The Greeley Peace Scholar Speaker Series on Race & Social Justice is a year-long series of events focusing on race and social justice, culminating with the (virtual) residency by Fania Davis, the 2021 Greeley Scholar for Peace Studies, in April 2021.
Sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020 have led to a global reckoning on race. As we work together towards greater justice and peace, the Greeley Peace Scholar Speaker Series seeks to educate and engage all members of the university and local communities on the histories of and struggles for racial justice, with a focus on Black lives and voices. Topics will include the difficult legacy of monuments to white supremacy, voting rights and voter suppression, racial disparities in the criminal justice system, social movements for change, and restorative justice.
Read more about the Greeley Peace Scholar.
All events are virtual, free, and open to the public.
Christina M. Greer, Ph.D., Fordham University, Marisa A. Abrajano, Ph.D., University of California-San Diego; & Sophia Jordán Wallace, Ph.D., University of Washington (cosponsored with Political Science)
A panel discussion on the 2020 Presidential Election and Race in the United States.
Register Online for "The 2020 Presidential Election and Race in America"
Christina M. Greer
Christina M. Greer, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Political Science and American Studies at Fordham University (Lincoln Center Campus).
She was the 2018 Fellow for the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University Silver School of Social Work. Her book, Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream (2013), was the recipient of the W.E.B. du Bois Best Book Award in 2014 given by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists.
She recently co-edited Black Politics in Transition, which explores gentrification, suburbanization, and immigration of Blacks in America.
She is a frequent political commentator for media outlets, including MSNBC, the N.Y. Times, Wall Street Journal, and the AP. She is the co-host of the New York centered podcast FAQ-NYC and co-host of the Black centered podcast What's In It For Us, is the politics editor at thegrio.com, is the producer and host of The Aftermath and The Contender on Ozy.com as well as their editor-at-large, is a frequent author and narrator for the TedEd educational series, and also writes a weekly column for The Amsterdam News, one of the oldest black newspapers in the U.S.
Marisa A. Abrajano, Ph.D., is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.
Her research interests are in American politics, particularly racial and ethnic politics, political participation, voting and campaigns, and the mass media. She is the author of several books, the most recent one entitled "White Backlash: Immigration, Race and American Politics" (with Zoltan Hajnal), published by Princeton University Press in 2015. It was the recipient of the American Political Science Association's Ralphe Bunch Award for the best book on Race and Politics in 2015. Her other award winning book, "Campaigning to the New American Electorate: Television Advertising to Latinos," was published in 2010 by Stanford University Press. She is also the author of "New Faces, New Voices: The Hispanic Electorate in America" (with R. Michael Alvarez) published by Princeton University Press in 2012. Her other work has been published in leading journals in political science.
Sophia Jordán Wallace, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington in Seattle.
She is the Director of the Washington Institute for the Study of Inequality and Race (WISIR). Her research interests include the politics of race and ethnicity, Latino politics, immigration politics and policy, representation, and public opinion. She is the co-author of Walls, Cages, and Family Separation: Race and Immigration Policy in the Trump Era (Cambridge University Press, 2020). Her work has been published in various journals including the American Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, and International Migration Review among others. She is currently working on two books. One is entitled, United We Stand: Latino Representation in Congress. The other is called, Immigration Reform: Failure and Success in Congress. Her work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Dirksen Congressional Center, and the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.
(cosponsored with the Music Department)
Register Online for "Composing Our Stories"
This panel will share the experiences and results of a collaboration between the Free Soil Arts Collective and the UMass Lowell String Project to develop young writers, performers, and musicians.
Free Soil Arts Collective is a Lowell-based organization that amplifies and strengthens the voices of local artists of color by producing creative works, offering educational programming, and curating events promoting local artists.
The String Project is a vanguard music education and community education initiative housed in the UMass Lowell Department of Music that provides music instruction to K-12 students in the Merrimack Valley.
In 2020, the two groups partnered to enable young people to write their own stories and compose their own music to accompany these stories.
The panel will feature Christa Brown, Founder of The Free Soil Arts Collective, Graduate student Teaching Artists, Alexia Hernandez and Joshua Santana, and students involved in the project, moderated by Prof. Gena Greher.
Victor and Beverly Rosario
(cosponsored with the School of Criminology and Justice Studies and Race & Ethnic Studies Program)
Victor Rosario was wrongly convicted in 1982 of setting a deadly house fire in Lowell, Massachusetts. Throughout his 32 years of incarceration, Rosario steadfastly maintained he was innocent of setting the fire, which killed eight people, five of them children.
Rosario’s only connection to the fire was that of an eyewitness: he walked past the blaze on his way home, even attempting to break a window in the hopes of helping to free the people trapped inside. Two days later, he was the prime suspect.
Victor Rosario and his wife, Beverly, will describe their experiences of wrongful conviction and eventual exoneration, in the context of the larger criminal justice system.
Andrea S. Boyles, Ph.D., Tulane University, and Felix Germain, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh (cosponsored with the History Department, Sociology Department, and Race & Ethnic Studies Program)
Andrea S. Boyles
The anti-racist mobilization of summer 2020 was arguably the largest protest movement in American history, with estimates of 15 to 26 million Americans participating. The reverberations of George Floyd’s killing and Black Lives Matter extended across the Atlantic and indeed around the world, in an extraordinary moment of international protest and solidarity.
This mini-panel will endeavor to take stock of the summer 2020 anti-racist mobilization, assessing its social, political and historical significance for America, Europe and beyond. Its two invited discussants have researched and written on earlier examples of black organizing and protest, from the perspectives of Sociology, History and Africana Studies.
Andrea S. Boyles is author of UC Press books, You Can’t Stop the Revolution: Community Disorder and Social Ties in Post-Ferguson America (2019) and Race, Place, and Suburban Policing: Too Close for Comfort (2015). She is a critical feminist and race scholar, whose scholarship and public work account for social inequality and (in)justice thematic to Black citizen-police interactions; neighborhood disorder and disadvantage; community development and engagement; and resilience and collective action. She is currently visiting as an Associate Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies with Tulane University.
Felix Germain is an Associate Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, with a scholarly focus on black migrations, race relations and social movements in the African diaspora---particularly France, the US and the Caribbean. He is the author of Decolonizing the Republic: African and Caribbean Migrants in Postwar Paris (1946-1974); and co-editor of Black French Women and the Struggle for Equality, 1848-2016.”
Bob Forrant, University of Massachusetts Lowell (hosted by UML Office of Alumni Relations)
On April 12, 1963, Good Friday, Dr. Martin Luther King was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, he subsequently wrote ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’. In part it read, “For years now I have heard the word, ‘Wait!’. It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait!’ has almost always meant, ‘Never’.” This justice delayed and denied boiled over in the 1960s. With much fanfare, the Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. the Board of Education, and then the Civil Rights (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965) got passed. What kinds of organization and demonstrations took place that placed the civil rights agenda before the American people? What got done? What has happened in the recent past to call what progress there was into serious question.
Bob Forrant is a professor in the History department at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, teaching courses on global labor issues and international development. He supervises numerous graduate students, master’s degree theses and doctoral dissertations.
Jarritt Ahmed Sheel, Berklee College of Music (hosted by the Music Department)
Jarritt Ahmed Sheel, Ed.M., is an assistant professor of music education at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. As a professional musician, he has toured internationally, worked with hundreds of students in high school band programs throughout the great states of Illinois, Florida and New York. He is a co-founder of the music resource website www.hiphopmusiced.com, and leader of a social media dialogue around #hiphopmusiced.
Fredrick Cornelius Harris, Ph.D., Columbia University (cosponsored with the History Department, Political Science Department, Peace & Conflict Studies Program, & the Center for Public Opinion)
Please note: This event will NOT be recorded.
Fredrick Cornelius Harris, Ph.D. will discuss the history of voter suppression and the movements for voting rights. Harris is Dean of Faculty in the Social Sciences and Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, where he also serves as Director of the Center on African American Politics and Society. His area of research is broadly in American Politics with a focus on race and politics, political participation, social movements, religion and politics, and political history. His multiple award-winning books include Price of the Ticket: Barack Obama and the Rise and Decline of Black Politics (Oxford UP, 2012), Beyond Discrimination: Racial Inequality in a Post-Racist Era (co-editor, 2013), Countervailing Forces in African-American Civic Activism, 1973-1994 (co-author, Cambridge UP, 2006), Something Within: Religion in African-American Political Activism (Oxford UP, 1999), and Black Churches and Local Politics: Clergy Influence, Organizational Partnerships, and Civic Empowerment (co-editor, 2005). Dean Harris is also co-editor with Cathy Cohen of the the Oxford University book series “Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities.” Dean Harris has written essays for the New York Times, The Washington Post, Dissent, Foreign Affairs, Transition, Souls, Society, and the London Review of Books. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. and a Visiting Professor at the Pantheon-Sorbonne University in Paris. He currently serves as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
Stephanie Sparling Williams, Ph.D., Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (cosponsored with Art History and Race & Ethnic Studies)
Stephanie Sparling Williams’s talk, “Speaking Out of Turn: Lorraine O’Grady and the Art of Language,” will engage the significant performances and conceptual works of Lorraine O’Grady. O’Grady was a subversive figure within the New York art world in the 1980s whose critiques highlighted the whiteness of gallery and museum institutions that claimed progressive values. Williams will discuss a series of works related to the artist’s “extravagant and rogue” performances of an invented character, Mademoiselle Bourgeoise Noire (Miss Black Middle Class). Mlle. Bourgeoise Noire’s alienating effects, produced through a mélange of props and out of turn speech acts, and utilizing strategies of direct address, make apparent how black women’s bodies disrupt historic and systemic erasure across spaces of visibility and value.
Stephanie Sparling Williams, Ph.D., is a black feminist theorist and an Associate Curator at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. Previously, she was Assistant Curator at the Addison Gallery of American Art. Her scholarly work is invested in modern and contemporary art histories, with a particular focus on the direct address, performance, conceptual, and feminist art making practices of women-identified artists of color. Her book, Speaking Out of Turn: Lorraine O’Grady and the Art of Language, will be published by University of California Press in 2021.
Watch a video of “Speaking Out of Turn: Lorraine O'Grady and the Art of Language” - Stephanie Sparling Williams
Belinda Archibong, Ph.D., Barnard College, Columbia University (hosted by the Economics Department & the Climate Change Initiative)
Belinda Archibong, Ph.D., will discuss her current work on the intersection between climate change, epidemics and social inequality. Her research sheds light on both the impact of past epidemics internationally and the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic in the US. Dr. Archibong specializes in the role of historical institutions and environment in creating unequal access to public services and human capital development opportunities.
Archibong is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Barnard College, Columbia University, and a faculty affiliate at Columbia University's Center for Development Economics and Policy (CDEP), The Earth Institute at Columbia University, the Institute of African Studies, the Institute for Research in African-American Studies, the Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC), and the Center for Environmental Economics and Policy (CEEP). Her research has been published in multiple journals, and she has been extensively consulted by various news sources, commenting particularly on social injustice in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Watch a video of "Climate Change, Epidemics and Human Capital Outcomes: Who Bears the Cost of Climate Change?" - Belinda Archibong
Steve Locke (cosponsored with History, Art & Design, & Art History)
Artist Steve Locke’s work is engaged with forms of public memory, directing viewers to look deeply at American history and the persistence of systemic violence against Black people. His practice spans painting, drawing, and the design of public memorials, the latter including a proposed Auction Block Memorial for Faneuil Hall, a Memorial to Freddie Gray at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and a recent proposal for a Slavery Memorial at the Tuileries, Paris. As historical sites in New England and around the world have become focal points of protest, how should our public spaces and monuments memorialize the history of slavery and racial violence? Locke's talk will be followed by a discussion moderated by Prof. Michael Pierson (History).
Watch a video of “Memory and the Built Form” - Steve Locke
These events are supported by The Rev. Dana McLean Greeley Fellowship for Peace Studies and the College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. You can make a donation today to support important programming like this.