Tag Archives: racial justice

Three Reasons to Support Divestment From Fossil Fuels

by Jared Naimark, ’14


Last Monday March 4th, student activists from Fossil Free Stanford, Students for a Sustainable Stanford, and a host of other environmental groups gathered in White Plaza in a day of solidarity with hundreds of campuses all over the country, to show their support for the movement to divest from fossil fuels.  This day of action, punnily dubbed “March Forth on Climate Justice” was the kick-off of our first ever Environmental Justice Week, a series of events aimed at raising awareness about the ways environmental issues intersect with issues of social justice and human rights.  Below is a version of a speech I gave at the rally, explaining three reasons why I support divestment from fossil fuels. Continue reading

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Our Challenge

by K. Blaqk, ’14


The title of this piece is “Our Challenge.” Over fall quarter I discovered the “Nu Rainbow,” which replaces the traditional ROYGBIV spectrum with one representing the variety of colors  of human beings. This move felt especially important to me, as I was starting to see the urgency in queer politics taking on an explicitly anti-racist agenda as well. Lumped into queer issues and racism are also structural class inequality, problems of imperialism and militarism. So, “Our Challenge” is first to build a coalition of marginalized and oppressed peoples and then to channel that organization into a form of resistance and way of remaking the world around us. Continue reading

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Equality is not Justice

by members of Stanford Students for Queer Liberation (SSQL)

We are the group of students responsible for the “equality is not justice” flyers last week. Because we are interested in both raising awareness and increasing understanding, we collaborated on a brief summary of each topic listed on the posters.

This article is meant to be shared! However, it is not meant to be the last word on any of the topics below: our foremost goal is to encourage discussion within the Stanford community.

Interested in continuing the conversation? Please consider submitting your ideas to STATIC!

Fear is not governance
Here, we are referring to the illusion that control is gained through fear or fear tactics and, furthermore, that legitimate government rule can be claimed when the majority of the population lives in a state of fear. Moreover, we are addressing the fact that fear is a tactic utilized by the United States, whether conscious or unconscious. Consider, for example, the reaction you have when you see a police officer. Are you afraid or comforted? Why? Also consider jails, which – though they seem to promise safety – are also an implicit threat by the state.

Apathy is not neutral
When we say that apathy is not neutral, we mean that – in many cases – apathy is a privilege. When we choose not to educate ourselves or to do nothing, it is with the knowledge that our lives will not be adversely affected – and not everybody is in such a position.
Another implication of apathy is the fact that, when there is apathy on the part of the state, entire groups of people may suffer. When legislators pay less attention to the well-being of groups such as trans* people of color, for example, this does not represent a simple oversight: it reflects a lack of commitment to the survival of a group that is consistently persecuted in this country.

Continue reading

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Stop the New Jail

by Raphael  Sperry, Instructor (CEE 136: Green Architecture)

Did you know that San Mateo County is planning to build a new jail? Stanford has a significant portion of its campus in San Mateo County, so what the county government does with local revenue is a significant issue. But this is also a basic issue of criminal justice and fairness that effects our neighbors, from East Palo Alto up to the San Francisco line. By investing tens of millions of dollars in the jail, San Mateo County is turning its back on crime prevention and rehabilitative services in the community… there won’t be enough money to fund everything.

In my class, I teach how to minimize the environmental impacts of buildings. I’ve also been involved with organizing other architects to oppose the construction of jails and prisons for almost ten years. This is an interesting collision of those issues for me, since San Mateo is proposing to build one of the first LEED-certified jails in the country. My short take on that is: if you build the jail, you might reduce emissions 30% from a typical building baseline, but if you don’t build it at all, you avoid 100% of the emissions – and that’s without taking the community impact into account. If you’d like to learn more about this issue, please come to the workshop below. Continue reading

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The L.A. Riots and the Myth of Multiculturalism

by Holly Fetter, ’13

At tonight’s Occupy Art lecture, Jeff Chang asked, “How did the L.A. Riots change Whiteness?”

My answer? It didn’t.

Twenty years ago today, cleanup efforts began throughout the ravaged cityscape of Los Angeles. For four days, masses of outraged people – primarily people of color – reacted to the unjust acquittal of the four LAPD police officers that beat Rodney King.

I was only two years old when the Riots broke out, a small girl with no memory of this tragedy. All I have is the complicated knowledge that it was the military and police officers that protected my White neighborhood from encountering the flames and violence that were engulfing other parts of the city. The L.A. Riots are a site at which I can begin to excavate my own history of privilege, begin to understand the ways that institutional privilege saved me from being one of the 53 people killed or the thousands injured. By re-visiting the living archive of this uprising, I can understand the world of racism that I inherited, a world hasn’t changed much in 20 years.

When reading about the Riots, one encounters tales of inter-ethnic struggle, of a city destroyed by its own low-income residents of color. But the assigned texts for this week’s Occupy Art lecture allowed me to reflect on the role of White folks during and after the Riots. Continue reading

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The Weight of My Race

by Kristian Bailey, ’14

This post originally published at Kristian’s personal website, “With a ‘K.'” 

The following is a combination of two posts I wrote on April 11 and April 12, responding to heated emotions I felt as a black man in response to developments in the Trayvon Martin case. 

The Weight of My Race: Part One

Sketch of me that a subway artist did in 2008.

Though Trayvon Martin’s family expressed faith in the justice system now that George Zimmerman has been formally charged (with second degree murder), I can’t help but feel dispirited that it took this long to happen. There have been few other times in my life when I’ve felt the gravity of what could happen to me by nature of my race and gender. Others have brought this up before that Trayvon’s case has evoked this in themselves, but today I feel the weight of my race: Continue reading

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Remind Yourself to Dream

by Rachel Kelley, ’12

This past week I had the chance work with the student group FAITH (Faiths Act in Togetherness and Hope) and staff of the Stanford Office for Religious Life to put together a multi-faith service in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Did you know that Dr. King preached a sermon in Memorial Church? Did you know that we have the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute on the Stanford campus?

As part of the service, three students and I read part of the “I Have a Dream” speech. This opportunity was a tremendously humbling and meaningful experience. In introducing the speech, I hoped to convey the idea that the difficult struggle for justice is far from over. The speech itself reminds us that through our stories and our dreams we have cause to hope.

When Dr. King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he was looking out at thousands of people –  thousands of people who each, in some way, had joined a vast struggle against oppression and violence. Dr. King looked out on the crowd, and he said, “I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations…Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution.”

Whether those storms look different today or whether they look the same, storms of persecution are as real now as they were in 1963. Continue reading

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In Honor of MLK, Jr.

In honor of Dr. King, we give you links to some of the blogosphere’s best tributes to him:

“Op-Ed: An MLK Day Call for Justice” by Rev. Irene Monroe

I miss the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. I miss the sound of his voice, the things he said with his voice. I miss the choir that resounded within him and came out of his voice. In keeping his dream alive we must continue to lift our voices. We must speak our truth to power. And for those of us who live on the margin we must speak out, because our survival as LGBT worshipers in our faith communities is predicated on our voices being lifted.

“It’s Our Turn: Celebrating MLK Day” by Van Jones

MLK day is a chance to look back and look ahead — let’s reflect on one of the most important movements of our past as a springboard for the ongoing fight for justice. There is a lot left to fight for, and every day people are continuing Dr. King’s struggle. With a powerful movement sweeping the country, we must gather together and ask: What would Dr. King and other civil rights leaders do today? How can we continue their legacy in 2012 and beyond? […]
2012 will be groundbreaking, so we have to get together and get ready. It’s our turn. Let’s honor the inextricable link between the struggles of our past and the struggle for our future. Continue reading
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Roll out for Intersections!

Intersections Week 2011 will explore the relationship between LGBTQ and racial identities. Each event was carefully designed to be open, accessible, and meaningful to all attendees. This is a week for us to delve into our differences and our similarities as activists and as people. If we as a student body could roll out at 4 a.m. in the name of college football, let’s roll out for addressing and ending oppression on our campus and beyond!

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How the Others Other

by Leanna Keyes, ‘14

Frantz Fanon was one of the founding thinkers in critical studies of race. Born in the Caribbean, he studied in France before becoming a resistance fighter in the liberation of French-colonized Algeria. His most famous work, The Wretched of the Earth, argues for the necessary role of violence in revolution. It extensively discusses the process of ‘othering’ and dehumanization.

What ways have I been “other’ed”, or contributed to ‘othering’?

This is always a question that makes me uncomfortable. In my mind, it sets up an “us vs. them,” Manichean world view that hurts people who are fighting oppression. It encourages us to set up a system of ranking for ‘othering,’ as if there is some scale upon which we can measure how much people are dehumanized. Continue reading

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