Listen. Learn. Act.
The killing of Black men and women; the history of racism in our country, state, and university; the unkept promises and continued impact of systemic racism; and the current iteration of Black Lives Matter and its awareness by the general public have given rise to new fights and demands in an ages-long struggle.
Sharing the theme “Listen. Learn. Act.” introduced by the UO’s Common Reading Program for the year, the resources here provide opportunities for you to participate, contribute and move toward change. They also highlight and elevate work to help create greater understanding of the full heritage of African Americans and BIPoC communities who endure racial injustice and continue with courage, contributions and creativity. We will continue adding resources and highlighting work throughout the academic year as we know this is a journey our community and society as a whole must continuously walk.
As we remember the stirring words, courageous actions, and enduring legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., we might ask ourselves the question he posed as the title of his book Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? Our own Martin Luther King Day events under the title “A King’s Company: Lessons for the Flock,” offered many ways to reconnect with each other and work together toward an ongoing commitment to social justice. Considered “a day on, not a day off” by Lesley-Anne Pittard, assistant vice president for equity and inclusion, the activities provided ways to embrace King’s spirit for yourself.
In January 2021 the Latinx Studies minor and the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies (CLLAS) held a virtual celebration to launch the new Latinx Studies minor, a program years in the making and the result of work done by a committed group of faculty and staff. Audrey Lucero, the new Latinx Studies program director and associate professor of Education Studies, spoke at the event. If you missed her there, and even if you didn’t, listen to her interview on UO Today. She talks about the new minor and about her work investigating the oral language development of young Spanish-English bilingual children.
As we celebrate and honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. we are inspired by his deeds as well as his words that continue to move so many to act for change. What does it take to be a great orator for social justice? Students are finding that out in a new course offered this winter, Social Justice in Oration taught by Rabbi Meir Goldstein. Students will learn from the exemplary social justice speeches from Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Shirley Chisholm and other great leaders. Students will apply these inspiring orations to their own visions of the future and hone their skills at using shared narratives and persuasive arguments to further social justice in written and oral presentations.
How have artists responded to Black Lives Matter? How has it inspired their visions? How can we support them? The UO's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and the Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center are providing a new venue for artists; generous donor funds are supporting artists through the new UO Black Lives Matter Artist Grant Program. UO students Mya Lansing and Gabby Beauvais, alumni Jasmine Jackson, Malik Lovette, and Mika Aono, and faculty member Ana-Maurine Lara are among the recipients working in video, mixed media, performance art and more. Check in later this year at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum and the Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center to learn about exhibitions of these and other works.
Visit these resources—a small sampling of the many on campus—for ways to listen, learn, and act in the fight for social justice