Presented by the Inclusion, Advocacy and Support Collective in Student Life (LGBTQIA Resource Center, Student Diversity Programs, Veteran’s Resource Center and the Women’s Resource Center)
Context is a yearlong interdisciplinary programming initiative that will explore social justice themes and issues through the lens of race and class in Atlanta. With an emphasis on integrating creative, theoretical, and analytical approaches to education, this series will offer opportunities to examine the intersections of systems that govern our everyday lives. Context will provide a platform for inclusive conversation about the challenges of social justice across different issues that shape our communities and lives. Through sustained learning about social justice pedagogy and praxis, our community will be able to engage in collective investment and transformative education that works towards Georgia Tech's mission of educating leaders who are dedicated to improving the human condition.
In order to make our vision for Context come to fruition, we will partner with campus units, community organizations, students, faculty and staff members from a wide range of disciplines and experiences. Throughout the month we will utilize social media to spark conversation and provide resources for further learning and engagement. At least once a month we will offer a formal program to deeply consider that month’s given topic.
Guiding Program Principles
We understand that social justice is both a process and goal. The goal of social justice education is full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs. Social justice includes a vision of society that is equitable, and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure (Adams, Bell, and Griffin, 2007). There are four distinct, but interconnecting themes of social justice- access, agency, advocacy, and solidarity actions. On their own, each of these represents an integral aspect of social justice work, but the goal is for all four to be utilized, or considered, simultaneously.
Access is the beginning of working to inclusion and participation. In order for access to be achieved, individuals and/or groups must be able to fully participate in opportunities, organizations, or communities.
Agency means that individual citizens know their rights, have the capacity and ability to make their voices heard and to advocate for what they need. Critical thinking is a key element for developing agency, and in connection with transformative education, it leads to socially responsible citizenship.
Advocacy is an intentional act or process, undertaken by individuals or groups, to influence change in our communities. In order to impacts change, advocacy requires a skillset, including awareness of the issue, analysis and critical thinking (what are the different factors, what impact does this issue have on individuals and communities?), and strategic planning (what needs to be done and how to do it).
Solidarity Action is collectively working with others toward social justice in our communities. In order to achieve solidarity, individuals must be able to recognize injustice and work across difference to achieve common ground. It requires coalition building, empathy, cooperation and conflict resolution.
Theme for Fall 2020 – Spring 2021:
In its inaugural year, Context’s theme will be Maps. We will explore a wide range of topics related to mapping and how those maps, both figurative and literal, have an impact on the ways we experience our world. Maps impact what resources our communities have, what stories are protected and revered, and how safety is defined for our communities. We dive into how maps and mapping play a role in determining what we know about ourselves and what others know about us. In Context: Maps, we will use an intersectional lens to explore the ways that maps can be used to divide us and unite us; and how we can use maps as tools for better understanding the racial and economic systems at play in our communities.
SEPTEMBER: Voting Rights
The right to vote is directly correlated with the establishment of this nation and its continual development. We want to ask, “Who can vote? Who is representing our state? How are political leaders reinvesting in our communities on a state and national level?” Equip yourself this election year to understand how the history of voting power continually impacts societal advancement.
The practice of redlining has had lasting implications on Atlanta neighborhoods and the people who live in them. We will explore how this practice from the 1930s, that used Census data about race and class to determine the perceived desirability of a neighborhood, continues to replicate patterns of segregation, inequity, and housing insecurity in our communities today.
NOVEMBER: Decolonization & Borders
We will focus on our historical and contemporary contextualization of land ownership as it relates to Native American and Indigenous communities in Georgia. While discussing colonization of physical lands, we also intend to discuss the westernization and systematic erasure of people, traditions, languages, and histories. Through these conversations, we will highlight and uplift Native American and Indigenous people living in “Georgia,” ways to decolonize common phrases that marginalize and belittle Native American and Indigenous people/cultures, and share resources for further engagement with justice-oriented organizations and platforms.
JANUARY: Civil Rights
Join us as we examine the Civil Rights movement in Atlanta and explore some of the root causes to the movement and what led the city to its prominence for civil rights. Additionally we will spotlight the legends and leaders from the past, and then look at some of the new leaders from the current movements happening around the city today.
FEBRUARY: Preserving Black Histories
A retelling the story of historical preservation: examine whose stories, histories, and legacies have been excluded, erased, and/or buried, focusing on Black Americans, Georgians, and Atlantans. We will center narratives of resistance through eradication, highlighting the truth-tellers and those who are keeping the cultural traditions, knowledge, and celebrations of Black communities alive.
Explore the impact that gentrification has had on community and cultural identity of Atlanta neighborhoods: what has been lost, what has been gained, and who has benefited from the urban revitalization of the City too Busy to Hate?
APRIL: Environmental Racism
Examine the historical movements, policies, and practices that contribute to the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards and disempowerment on communities of color in Atlanta.
We want Context to help build empathy, understanding, critical thinking skills, and an investment in collective responsibility for social justice. We want participants to be able to identify ways to actively be part of creating and advocating for change in the Atlanta community, their communities of origin, and their future communities.
- As a result of attending a program for the monthly series, Context, participants will be able to identify two resources for further learning related to the monthly topic.
- As a result of attending a program for the monthly series, Context, participants will be able to synthesize the issue discussed (what are the core factors and how it impacts individuals or communities) and identify one opportunity for community engagement.
- As a result of attending a program for the monthly series, Context, participants will be able to identify one civic action they can take to work toward social justice.
****Context owes intellectual and creative credit to the work of the Women’s Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and their weeklong programming initiative, Critical Social Justice.