlife site, bees, and also economic justice with the campus Living Wage Campaign). One student working with the campaign joined the Aramark union steward and me on the WRFG Labor Forum, as well as our Economic Justice Teach-In. She also assisted with our “love poster” action in the dining hall for the staff—big posters we are hanging each week, signed with notes of appreciation and affection by community members, for each dining services staff member.
Theme music for Nothing Never Happens is by Aviva and the Flying Penguins and Lance Eric Haugan. Additional music is by Paul Myhre: “Dreams of Winter Sans Guitar (2019).”
My audio engineers are: Reagin Turner, China Wilson, and Megan Simmons. I can be reached at email@example.com.
Nicolazzo asks us, “How do we think about the most vulnerable students on our campuses,” especially those who are multiply marginized? How do we work toward “a practice of freedom” (hooks)? Nicolazzo shows us a broader vision of trans*studies and pedagogies in higher education, and how attention to these intersections of oppression and freedom benefit all students and faculty. “What are we willing to risk in the name of justice?” And how can we collaborate in our classrooms and beyond in a “critical hope”?
A Podcast of Radical Musings on Social Justice, Pedagogies for Transformation, and Feminist Activism