August 7th, 2009

Building Excellent, Diverse and Just Communities: A Conversation Among Artists, Academics and Activists


PATRICIA HILL COLLINS: Good evening. Thank you very much for attending. This is our opening plenary, Building Excellent Diverse and Just Communities: A Conversation Among Artists, Academics, and
Activists. I'd like-- first of all I can’t see you, this is a little unnerving, you’ve sort of disappeared all of a sudden. But maybe a little bit more light would be nice. But we’re going to be
fine. Alright. I’m gonna read a little bit, and then were going to open this up. We have a wonderful evening planned for you, and hopefully you will enjoy it. Yes? I’m actually, I'm on this mic.,
I’m not on this mic…. Pardon?, you can not hear me? Ahhh… if I speak this way, can you hear me now? Oh, alright, I have no problem pumping up the volume, alright? Welcome to the 2009 annual
meeting and to what promises to be an exciting opening plenary session. In assembling this plenary panel, I sought out innovative thinkers from diverse backgrounds, fields and stages of the life
course who have placed their craft in service to issues of social justice. I asked them to share how their work gives them a distinctive angle of vision on the needs of contemporary and future
communities. I sought out people who have a special affiliation with youth, if at all possible. Through a dialog across difference my goal is that these individuals might catalyze new sociological
thinking about the multiple communities in which we are engaged as well as imagined communities that we might bring about. Because our panelists are not simply thinkers but also doers, for many of you
this session may provide pragmatic ideas about what works, what doesn’t, and why. Now, why this opening plenary? The program theme The New Politics of Community examines how ideas and practices
concerning community might shed light on contemporary politics. Currently the term “community” resonates through social policy, popular culture and everyday social interaction in ways that
generate dynamic social and political identities. Ideas about communities hold significance for quite different populations with competing political agendas. Political groups of the right and the left
invoke ideas of community, yet have very different definitions in mind. In this context, building excellent, diverse, and just communities constitutes one of the major challenges of our times. Our
panelists are all involved in building local, regional, national or global communities. Some are focused on building learning communities for students, while others are students. Some work directly
with local communities who strive to tackle social inequalities of race, gender, poverty, ethnicity and immigration status. Some study and use art, music and film to educate and inspire youth, while
others craft excellent scholarship that examines youth cultural production. Because our panelists are so different from one another, we envision a lively and substantive dialog as panelists consider
the connections between social justice and building excellent diverse and just communities. Our format tonight, when I actually sit down, will be one of conversation. Our panelists will each present
five minutes, introducing themselves to you and saying a few words about how they are involved or how they envision or work with issues of community and social justice. What is it about their work?
What is their distinctive angle of vision that comes from their work? Now they are pretty modest though, so since their kind of a modest group, I decided that they might want to get—I will say a few
biographical things about them, so just in case, we cover all bases. Nancy Lopez is an associate professor and graduate advisor in the sociology department in the University -- oh by the way, I’m
going to go right down and describe them in order so you’re not identifying Reverend Guest as Nancy Lopez. Those of you who had too much wine at dinner; this is for you, alright? Nancy Lopez is an
associate professor and graduate advisor in the sociology department at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Her research focuses on race, ethnic relations, gender and education. Her book,
titled Hopeful Girls, Troubled Boys: Race and Gender Disparity in Urban Education, looks at second generation Dominicans, West Indians and Haitians to explain why girls of color are succeeding at
higher rates then their male counterparts. Dr. Lopez’s co-edited book Creating Alternative Discourses in Latino and Latina Education addresses the need for counter- hegemonic discourses on how to
improve educational opportunities among Latinos and Latinas. She is currently conducting a study on the achievement gap, discipline gap and indigenous education in New Mexico. Oh, maybe they’re not
in order… here we go. Tam Tran, our next panelist, is a student activist and filmmaker and an outspoken advocate for immigration rights and immigration reform. While an undergraduate at UCLA, Miss
Tran directed a film project featuring testimonies from undocumented students spotlighting the unique challenges, fears and hopes of young scholars in US without citizenship status. Miss Tran’s film
has been screened at immigration reform events across the country. In May 2007 Miss Tran, herself an undocumented student, testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration in support of the
DREAM Act: federal legislation that would give children of undocumented immigrants the opportunity to obtain citizenship if they earn a high school diploma, Miss Tran continued to vocally spotlight
the importance of immigration reform in October 2007 when her own family was targeted for deportation. More recently she has been outspoken about the challenges of undocumented immigrants and higher
education funding. She is currently pursuing her doctorate at Brown University, in American Civilization - now we might want to talk about that a bit, sociology, you know, can we?…alright, sorry.
All right, I couldn’t, you know, let that opportunity go by without saying a few things there. Our third panelist, Miss Charlotte Bunch. She is the founder and executive director of the Center for
Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University and she’s been an activist, author and organizer in the women’s civil rights and human rights movements for four decades. A Board of Governors
Distinguished Service Professor in Women and Gender Studies, Bunch was previously a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. A founder of Washington DC Women’s Liberation and of Quest, a feminist
quarterly, she is the author of numerous essays and has edited or co-edited nine anthologies, including the Center's reports on the UN Beijing Plus Five Review and the World Conference Against Racism.
Her books include two classics: Passionate Politics: Feminist Theory in Action and Demanding Accountability:The Global Campaign and Vienna Tribunal for Women’s Human Rights. Amina Mama is currently
the first Barbara Lee Distinguished Chair in Women’s Leadership at Mills College in Oakland California, where the college will be collaborating with the San Francisco based Global Fund for women to
offer Transnational Feminist Studies, a public events program that will bring leading international scholars, activists and artists together in a series of dialogs profiling women’s contributions to
some of the key challenges of the postcolonial world. Dr. Mama was previously the first Chair in Gender Studies at the African Gender Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa, where she
initiated the graduate program in gender studies and convened a series of continental research and publication projects. Before retuning a to full time career in 1998—a full time academic career in
1998--she spent over a decade engaged in development consultancy, policy advocacy, community activism and research in Nigeria and several other African countries. Donald Guest is pastor of San
Francisco’s Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, a model for progressive politics, practice, and community development activities. In 1964 the church created the Council on Religion and
Homosexuality, and quickly attracted many members from San Francisco’s diverse communities of hippies, addicts, gays, the poor and the marginalized. Glide is known for its inclusivity and for its
capacity to build communities across differences of sexuality, class, gender, race, ethnicity, health status and age. While Glide has been involved in countless progressive political efforts through
the decades, it has also been attentive to serving the needs of its own community. Since the 1960’s, Glide has offered its flagship free meals program and has been a active force in combating
poverty, drug abuse, violence and homelessness in the San Francisco community. Recently, Glide Memorial Church received popular culture fame in the film The Pursuit of Happyness. Marcyliena Morgan is
an Associate Professor of Communications at Harvard University and the Executive Director of Hip Hop Archives. Dr. Morgan founded the Hip Hop Archive at the W.E.B. De Bois institute at Harvard
University while on the faculty in African American Studies. The Hip Hop Archive is a collaborative effort among students, faculty, artists, staff and other participants in hip hop culture committed
to supporting and establishing a new type of research in scholarship devoted to knowledge, art, culture, materials, organizations, movements and institutions developed by those who support and follow
hip hop. Dr. Morgan’s own research focuses on youth, gender, language, culture and identity, sociolinguistics (I’m going to run out of breath in a sentence) discourse and interaction; and she
teaches courses on hip hop, discourse, language and identity, race, class and gender, the ethnography of communications and representation in the media. Now as you listen to this your probably saying,
whoa, those are some very different people from one another, don’t you think? Yah? And do you think--don’t they strike you as some really interesting folk, in a lot of ways? So, just a few minutes
ago we sat down to have a conversation where we met each other for the first time and they all looked at each other and they said “Why are we all here? What do you want us to do? Exactly—you
know--where are we?” I want to go back to that initial question, how does that work? How does the work that this particular group do, give them a distinctive angle of vision on community and social
justice. That’s where we’re going to start our conversation, and I’m going to sit down and ask them that question. So, I’ll be back a little later. Panelists, welcome. do you think we can all
scoot around a little so have our semicircle back a bit more, cause Nancy I’m losing you down there, or Professor Lopez, however you wish to be described. So we had talked about issues of community
and social justice. I’d like to start with that. Each of you come from very different walks of life, very different phases of your career, just very different places and I would like us to have a
conversation across difference, around questions of community and social justice. So I’m asking each of you to tell us a little bit about your work. And how does your work give you a distinctive
angle of vision on community and social justice? I’m going to start with Professor Lopez. NANCY LOPEZ: Okay. Thank you so much for that wonderful introduction. In my five minutes I’d like give you
a few of the voices and experiences of the youth and community workers I’ve had the pleasure to work with in New Mexico. And keeping in mind what Dr. Collins reminds us in all her work, that
intellectual activity does not emanate from a select few but rather from a range of people. As you listen, I invite you to consider the importance of social location and standpoint. Whatever the place
you became aware of intersecting race, gender, class, and sexual orientation hierarchies, it’s important that you think about how these cumulative experiences became part of your world view and life
perspectives as well as how they shaped your ideas about social justice. I talk about racing, gendering and social race in quotes, to highlight that these are socially constructed, historically
variable processes that are continually being created and contested at the level of lived experience, institutions, and larger social forces. Now I’ll turn to the quotes. In Hopeful Girls, Troubled
Boys, I write about Sam, a 26 year old second generation Haitian business owner from Queens who talked about race gender profiling. He says: “It’s really interesting to have my friend Tom around,
because a lot of the experiences that I’ve had to go through he never would have really been able to relate to until he’s been with me to see that - what I go through with police harassment and
discrimination.” I suppose that Tom was given the gift of the sociological imagination, which would have probably helped in these recent events in Cambridge. And Sam talked about the importance of
him attending the Million Man March, and this was in the mid 90’s, late 90’s as a space where he would receive some respite from the racially stigmatized masculinities, the controlling images of
black masculinity. Jahaira, a 30-year-old Dominican woman from Queens who worked in the banking industry, talked about the harassment that she dealt with on a daily bases from a co-worker, and she
says, “He was annoying. He thought I was Haitian”. “I said no, but I could be because they are the same island. I probably have some Haitian blood more than likely.” “Oh, you know they are
coming in boats trying to cross the water... so and so many got killed last week.” “I said “Yeah, it’s a shame to come here and find nothing.” Along with her critique of the color of US
immigration policies, she expressed solidarity with the black diaspora and took her children to protests against police brutality. Now we'll move to New Mexico. Señora Cecilia, a Mexican immigrant
mother who spoke in Spanish about how she got involved in community organizing. And she says “I was one of those mothers who was afraid to go to school. I used to think that I could only go to
school if they called me but I had a problem with my son. He would cut school, he had bad grades. Then I met the volunteer of the Community Living Room and they told me that I could come in and
volunteer. So I helped my son and now I stay to help the other youth.” This again embodies what Dr. Collins has referred to as other mothering and this community work among racially stigmatized
mothers. And this is a real feat for immigrant mothers in New Mexico. I’m sure some of you read in the paper in 2003: in violation of the school district policy, INS was called to the school and two
youths were almost deported because they fit a profile. And then I also want to just mention two more quotes. At a different school we find Miss Viveta’s dual language classroom that served as a
safe space for immigrant youth. She’d talk about the importance of The National Day of Action and in spite of the principal's threats of suspensions, teachers organized so that students would not be
penalized if they had notes from their parents to participate in the protest and I actually witnessed 150 students walking and chanting; “Si, se puede. Yes, we can.”, and she says, “How did it
go at the rally yesterday?. Yesterday was a very important day for us Hispanics. We are over 40 million and we are a large part of the US economy. We want a migration accord for those who are living
on the border. We had a great impact yesterday, even if they don’t want to admit it. That’s how Martin Luther King won civil rights for us boycotts. We’re no longer afraid. We’re not invaders.
We want to be a part of the country. Our soldiers have died in war.” And she really embodied this anti-racist pedagogy and authentic caring as described. The last quote I’ll share with you is from
the Indigenous Education Study Group. Natania, a Native American student at yet another high school at one of the Pueblos talked about her future plans, and she says. “I’d still want to come back
here to the school, you know, because they have this youth center here. I wouldn’t mind working here, I probably wouldn’t even get the best pay, but I still want to come here and support my
community. I want to be a community organizer.” Natania’s empowerment speaks to the need again for these types of safe spaces. So if we’re uncomfortable with the status quo, how can we all work
toward social justice? What if we had safe spaces, Community Living Rooms in all of our schools and community faculty? What if we had pedagogy anchored in social justice? What if, as Michelle Fine
says, we had standards for inclusion instead of exclusion? What if we engaged in research with not on community? Youth participatory research. What if 10 year promotion committees and institutional
review boards value this type of work? And I’ll with Dr. Collins' provocative question for all of us. “How do my thoughts and actions dismantle someone else’s oppression, foster community
development and form part of a larger social justice project, for human liberation at the individual, cultural and institutional levels?” Thank you. Can everybody hear me? Yeah, okay. Well, first of
all, thanks for coming and hanging out with us on our Friday night in San Francisco. But, but, yeah, I’ll just ahh… My name is Tam, like Dr. Collins said earlier, and I’m here to talk about
undocumented immigrant youth, which is, I guess, the research I’ll be focusing on in my future graduate studies. I just finished my first year. So I’m still trying to navigate how that’s going
to work out. Essentially, because of the fact that we haven’t had any kind of comprehensive immigration reform in the last twenty years, as the population of undocumented immigrants is growing in
this country so has the population of undocumented children. Just as their parents haven’t had a path to legalization so have their children continued to stay undocumented and you know they also
continue to live in the shadows. So of about the 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country about five percent of them are minors and about 1.6 to 1.8 million of them would qualify for
something called the DREAM Act. It’s a piece of legislation that was first introduced in 2002 and if passed it would provide a path to legalization for undocumented youth who arrived in the US
before the age of sixteen, have lived in the US for five continuous years and either complete two years of college or serve two years in the military. But, you know, as this group of undocumented
youth have, you know, grown up in the US, their—and like I said their population is growing, this is something that policy makers have taken a note of. And because of that,about eleven states in US
have passed in-state tuition laws so that undocumented youth who have grown up in these states and have gone to high school in the states that they grew up in, they can go on and go to college by
paying in-state tuition but this does not mean that they qualify for any kind of financial aid or loans and even a lot of scholarships. But because of that, it opened a pathway for a lot of
undocumented youth to go into college and as they went into college, you know, a lot of them, like myself, were really scared about, I don’t know—like--you know saying that you're undocumented and
going to your professors and going to counselors and going to administrators saying that you have special needs, that the school, it just wasn’t ready to help with yet. The thing as time went on, a
lot of these undocumented students started meeting each other on campuses and they started organizing and making their schools aware of pretty much, like, their story and the plight that they have and
wanting to reach that American dream of going to college and eventually getting a job as a professor or whatever it is that they want to pursue. So I started out in college as an activist because I
was undocumented and because I had met all of these really cool kids that are, like, now my friends. And also towards the end of college I started getting into documentary film, so, I think that’s
where a lot of my research will lead, is: how do we as researchers find ways to use new technologies and new medias so that youth can represent themselves instead of us telling their stories for them
and letting them tell their stories in their own words? So I think something I just want to bring up really, really quickly that I’m really excited about is an event that’s happening next week.
It’s the Tour to Dreams Bike Ride and it happening from UCLA to UC Berkley, and if anyone's, like, interested in helping out, just talk to afterwards. But essentially, undocumented students are
going to be riding their bikes from UCLA to UC Berkley and they will be stopping at different campuses and campgrounds on the way up. And it’s also going to be a media event where they are going to
try to bring awareness to the issue and they’re also riding to fund raise for next year's tuition, 'cause I said earlier, you know, undocumented students don’t qualify for any kind of financial
aid. But in terms of my role in this as now a grad student and as someone who’s interested in new media and documentary film is that I’m going to be riding along with my camera and documenting as
this trip goes on and uploading, you know, the events of the day on YouTube and whatnot. And I’ve also been doing some outreach to, to like documentary film companies, I don’t know if you guys are
familiar with Participant Films. They have a “take action” part on their website, called Takepart.com. This is the same production company that was involved with Syriana and Al Gore’s
Inconvenient Truth, I believe. I mean, I just am always, like thinking of ways in which we can bring, like, academic ideas into a public realm. Obviously the first thing I thought of was, something
like YouTube: it’s free, you can put it on, anyone can access it. But yeah, I think that’s just something maybe to keep in mind, is how to utilize all of these new, like, networking tools and how
to broaden academic research and I think I’ll stop there. CHARLOTTE BUNCH: Okay, well it’s a little hard to summarize forty years of activism in five minutes but let me just start by saying I’m
Charlotte. And I began my life of activism as a small town Methodist girl from New Mexico. I went the opposite direction from a small town in New Mexico to New York but with a lot of stops along the
way. I think what I want to say is that I became an activist because I wanted to have adventure and I also wanted to be good. And I wanted to do the right, you know, do the good thing, and I think
ultimately it was communities. In my case in the 60’s in the south of the US, in particular the progressive student Christian movement and gospel Christianity in the black church that enabled me to
see that social activism was a way to have a life of meaning, to have community, to have friends and to also be engaged. And I say that because I experienced community in the 60’s as a very
important support to being able to break the paradigms in both the black and the white community in the south. There was a very important role of, at that time, the Christian church as community to
support people to make changes in their life. And I think it’s very important to acknowledge that community often comes from unexpected places. And that community is also created by people who
decide they want to bring change and that’s where I want to go with my comments, which is: I then began think consciously about how do we create community that supports the social justice we want to
see? How do I recreate what I benefited from as a student? I didn’t create that community but others had done that work, had laid that groundwork so that the community was there when the political
moment came for the possible changes to happen. I then began to work as a feminist in trying to create a community for women to make change in our lives and particularly to understand that we had to
have support for those changes. It wasn’t just an individualistic thing and I sometimes feel like the way feminism is portrayed in the media as if it’s just about a bunch of individual women
living their own life in some separate way. But in fact it started as a very community oriented thing, which is how do we enable ourselves and each other to make these changes. And I want to focus
particularly on the work that I’ve done recently because she asked us to reflect on our experiences around questions of youth and I’ve spent the last twenty years at the Center for Women’s
Global Leadership doing a lot of work on women’s global leadership, and particularly leadership for women’s human rights. And I think there's a couple of things that I’ve learned in trying to
build women’s human rights community globally or transnational feminist activism in community. The first is that you don’t make people leaders, people become leaders because they are motivated by
something happening that they care about and they respond to just as you’ve talked about. What you do if you want to support that, whether they're twenty-one or fifty-one or sixty-one, is you have
to provide opportunity for that leadership to thrive. You have to provide access to resources. You have to provide accesses to information, to public space. So what we’ve tried to do though our
leadership institutes is to find a way that women who are already taking leadership locally get the chance to take that leadership to another level. We didn’t make them leaders but we help them to
find a way to enter the international arena, to use the U.N., to work with other NGOs, and particularly to learn from each other. And so I think that if we want to talk about community, community is
crucial to leadership and certainly crucial to women being able to defend human rights. But that community comes from understanding that women are already trying to do these things everywhere. And
what they need is support for that, what they need is the space for that. There’s a backlash against a lot of that leadership, but at the same time what we see and we look for is where can you get
that support, where can provide support for women who want to bring change, to be able to move out and make that happen. From original transcript, not in video A couple of principles I’ve seen in
that... one is that you have be really clear that you’re not making people leaders, but you’re providing opportunity and access. Secondly, you recognize that leaders happen at every age, it’s
not about passing the baton. There are already youth leaders, I was a youth leader, and I was a student leader. They are youth leaders today. The question is, how do we build multigenerational
discussion and access that you get as an older person from working in this movement so that that access is available to the younger women who now have these ideas and the younger men. And thirdly, is
that being able to work in common and build coalitions is not about being the same, but it’s about really embracing diversity. It’s about learning from and embracing the differences amongst us in
order to build a more complete picture. So, often people make it sound as if somehow diversity and universality and human rights discourse are the opposite, but I actually think that if you want to
have a movement that has something in common you have to bring out all the diverse ways in which... I work with women, but this is true with women or men. People experience those issues and you build
some kind of commonality, some kind of community out of having the most comprehensive and inclusive picture you can of what it is you're trying to make happen. And that leads me to the third point,
maybe the final point--not sure if my time is running out-- which is, when we talk about community we often talk about it as if that was just something that’s already a given. You are born into
certain biological or identity-based communities, certain locations. But throughout our lives we are about creating and choosing other communities. We are about identifying the communities of support
for social justice work that we want to have, that we want to help make happen. And I think for me that’s the real challenge, which is: how do build that commonality from an authentic interaction of
diversity so that all of us are strengthened in our social justice work? And when I think about how did I get through eight years of the Bush Administration? I got through eight years of the Bush
Administration because of the community of friends I have around the world who understood what we were going through here, who said “We had a military dictatorship ... we didn’t stop working
because we had a military dictatorship.” Or who said, you know, “We had twenties years of structural adjustment policies. We didn’t stop our work just because there was a difficult situation.”
It’s that since of community that comes from being able to support each other through the difficult times and being ready to pick up on the openings, on the new moments, as I think we have today in
the United States, so that our communities support the kind of change that we really want to bring. And that is based on, for me, a really inclusive, diverse understanding of seeing the biggest
picture possible and then moving with some kind of chosen common values to try to bring about those changes. And we can talk in the discussion about, sort of, how do we do that, what are some of the
programs that I’ve been involved with or other people have in making that really happen so that we have the strength to challenge to paradigms of the institutions whether that’s human rights, or
other sort of problems that we’re facing. But I would just like to end with that thought: that the communities we choose are the ones that we must build to be able to make the social justice we
seek. Thank you. Amina Mama: I like a lot of what you said, Charlotte, um, I relate very strongly to it, particularly this thing in Africa when we saw the Bush regime rise some of us thought, “We
have so much experience we should really come and do some solidarity work over here.” Election issues... Nigerians can help you guys. Dictatorship, you now quiet coups, noisy coups, you know, we
really felt the need to—I remember offering, “You can come and stay with us.” And then I ended up here. Well, life’s strange. But I’m different from you two. I became an activist, not
because I wanted to be good, but because I was bad. Growing up in northern Nigeria it was not hard to be bad if you went to school beyond the age of twelve or fifteen. All the good girls were getting
married and leaving school, going into seclusion and so on. So I wanted things to be different. I wanted to contribute to change but on the other hand I didn’t want to be lonely. And in being
invited by Dr. Collins to think about community I realized from that starting point I’ve actually spent most of my life seeking, finding, and trying to build community with others who didn’t like
the status quo. Whether that was about gender relations in the place I grew up in, in northern Nigeria, or the rest of Africa or indeed over here in the United States of America. So it is born of a
sense of dissatisfaction. And then as a woman, why you become a feminist and need a community is because of the kinds of oppression that you object to when you witness them. They are the kinds of
oppression that are not just out there we can talk about the military, you can talk about growing up as witness to civil war. You could talk about some pretty heavy stuff. But when it comes down to
it, the oppressions that we deal with are very intimate. You don’t go away from them. You shut your door and lock yourself in hoping that vigilantes don’t come after you, and it could be in your
home. So the pervasiveness of what women challenge when they decide to challenge oppression means that you really need friends and you need friends not just in a casual sense but you need people who
will exchange and do a lot more for you then is the standard practice, even within liberation movements where people have to be far more supportive of one another then they do in more formal political
spaces. So I would say it began there. It began with a dissatisfaction with what was required of one in order to be good but actually to think that the world really really needed to change. And then I
started thinking, as Patricia pointed out, I’ve sort of had an in and out relationship with the university and years on I realized that I kept returning to the university and asked myself why.
Because I wasn’t very satisfied with the community that one finds in higher education. You know, you’re supposed to be bound by discipline, it’s hierarchical, its fairly autocratic, you know, we
know this. Some of us even study our own institutions and we find that they’re not what we thought they should be, you know, freedom of ideas. Where do we find it in the academy, you're disciplined.
One could argue that the academy is a site of pacification but in that it competes, and this is way I kept coming back to it. It competes with the military, it competes with the free—not so free
market, for the attention of young people. And the continent I come from has the lowest higher education enrollment rates in the world. Out of the millions that are eligible, very few get in. So if
you work in higher education you’re dealing with an elite, a very small elite. But that elite is still six million young Africans in a region which really needs people who can think critically and
contribute to democratization and the transformation of societies that have struggled long and hard to overcome historical legacies which have not been favorable, and currently are engaged with global
systems that are still not very favorable. And which have really disrupted the idea of community in most of the places that most Africans come from. The other reason to work with young people... I
mean the university is six million, it’s too good and opportunity to miss. It’s to a huge privilege to engage with young people on a day-to-day basis. The other reason for taking that space
seriously is because it’s always had something of a change agenda. Since most of our universities were established as postcolonial institutions that we're dedicated to building, so they’ve had a
deep sense of social responsibility. They haven’t always followed through on their mission. They proclaim gender equality, but there are deeply patriarchal, andocentric knowledges: the usual things
you have in the academy here, I’ve noticed. With some, well, not surprise, I’d be kidding if said I was surprised because you know a lot of our institutions are modeled in the context of
globalization, higher education reform. Ours are looking more and more yours but poorer. So it’s a valuable space to work in, I still think it is. But we work in it a way that problemitizes
everything it stands up for and claims to do but has difficulty doing. Neither market forces nor autocratic régimes have done us many favors. So the academy, whereas one could be critical of its
conventions and it’s tendency to reproducing the social and sociological status quo, you also have to recognize that it also has this enormous potential for change. So that.... it's very attractive,
it's very compelling, and I kept finding my way back in. After got fed up and frustrated and left I’d find my way back in. So the six million young people is the reason. And then, working with
youth. Why? In a region, you know, Africa is the oldest continent on this planet, it is said. It’s also the youngest. For terrible reasons, a lot of which emanate from Washington policies, our life
expectancies are now in the thirties and forties. Working with the old may not be the best way to contribute to the future because they are diminishing in numbers. And that's, I don’t want to sound
gloom and doom as sociologists do, as Dr. Collins told us, but there is a reality there that means you have to take the issue of youth very, very seriously, particularly in places where life is
extremely harsh. So, that’s why I continue to work in the universities, and within that work towards building communities of particular kinds. I would say that scholarly community, as I said, you
have disciplinary associations like, like this one, which are a privilege. But with every stage that you go through formal higher education, you also get more and more removed from where you’ve
begun from. So if you like, there is a succession of alienations. So the job of an intellectual and academic who espouses a commitment to social responsibility and to activism is actually to form
communities of a different kind. And that is also because those who defy the conventions and try to do radical work in those establishments, like feminists in the world in general, need friends. So
building intellectual communities within universities among researchers and connecting those beyond the academy to social change movements, I think has been an extremely worth while and rewarding
thing to spend a lot of time on. As I’ve said, the elite nature of the university means that can’t do a lot on their own, and in order to facilitate change processes they really do need to connect
with broader social forces and movements, and you know, that’s to some extent been possible in some spaces built carefully and with hard work within the African arena. But the reason that community
is so difficult and building community is the whole story of, if you like, postcolonial societies. We’re talking about societies where even the imagined community that is a nation in the old since
simply has never really succeeded in coming into proper existence. Countries with hundreds of languages, hundreds of ethnicities, religions, deeply fragmented by their history, further fragmented by
periods of autocratic rule. The idea of a community, a democratic community is something that you have to start from a very different place to begin to build. And part of that is because we've simply
never had the resource base to invest in producing the fiction of a nation. So community has very strange and diverse fluid forms which mean that we start thinking about it from a different place,
almost from zero. And I think that on the one hand sounds negative but it’s a huge opportunity because we don't have all the baggage of an established idea of who are and where we come from. These
things have been contested from day one and deeply contested. And the same is true of gender relations. On the one hand, you people often think of Africa and equate it with extremes of gender
oppression but the converse is also true. So the contestations are very invigorating and far more pronounced but to pursue those, you’ve had to build very strong networks of women activists, who
work on human rights issues, who work against militarism, who work on conflict and we see the most “underdeveloped region of the world”, with some of the most vibrant mobilizations across
communities, across classes and across borders. So, feminists forming these communities all over the continent, inside and outside, and across institutional boundaries, has been underway for a very
long time, so people say, “oh, you contributed to building this new “emergent scholarly network” of feminist scholars all over Africa which has own journal called Feminist Africa.” I said
“No we didn’t build it, it was already there, we’re simply intervening into an on going, long-term movement that’s dedicated to challenging oppression in the various ways that it’s manifest
across the region and that seeks to connect with institutions like Charlotte's and bring that insight, the vantage point of Africa.” Which is pretty unique, I mean you see the world almost as the
opposite of what you would see if you stand in Washington. You see the world in a particular way, if you stand in Africa, you see the consequences of that view, and you live them. So you have a very
particular, I would say, very powerfully critical vantage point on global processes. And that’s something that I think can usefully inform thinking in a community like this one. Just imagine
yourself in a very different location and it gives you a completely different perspective that we can all learn from. So, for me the challenge has been, really, what it takes to form community in
places with poor infrastructure, with limited resources, where the things that you take for granted, you know, annual meetings of disciplinary groups, have all had to be struggled for almost from
scratch, so that’s been very, very challenging. And the questions about how you do that come done to really deeply formed personal relationships, extensive networking. The question of how you
communicate across the barriers, remain extremely powerful and strong, and demanding questions that we form cross-border relationships and reach out to communities like this one to learn from. So,
I’ll leave you with that for now. DONALD GUEST: First of all I would like to say it’s almost oxymoronic but welcome to San Francisco. I have lived here three and half years and am a native of
Chicago, Illinois. But I am now also a San Franciscan. And this is a wonderful place to be and we’re glad you came here. Actually, my breakfast, lunch and dinner depends on your tourist dollars
so... we don’t want you to play hooky from anything, but please get around and see the city. After 60 years the most important thing that I’ve learned is that I really am a pastor. And that’s
been a long time coming. But it was—I was 18 years old, so I was, I guess still a youth. I was still living in my parent’s home, to me that qualifies you as a youth. And I was listening to a
Baptist preacher, which is ironic for a kid who grew up most of his life Roman Catholic, and then became a Methodist. Listing to a Baptist preacher on the radio, got down on my knees as he finished,
he was reading from the book of 2 Corinthians, and I gave my life to God. I asked God one thing and that was that I not make all of the mistakes that all the churches seemed to be making. So, you can
be the judge of whether or not that prayer got answered. But I got a wonderful opportunity to come here and work with the Reverend A. Cecil Williams, who is a founding pastor of Glide as it exists
now. We call him founding pastor even though he certainly—Glide certainly existed before he arrived in 1964. In fact, in 1914, it was interesting because, Lizzy Snyder Glide was out of the Southern
Methodist Church. She was a native of Louisiana, had a religious experience at a revival in Sacramento and decided that what she needed to do for God was give away one of the largest fortunes at that
time in the state of California, which was the estates, the ranches, the oil wells and so forth, that we were amassed by her husband Joseph Glide, who was a native of Somersetshire, England and
private school. There is this myth in America that people come here poor and get rich, well most of the people who were rich here were rich elsewhere and their fortunes helped the come here and get
richer. So, you know, if do some historical research you shouldn’t accept some of these myths as givens. And that’s why most American people are continuing to vote for things and elect people that
are against their interests, because they believe those myths that well they’re going to get rich some day. But Lizzie gave away most of that money and she did it, in 1914 she developed what still
exists in Mary Elizabeth house for professional and working women in the city of San Francisco. San Francisco’s always been a boys' town, it was a sailors' town. My dad shipped out of Treasure
Island during WWII. This was a place where sailors came and hung out until the went some place else, it has a long history of Merchant Marines. Lizzie felt that there needed to be a safe place where
there was not alcohol. So in 1914 she established Mary Elizabeth Inn, later the Glide Hotel, which is now adjacent to Glide Church which is right across the street from you, and California Hotel which
was also a Temperance Hotel and Epworth House at the University of California Berkeley, one of the first privately owned institutions on a public school campus, again, for Methodist women who were
going to school. So I note in these days, because it even happens at Glide, we tend to write off people’s religious enthusiasm, but in fact her religious enthusiasm lead her to deal with women who
were definitely on the margins and the edges of society from, at least from the period in which she was active in giving away her fortune, from 1880 to 1935. At the dedication, the bishops of the
church wanted to call that place the Fitzgerald Methodist Episcopal Church South, they tried to put it on the stone, Lizzie had the stone crushed, she had her own stone made, which simply read from
Isaiah 56, “This should be house of prayer for all people and it shall be called Glide Evangelistic Center.” And, so in keeping with that spirit in 19—it’s interesting how different
communities can have some things going on that I would say are spiritually similar and don’t know it, because we don’t talk to each other. But here was the Methodist Episcopal Church South.
Lizzie: a committed Southerner. She wanted a Southerner's church in city of San Francisco and yet she had that same, I would call it, magnanimous vision about what humanity could look like that Cecil
Williams received as he was growing up in San Angelo, Texas, also in the South but almost three generations later. When Cecil came they had about 35 members. He got up and took the cross out of the
church those thirty-five people left. And, you’ve heard the—you’ve heard the story, just before I arrived here, about actually eight years earlier, the Methodist Conference actually moved their
headquarters and their bishop out of our building, it had just gotten so—I guess they did not want to identify with what was going on. I don’t want to say anything about Glide service programs. I
wrote a lot of stuff here, but I think some of you are familiar, if you're not.. one of my church members is here, John Eason, he’s over there in the corner—stand John so they can see you. I’m
proud of him because he grew up in the hood and went on to get in the Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago and he gave me this book that I’m quoting from, so, you know, your students can come
back and bless you and bring you out of your ignorance. In Omar McRobert's study' Streets of Glory: Church and Community In a Black Urban Neighborhood, that’s 2003 if you're interested. University
of Chicago Press. He analyzes churches that survive and thrive in the Four Corners area of Boston, various forms of activism that make them change agents. After he did an exhaustive study of the
community he focused on three churches in that Four Corners area that were charismatic evangelical in their orientation with their reliance on the Holy Spirit and Biblical insight. Their common focus
was on the spiritual experience rather than on the notion of doctrine, or teaching people the right thing, or the good thing to do, they thought it was important to kind of translate that spiritual
experience that they were having in the context of the religious community out to the larger community. One of the people mentioned is Eugene Rivers, and I know a lot of you don’t like him because
he was with the Bush Administration but he’s really done great work. And, the other two are noteworthy as well-- OK, right. FACILITATOR: You are a preacher. DONALD GUEST: That’s why I wrote stuff
down. She says we gotta move, because we are a preacher—don’t worry, you got some other preachers up here too. FACILIATOR: That’s why I gave him time. DONALD GUEST: McRoberts demonstrates that a
spiritual activism can exist even in the most theologically conservative religious context. One of our most important programs is our Youthbuild at Glide. Youthbuild is a national organization, and
our specific program, we have been fortunate to work with the unions and so all the people who come out of their program are required to get the GED but they also get an apprenticeship, so, and they
start working right away. On this side of the street over here you’ll see new construction going on, it says: Needy Brothers and right next to it is a new building which is affordable housing for
families. Both of those buildings were constructed through the labor of the young people who have come out of our program, so, and you need to know that these people were recruited from gang
communities in Bayview-Hunters Point, if you know anything about out here. This is one of most violent areas that I’ve lived in. I know people think Chicago is violent but there hasn’t been one
event that I attended here when I got first here that there wasn’t gun play, everybody here has a gun. It’s truly America. And, then some of our young people come from Oakland, some of them come
from what we call, Western Addition or the former Fillmore community. And we use Treasure Island. The city sold us a public school building there because Treasure Island is a gang-free zone. You know,
when you’re working with people, you have to make sure that it’s a safe environment that you bring youth and young people into. Especially because as soon as they try to break out of the other
social patterns which also give them a sense of being in community that are not necessarily so positive they are the odd person out who come under attack, so males and females are equally engaged in
the program and represented there. We take special time, we have case managers who work especially with our gay and lesbian students of color. Now this is very important because many of those persons
in the program, as well as in our church who are teenagers, really struggle around issues of sexuality and there are really very few resources for them and then when they try to claim their full
humanity in the context of their families and communities of origin they often find very terrible things happening to them. There are different forms of violence it’s not all just physical. So
that's kind of what we do. We have amazing recovery programs that follow McRoberts' theory of helping people talk about their experiences, helping groups critique those experiences and then helping
the group come together to discern how they’re going to solve their own problems, and this is something Cecil Williams instituted back in '86 and '87 when he was dealing with the crack epidemic here
in San Francisco. I would rather answer questions but, glad to have you here, glad to be here with this august, I am very intimidated, there’s so much smarts up here, I feel like I’ve gotten blown
off the stage. But, it’s also exciting to be with people who are taking their academic work and their social work very seriously. We have a whole slew of social workers, some people have called us a
cult. We may be, but we have, our CEO has a MBA from Harvard University. So we invite you to come and visit the cult, all religious groups are cults anyway, and have some fun seeing some people in
community across racial and ethnic, political lines, I know because when I preach sometimes the Democrats come after me, the communists always come after me and the Republican come after me too. So,
you know, that’s pretty much it and I’d be glad to answer any questions about what we do, and further questions about who we are.. Thank you. Marcyliena Morgan: Hi, I’m Marcyliena Morgan and I
just want to, before I begin, say that I’m now at Harvard and a professor in African and African American studies, and the Hip Hop Archive is at the Du Bois Institute at Harvard. And when you walk
into the Hip Hop Archive there, it’s, you know, and entrance that’s an amazing, hopefully when you come and visit us sometime, you will consider it an amazing space. When youth come into this
space, the first thing that they see, along with the images are the three words, “build, respect, represent.” And, part of the reason I’m the final speaker here is because, in terms of hip hop,
every topic talked about by the panelists today is actually a great concern to youth and is engaged at some level in hip hop. I want to just talk a little bit about what we do at the Hip Hop Archive
and how I ended up being involved in it. And, then relinquish everything back to Dr. Collins. The idea for “Build Respect Represent” came from the youth who worked with me in setting up the Hip
Hop Archive. And it is a great amazement to me in working with youth that when you give them the opportunity to have input and to make real decisions, in a way that is both democratic, where you’re
facilitating and there’s leadership. Because in many cases they really do want, need to be a professor and not a teen. What happens is that the negotiation of ideas is one where we all really learn
about what’s important. The words “Build Respect Represent” have come down from the Hip Hop Archive, come back up, come down, come back up, and as that happens much of what we’re doing is
saying “Do we still need to say it?” And in the end, as different generations of youth come to the archive, the answer becomes “We need to put it back up.” We need to let people know that yes
we’re building, but we’re going to also, in the process of building, make sure respect, the variety of ideas, ethnicities, concerns, and that we represent our interests and our issues. I committed
to doing the Hip Hop Archive as real commitment in 2002, partly in reaction to the growing trend of looking at youth as social problems and the sort of at-risk movement. And that so much of what
happened in the academy, so many of, so much of the research, our ability to stay in the academy was really based on talking about youth in that way and that way only. And having also grown up on the
south side of Chicago, I think one of the things that you realize is that there are lots of problems in the African American community. There are also lots of other things going on as well that in
many respects address those problems. As hip hop began to develop, it became clear, especially from youth in colleges and universities, that all these problems were being discussed, all these issues,
but being discussed in ways that actually were life-affirming, that really supported the notion of “I come from a community that I’m proud of.” When you think about the different elements of hip
hop, and you know the beauty of hip hop is that youth set it up. So they go to school, they spend all their day, their time, you know, in education. So the aspects of hip hop are called elements,
because you know, the elements in the body and the, you know, and all that. So the elements in hip hop are MCing, DJing, graffiti, dance and the fifth element, which is knowledge. So if you think
about the way we became first aware of hip hop, it was mainly through graffiti, where they’re tagging, basically, their way to school and back home. And so what actually begins in hip hop is this
notion of redefining this urban space, which eventually becomes an example of urban decay from the perspective of urban planners and cities. But from the perspective of youth it’s like, their bus
route, it’s their subway route, it’s how they walk to school. And it was them saying “We’re here.” And as we think about the different economic issues and the decays of the communities,
these kids are constantly reaffirming those particular neighborhoods in that way. So hip hop in many respects is the minors’ canary of society, if one listens to what’s going on. I’m not talking
about popular hip hop, I’m really talking about the way youth engage various artists, especially at the local level. The Bay Area is an amazing area for hip hop, if you get a chance to listen to the
Bay Area hip hop, it’s a wide variety of hip hop. I, as director of Hip Hop Archive, and as a fan of hip hop, don’t actually think there’s something called really bad hip hop. There’s often
hip hop that I wish like, we get through that period, let's you know, get rid of this. But it is not the case that the hip hop community itself does not believe in censorship. It believes in getting
rid of bad things, they, it believes in and critique, and critique, and critique, constant critique. And that is why the hip hop archive still exists, because critique is a part of academic life.
Critique is what we do. It is such a powerful kind of argument within hip hop, to talk about that’s, whether we do it or do it well or not, that is what we’re supposed to be doing. So youth and
hip hop believed very early on that they were involved in an intellectual community. That MCs on mic—mics, were talking about issues that really and truly mattered. They’re a voice of what was
really happening in their communities. And they felt that they were really functioning as truth-sayers in a world that was attacking their particular generation. That was attacking youth of color in
particular. And that they developed these ciphers to protect themselves and to practice, and to deal with truth, and to deal with honesty based on merit and merit only. It was “get in where you fit
in,” or – “get in where you're fit in” is what it said. And if you don’t belong, unless you’re gonna operate by these particular rules and perspectives. The other aspect of hip hop that
became very important was part of that tagging: it is protecting, identifying and respecting space and place, and identifying safe places. But also the reality of the space that youth lived in. And so
the descriptions that were often very hard for us to hear of the cities, of the schools, of the police departments, of every aspect of life that youth had to deal with very much became a part of hip
hop. And I’m mentioning these things because these aspects are also, now, a part of a lot of our discussion about cities, especially the more—and as we talk more and more about space and place.
Another aspect that was important in hip hop was community. This whole notion of the hip hop nation, what it means to be hip hop. Are you really truly hip hop? Do you practice? Do you critique? Are
you supporting everyone’s voice? While we may look at hip hop and say, you know it’s awfully sexist and it's this, and it is all those things. In terms of the actual practice of the elements of
hip hop, it is really based on skill. That is all hip hop people talk about. They’re absolutely obsessed with skill. Do they have skills? Are you good? Can you rhyme? Can you rhyme this way? Can you
rhyme that way? Can you talk about anything? Can you do, can you do these particular kinds of, you know, moves in terms of dance? What are your skills? Are they really honestly highest, the highest
possible level? And in the hip hop, that’s the dream: doing everything at the highest possible level. Now, there are lots of challenges to hip hop. One of the middle... main challenges of hip hop is
the middle class, and by the middle class, I really mean everyone here. Because what’s also happening to hip hop, you know I started Hip Hop Archive and eveyone’s like “What? Why?” You know it
was just you know it was what—no one said “Yay” okay. I mean it took quite awhile. But when it started happening, it was because you’re, I’m not talking about those of you, all of you, you
know who you are. Your kids, you know you’re like, “Well my son,” you know “my daughter.” And so, “Tell me more.” So it became—that really became a challenge. And it became a challenge
because it really meant that what artists had to do, what those who are really committed to hip hop had to do was protect itself from those who really wanted to make it, you know, something that a
generation that had been ignoring it could appreciate. And hip hop was not—is not that form. It’s something that really is a voice of youth in the US and throughout the world. And so it doesn’t,
it’s not gonna always fit. I always tell people, I start things off with saying “The beauty, what’s wonderful about working with fourteen year olds--” and everyone says “You know you never
had kids, did you?” And they’re right, okay. But the beauty of working with fourteen to seventeen year olds is that they absolutely believe they’re right. And they absolutely believe that
everything’s about them. And while it’s not, it’s a point of time when they’re really expressing and concentrating. And it’s through, as they go through that period, that we really get a
chance to interact and talk about various ways of representing and dealing with issues in ways that aren’t either/or. And I know I’m saying many things so hopefully we can just get to discussion
soon, but there’s one final thing I want to talk about, and that has to do with power, What hip hop is about is power. It’s about, you know, we read about the theories of discourse as power
whatever, but MCs coming in with those rhymes, have really changed so many things in terms of our recognizing what’s out there. Whether we have a president that’s brushing, you know,
dusting—brushing off his shoulder or whether we have people using terminology from hip hop, the idea that there are things going on in this society that must be addressed and youth are going to
address it is something that wasn’t here the way it is now before the eighties and the nineties when hip hop kept pushing its way into our consciousness. And we can really thank it for that.
The—one of the things as we were talking—prior to coming here, that is of great concern right now, at least for me in doing work in hip hop, I—we can talk later about what we’re doing—but
global hip hop is very important in terms of dealing with a lot of issues in the world and being able to express various ideas. In terms of global hip hop, in situations where you’re normally, can
only, should only publicly speak in your language, even though you may understand other languages in your region. In hip hop, you’re supposed to represent, and if you’re representing a nation...
Let’s take Nigeria, Nigerian hip hop artists rap in every language that they have access to in Nigeria, even if it’s just a few phrases, because they’re the ones who can talk about Nigeria as a
nation. And it turns out that in Nigerian hip hop part of what they do is reinforce this notion of “We are a nation” as a way of resisting this notion of “the north is different from the south,
etc, etc.” And so global hip hop is very important. Academics who study global hip hop however, seeing that importance, constantly focus on what’s really making global hip hop so powerful is that
it’s no longer American. That it’s no longer black. And that’s a very big problem that we have in working with academics in particular because there’s this very, there’s this notion that
because something is different in a place, that it didn’t develop in very much the same way or similar ways as everyone else. And let me just say, artists in these countries never say that. It’s
the researchers who do. And the other issue that I think is really important in hip hop, right now has to do with education. Hip hop is really hard on education. It’s incredibly critical of it. And
it’s critical of it for, probably very good reasons, but it’s also an opportunity. And hip hop and education and rapping math and rapping science and all of—I mean there is such an industry out
there now that’s around that, and that is something that we, I think, have to be focused on and very critical of. But I just wanted to throw some of those things out, just to pick up on some of the
points made by the rest of the panel, and then in there so that Dr Collins can… PATRICIA HILL COLLINS: You all have me befuddled. You have gone to so many different places that I almost don’t know
where to start again. And before I came in I was very clear about where I wanted to start. So I don’t know whether it’s me or whether there’s so much there that I have to think “Where do we
go?” It’s almost like you’ve come full cycle. We’ve started with education and youth and we’ve ended with youth being very critical of education. And we’ve traveled through some very
interesting terrain around trying to get an education as an undocumented immigrant. Or rejecting the education that one gets in northern Nigeria in terms of what it meant to be a good girl and how
that pushes one in a different direction around education. Or working with youth who has been basically put out of other places and getting them involved in education in a different way through
perhaps a community service function. Or maybe even, hip hop as the voice of youth as an alternative education itself, all right, to the schools, where one is teaching oneself. So there’s so many
ways we can cut into this, I’ve heard education, I’ve heard-- I’ve heard questions about the difficulties of building different kinds of communities. That’s another thing I’ve heard you all
say. For example, Charlotte, talking about the challenges of building multigenerational communities that sustain the energy from one group to the next. Or I would want to ask about the challenge of
organizing people who are afraid to become a community, to become a visible community. When you talk about the undocumented or when you talk—many people will say this about women. Or how hip hop
might empower. So I don’t even know where to start. Could we sort of begin to talk a little bit about the challenges that you might see with the communities that you’re engaged with around
organizing them or sustaining them or having them be certain types of communities. Would that be a place where you could see yourself going, right now? CHAROLOTTE BUNCH: Well I think one of the themes
that I heard, connected to that, is that all of us are talking about the challenges of organizing to give voice to those who feel they are not heard, in whichever discourse or context. [Cough] Sorry.
And I think what I kept thinking about was, I think we’re all struggling with how to get some, some way to break into a dominant ideology or discourse in the society or in the world that means many
people feel that their experience is not heard, their needs are not met, you said it very well with hip hop. And one of the challenges that comes to my mind from that is when you’re doing that work
or when I’m doing that work with a women’s human rights groups, there’s often a challenge about “Is our goal to be heard, primarily, or to change the structure?” And there’s often a lot of
challenge for us between just being heard, and actually trying to be effective politically. And I think that this is something that I hear a lot, because I heard each of us kind of reflecting it in
different ways, because our culture often makes us feel that to be effective we have to heard in certain kinds of ways. And sometimes I think we do, to make certain kinds of changes - say I’m
working in the UN and we want something to happen... and at the same time some of what we want to do is to organize alternative communities, not just to be heard in those structures but to actually
try to change those structures, the education etc. And that’s where I feel we’re, we’re almost in a bind because it’s very—it’s not hard to get heard, but it’s hard to get heard and be
effective. And to actually get the change you want, and not just be kind of heard and then, okay so there’s another point of view, but it doesn’t actually break through. So I don’t know whether
any of the rest of you have? NANCY LOPEZ: If I could just make a comment to that: In terms of looking how institutions change, show me the money. Because when you look at foundations who’ve made it
a priority and the community living rooms that I had mentioned in New Mexico had made it a priority that we’re gonna create these spaces that are run by mothers, by immigrants, undocumented mothers.
And depending on the context some principals welcomed it, others shuddered, thinking “We don’t want these people here. They bring their kids, they’re noisy, whatever.” But still, there was
money. So the principals could not reject it. And that safe space still thrives. I’m also co-director with Lara Gomez of an Institute for the Study of Race and Social Justice that was just
established with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy. This is another opportunity or another example of how institutions can change when we have resources. And the
sole mission of that center is to really focus on a need in health policy. We do not have diversity in health policy so they’ve targeted New Mexico as a place where we can recruit American Indian
and Hispanics that will deal with health policy. And actually a colleague of mine, Jane Hood, and I are working on a discipline study, also looking at any disparities by race, special education
status, gender, you name it. But again, it took the Sociological Initiatives Foundation grant, saying “We will require you to engage community in this type of work.” So I think one of the ways
that we can accomplish that is the resources and the institutional transformation that comes along with that and valuing that kind of work. PATRICIA HILL COLLINS: It seems….go ahead. AMINA MAMA:
Yeah, I was just going to follow up on the, similarly on the question of voice. You know women have—activists have been talking a lot for a very long time, and the issue for me isn’t so much that-
because you know you can go to the most remote community in the most remote part of Africa and you’ll find women who are incredibly articulate and they have an incredible understanding of history,
political economy, material realities. The issue isn’t so much bringing those to voice as activating those voices. And the problem is not the speech but the deafness and the power to ignore those
voices and the power to remain deaf and the power to continue to deprive, to you know allocate resources unevenly. And the only thing that, you’re exactly right, the only thing that has made it
possible to begin to develop, you know, research projects that work to activate the knowledge that women in communities all over the place have and to convert that, if you like, into some kind of
power, rather than just having voices that can be endlessly appropriated, commodified, you know, pictures that can endlessly adorn the latest UN documents, all that stuff, that visual and artistic
appropriation is too easy if you don’t somehow address the question of power. And that requires resources. So a lot of the work we did at the African Gender Institute, the university could not would
not, fund it despite the commitments, the policies, the politics that were favorable, particularly in South Africa at that historic moment we had to draw the resources from elsewhere and we ended up
with foundations who would support some kind of radical intellectual space, albeit on a short term. But that leveraging, using the possibility, making the arguments compelling enough, leveraging the
resources in order to facilitate those processes, that as I said over here you can take for granted that you can convene a workshop or a seminar. It is much more, the basics, much more expensive to
travel from one African country to another than it is to come to Europe. And as long as we were meeting by ourselves individually in Europe, you weren’t forming any kind of community. So it’s
about joining the dots, if you like, linking people’s very powerful and compelling perspectives, addressing the issues of systemic, entrenched political economies that, that lead to a reproduction
of epistemological inequality, and joining those dots and setting up processes that can allow change. So it’s far more than just voice. And people have been talking for a long time. Marcyliena
Morgan: I just wanted to also add in there- and I don’t know how this works, in African in particular, but technology I think is really so important now because technology, especially in the hands
of youth is so you know, different- it's access. And they can really drive things to the forefront in so many ways. And you know I realized when you were talking, Tam, that I knew that company, the
YouTube, because I know a number of people who work for them, and they were so excited that that was up and running. And the ability and the opportunity is really there. I think it is though, youth
driven, technology, in so many ways. That is, if you’ve- you know it’s if you’re living your life and you have all this work to do then you don’t have time to really get into, you know the
latest development of technology that may actually be incredibly important to what you’re trying to do. But you can’t, you can’t devote your time to that, and finding people who really can can
be very difficult. Even if, you know, because a lot of people say they can and can’t. And but it seems to be this age thing, you know, which I want to protest, but that’s the way it is. But, yeah,
I think the other point I wanted to make about technology to is that I think all the issues that we’re talking about really appear in all these places. And what we try to do at the archive is bring
them- you know we take a topic and say okay, we’re going to try to bring everything there is on Katrina, and what youth did in Katrina. We’re gonna put it in one place. We’re gonna try to take
everything on spirituality and hip hop and put it in one place so that if people want to research it or look at it, then we’ve done some of that work for them and we’re, you know, we’re trying
to encourage them to do that sort of thing. And I think that’s one way that we can actually do things is to think about putting those things out, those beacons out. Because I think a lot of what
we’re all doing is you know, setting them out, saying “Okay, we’re here, you know there are- there’s this community, you know, and if you think you’re alone you’re not. And we’re,
we’re out here.” PATRICIA HILL COLLINS: Would you say that it sounds like you’re working in different places? What I seem to be hearing is that there, there’s all this energy, there’s this
talent, there’s analysis on the part of people who are routinely seen as being on the bottom. Right? It’s not a question of that group not having voice. In some ways hip hop has broken through and
hip hop has quite a very powerful voice that technology has enabled that voice to be heard and actually to travel. So in some ways that’s evidence for this particular point of view that there’s a
lot out there and that it is searching for ways to become more visible as an organized community, as a political community, but it’s there. On the other hand, there are institutions that are very
organized and very well funded, often, who will absorb certain kinds of communities if they are safe. So... and that in the middle you have people who in some ways are looking both directions. Alright
so I’m wondering about this whole notion of—cause in some ways when I hear many of you talk I’m hearing this old term called scholar-activists that very much was kind of a, was a tribute to an
individual. But the whole notion of is it possible to build communities around core issues of social justice and fairness and participatory democracy -there’s been a lot of language attached to that
–that reaches in both directions, that does not necessarily assume that one must help the downtrodden, or assume that the so-called downtrodden must do it all on their own. So I’m kind of hearing
you talk about the different places of that whole process of those kinds of communities. When you say power, I mean I sort of heard- that’s really how I was hearing that. Does that sound like your
work fits into that framework or is that not, am I off base in terms of looking at it that way. For example, Tam, how would you situation yourself in that? Where would you put yourself in the, it’s
kind of a grass-roots movement or an academic movement, you’re sort of in the process of looking at both directions right now, strikes me. TAM TRAN: Well I was actually going to say something, right
after you were talking and I didn’t really know if I really had a point about it but I did want to give a shout-out to my friend Prerna who’s in front with the video camera, because she’s
actually one of the founders of Dreamactivist.org, which is the main website for the, for any kind of online DREAM Act organizing. And what I think is really interesting about this website is the fact
that they had approached so many different you know non-profits and other, like, media companies to help them set this up, and in the end, nobody was able to come through with any kind of - you know
when it comes down to it it comes down to money and resources - and when it came down to it there were about six or seven undocumented students who just decided to put this website together, and
because, you know being undocumented is something that’s hard to come out about like you were saying before. It’s a community that is invisible and in some cases people are still scared to come
out. One space that’s, that people have really been able to feel safe in is, has been on the internet, because it provides this level of anonymity, but at the same time you can come out when you
want to, when you choose to. And so a project they have done online is to have people, you know, email in and tell them their story, whether they’ve been here since they were two or three years old
or you know whether or not they’re gonna be deported in the next thirty days. And - she’s getting really embarrassed – but hey it’s her right there, with the camera. AMINA MAMA: What’s it
called? Did people hear what the website is called? TAM TRAN: It’s called dreamactivist.org, if anybody wants to check it out. But I mean I think- I don’t know. A lot of the work that I am
envisioning in the future has a lot to do with some kind of oral history archive just to document, you know, what’s going on and I just really feel like the internet and using the media, and making
this all available in a way that almost anyone that has a computer and internet can access it and for it to be free. And for anyone to be able to contribute to it as they freely can, you know with
like just a webcam on their laptop or whatever, is the way I want to do my work I guess. I, I mean I don’t really know how academia works, so I don’t know like.. AMINA MAMA: You'll find out! TAM
TRAN: --if I’m like being a little naïve or not. But I like, I do have this vision that like, I’m really just at a university to get funding so I can like pay my bills you know, but still like do
immigrants rights, like organizing and learn a few things along the way about, like, what I’m doing, so yeah... I don’t know what that laughter means but—but yeah, that’s just kind of how I
see it. PATRICIA HILL COLLINS: Can I follow up a little bit? I mean, because in some ways you’re saying that we may live in a time where there are possibilities to organize communities across
differences that used to be insurmountable or across distances that were just too far to travel. People who don’t know one another but who feel—who can create safe spaces not just in living rooms
but also on the internet. And that this actually may generate a whole new way of organizing communities that in some ways goes beyond institutions. I mean institutions might need to be—some might
need to be a bit worried when they hear a person like you say “Well I don’t know how it works and I don’t even know if I need it. For what I want to do.” Now that’s really a very interesting
place to be, you know it may be, maybe, youth, many youth, are pushed to that place because they don’t see a space for themselves. So they’ve become very creative around creating something new,
whether it’s the website or whether it’s through hip hop, or maybe things that we’re not even looking for, because in academia I don’t think we necessarily look for those things, initially.
CHARLOTTE BUNCH: But I was laughing when you said that because I think that’s actually, from my point of view, how so many social justice activists end up in the university. Precisely for the reason
that you gave, that’s how I ended up in the university. I didn’t plan to be in a university. I went there because I got the opportunity to create space for the vision of bringing together a
critique of human rights and a building of a community that I wanted to do. And I actually think that institutions need to see that, to follow up on what you said, Patricia, need to see that as
actually what makes those institutions alive and vibrant, you know. And I think that, based on my own experience at Rutgers, they didn’t have any idea what I was gonna do. But actually if I look
back on it after twenty years, what I and other people did there, it's actually benefited them enormously, because it’s given them a reputation around the world as a place to go and do women’s
human rights work, etc. And I think that we need to challenge institutions that, particularly the university, the academic institution, that if it wants to be present as part of the creation of
knowledge in the next period it has to make space for these new forms, and not see that, and not see that as actually a negative thing, but actually what it should be about. So how do we do that using
the ASA as a framework, I mean I think that would be really terrific to talk about how do we actually do that, so that people have space, that’s what a university should be for, it should be
providing space and resources for the creation of the new knowledge that comes from activists and not just separate from it. PATRICIA HILL COLLINS: But I also think we should remain open to the
possibility that some institutions, now this is gonna sound like total heresy coming from me, I recognize that, but I think we should be open to the possibility that some institutions the way
they’re currently organized may have run their course, for those particular issues. And that maybe the action has gone elsewhere. So in some ways we might see a continued performance of radical,
progressive, social justice, diversity, excellence, difference, the language is all there, but it might just be a performance, all right. Seducing us into thinking that we’re actually part of the
action, when actually it’s on a website somewhere, alright. Where the kids who’re organizing are saying “Well we’ll let them in on it, when a little later on, when we’re further along with
this whole problem.” And when you push people to desperate places, the kinds of exclusionary practices that you’ve described around education, you know what are they supposed to do? The creativity
of youth to me is fascinating around these exact issues. DONALD GUEST: Well I would say that the issue of voice goes back to something else you mentioned, which is sustainability. And we have a
seventeen million dollar budget, we are not short of money, our issue right now is sustainability. Beyond the personalities, the people who are donors right now and so forth, because we got money with
the Republicans we know we’re not gonna get some from the Democrats, and so forth, how do we really sustain what we’re doing beyond this being a unique faddish church-related movement? And one of
the things we started going last year when pastor Karen Oliveto came on who works with me she brought the Facebook and everybody started talking to each other about what we’ve been doing on Facebook
because what we found out was with fourteen thousand members and with five or six thousand clients a year, nobody knew anyone and they didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t even know all the
services we were offering. My new EA came in six months ago, and she said ,”Well you know if you look at this, you’re not getting a lot of the clients that you serve for youth and young adults.”
And so she instituted Twitter she learned how to “tweet” to each other and I don’t know, I’ve gotten on Facebook and I’ve gotten that down, but I’m still not able to “tweet”
effectively. But it’s amazing because when our clients go home, and our youth go to their respective communities they are able to Twitter back and forth right away. And you gotta remember a lot of
kids can’t afford computers, there’s this middle class assumption we have that everybody has a computer, a notebook, laptop or something, well they don’t, but they have cell phones. And they can
Twitter each other and I can communicate and they can communicate with each other. The other thing about voice, I don’t know about other populations, but I know with African American males,
they’re not used to talking. Yes, people are not listening, but you at least need to be able to be ignored by articulating something. And so for-- One of the things we found was that using the
internet, using Twitter, they are very effective in getting guys to talk, writing about their experiences—a book was put together coming out of, straight out of East Oakland, which is in a hip hop
format. Which at first I said “Oh my God,” you know, but I mean the kids picked it up and boom they were with it and Twittering away and they’re still talking about this nine months later, and
they’re still communicating. So, sustainability is important. Getting the community, as McRoberts says, not just to communicate with itself, but to be able to mediate the world around it. I think
that’s very important. I certainly don’t think that universities are an effective place where that’s being done. Nobody reads these journals and things and so forth you know I mean. I’m sorry,
it’s the truth, you know. More people do go to mega-churches and that’s to me a place where a lot of- we’re twittering a lot of people there who are, you know, a lot of things are happening
there that we don’t think that are happening that are very progressive. I want to throw out one other example. Yvette Flunder and it’s the movement is called Cities of Refuge. She has churches and
religious sites in, like, twelve countries right now. She started five years ago here in San Francisco. It’s just, using peoples’ culture, using their religious expression, and all the cultural
stuff. I’m sorry Hegel's wrong about this, you know, the ultimate spirit is not the state. That failed in the Soviet Union it has failed here. There is a spiritual collective consciousness that
comes from the culture of the people that also makes something sustainable after those of us who are presenters and principals have gone on with whatever else we’re doing. PATRICIA HILL COLLINS: We
have a few minutes left and in our final minutes I just would like to give each of you an opportunity to maybe for one minute or so just, is there a takeaway idea that we should have? Particularly
around issues of possibilities. I said this to you earlier and I want to repeat it, since we’re all here. And I said something like “Sociologists often focus on social problems to the exclusion of
focusing on social possibilities.” Right? So I wouldn’t want to wind down our opening plenary with more problems, right. Instead what I would want us to do is identify sites of possibility and
hope, which is what I think a lot of people on this panel are even though you may not be expressing your hopeful, cheery self this minute, alright. But to me I think one of the reasons I wanted to
include youth in this meeting and in the focus of our discussion on community does tie in with this notion of sustainability. Communities cannot sustain themselves unless they reproduce themselves.
Unless they figure out a way to have new people come in, unless they have a way to have something at the center of that community that’s worth fighting for, that people are passionate about.
Whatever that is, whether it’s equity, whether it’s whatever it is, there’s gotta be something more than just a, a relationship of convenience. So when I look at youth I’m hopeful, because I
see both the passion of creating communities, I see the future, and I also see the technology in the sense of having the tools for that perhaps to happen. So I’d really like to say, each one of you
has a special sensibility I think, concerning this issue of youth. Whether it’s the youth you work with, the youth you talk about, the youth you once were, the youth you are now, the youth you
study, the youth you advocate for. And since we’re winding up, I just wanted to know if there was any one relatively small idea or action by youth that you think might move us closer to building
excellent, diverse, and just communities, all right? Youth are in the forefront of building excellent, diverse, and just communities but we often don’t see them as being at the front, we see them
being at the end, being the recipients of things that we do. So, I just wanted to ask you is there any one thing that you see as being especially promising that youth are doing vis-a-vis community and
social justice, that you might want to comment on, we could finish with that. NANCY LOPEZ: Well, I could talk a little bit about what we’re doing in New Mexico. There’s several groups particularly
in the indigenous communities there working with documentary film that is anchored in the community and trying to represent their lived reality and also what their visions for the future are, so
clearly that’s one of the key things that’s missing a space for youth to have the technology and the resources to build their own visions of what could be. And it’s been a real privilege to work
with a number of indigenous scholars in New Mexico who are working on these issues. So I think getting that technology into the hands of youth that may not have it—you know not everyone has a cell
phone. As someone who was born and raised in New York City public housing and went to public schools her whole life, I remember it was only because of a program like the Double Discovery program at
Columbia University that I actually had a computer to type my applications for college. You know with immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic, so having the resources again, and also the power
for students to create their own reality, tell their own truth, I think that’s really key. TAM TRAN: I just want to bring up this one act of collaboration that happened between UCLA faculty and
students a couple of years ago. A lot of, you know, off-campus organizing was happening between some faculty and students around the DREAM Act and then pretty soon they realized “Oh we should
totally do something on campus.” And so what happened was some faculty and students got together and put together a syllabus on how it is that there are undocumented students in higher education.
And so it was essentially an immigration class but focused on undocumented youth. And what came out of that class was that it created a space where, you know, more undocumented students took the
class, and in the process of the quarter some of them came out and said “Oh I’m actually undocumented.” And as the quarter kept going on again, one of the final assignments was to do an, like an
ethnography or to do like a, an interview of a family member. And at the end of this class they realized they had some really compelling stories here. And so what they then did after that was they
looked for resources at the university and they created the first book on undocumented students called Underground Undergrads which has its own website if anybody wants to check it out. But, and then,
once they got these resources they also created a summer internship where then undocumented students and their fellow classmates who were US citizens and whatnot got together and got experience
editing a book, putting the graphics together, essentially going through that process. And what’s really been cool, like, out of that process is that now they have this organizing tool in which
these students now can go out to high schools and, I don’t know they’ve created, like, after-school, like, reading circles, they’ve gone to other universities to talk about this book, they’ve
gone to unions, to churches. And the thing is there really hasn’t been any kind of resources in which people have been able to talk about the experiences of undocumented students and what it’s
like to grow up, you know, thinking you’re an American until you, you know, find out when you’re eighteen that you can’t get a driver’s license or you know, I don’t know, I want to say buy
cigarettes but that’s, like, a bad example. Like buy a lottery ticket, I guess? Or, you know or you can’t like a drink on your twenty-first birthday and all your friends want to take you to a bar
and you can’t go. You know like, I mean those are, if you can flash back for a second that would be, like, pretty heartbreaking if you can remember. But I mean it’s just been really great because
people have like toured all over California like, just talking about this book as the central point in organizing. And out in Rhode Island when I did my first year of grad school last year, that was
like the entry point in which I could go out to local high schools and elementary schools to talk about the issue where, in Rhode Island, like, this issue wasn’t being talked about at all, and it
was just like, it made it, it just had—made the issue, like, really like, official, or what’s the word? Like, it became... NANCY LOPEZ: Legitimate? TAM TRAN: Like, yeah, legitimate, whereas before
it was just something people were just talking about, like, through word of mouth. And so, as you know, scholars here, like, just make use of university resources and make use of the resources your
students have in creating some kind of collaborative project that can be used outside of academia. PATRICIA HILL COLLINS: I hate to do this but in the interest of time, could I keep you each to one
minute? Marcyliena Morgan: She can have my minute any day! CHARLOTTE BUNCH: Well I was just gonna say I’ve been in a lot of places over the last year maybe because I’m transitioning out of the
directorship of my organization where I see young feminist women taking leadership. Not so much in the US, which I hope is also happening, but in other places and I’ll just mention one as an example
to follow you up which is that I was in a meeting where a group had just launched a manual on reporting on sexuality and sexual rights and sexual orientation under the CEDAW committee for the UN and
there were a group of lesbians from all over the world, Kazakhstan, Japan, Latin America and in particular one woman who’s been working with the Estrella Foundation who now has been working with
sixty-five lesbian groups in China, who most of us don’t even know exist. And I use that as an illustration. I could also illustrate from discussions at AWID or the African Feminist Forum. I’m
seeing a new generation of women taking over leadership. I have felt so many times this year that my generation should not be agonizing about what—whether they exist, but what I really want to be
doing and I mentioned before is figuring out the most useful multigenerational conversations, where we can all learn from each other, where we can bring to the table, those of us who are older, what
we have learned, and we can learn from these younger feminists about how they see the world, because they’ve come into the world in a very different moment. And I think there’s enormous potential
for that kind of conversation and we just need to figure out how to have it, and stop—I want to stop everybody from my generation from saying, agonizing “Oh, what’s gonna happen?” It is
happening. Let’s figure out how to build more productive connections, so that that can really make a difference, because it is happening. AMINA MAMA: I was going to just end by saying, on the
sustainability issue, I understand. I’ve come to redefine teaching as a kind, as transgenerational activism and learned to listen. You asked what does one want to follow I mean the creative
potential that sits in our classrooms every day. The trick is really to just activate it and learn to listen and learn to tool it up a bit so that your students leave with a great deal more confidence
in how to—what they know in the first place and how to seek knowledge, how to build knowledge and actually just redefine the terms of the equation. And so that learning becomes a much more
participated process. And you learn that by default in Africa there were no books so you want to do a thing on sexuality and it’s all pathological and biomedical, do a survey in the classroom to
find out what it’s about today and use that as your teaching resource. So this thing of activating the people in the room and teaching becomes much more like what we used to call consciousness
raising, but it’s an activating process that links into peoples’ lived realities and effects change and you see that happening all the time if you let it happen in the classroom so our role is
really not to lecture so much as to facilitate and provide resources and set them off and what you get back in terms of what they produce is just amazing everyday. Marcyliena Morgan: I think this is a
great opportunity to include youth in a lot of the research that we’re doing, but to include them in a way where they really do get to have real input and that we encourage them. Because if we
include them in the research and they’re just not the subjects but they’re also included in research they won’t believe us. And I respect that, because why would they? Okay? But, and also I
respect our position in research in that we have a job to do, we have standards, whether they’re good or bad they exist. We’re evaluated in particular ways. But we’re also at this stage involved
in an incredibly fast-changing world for those students sitting in our classrooms. And it’s changing because of technology. It’s also changing because the world is changing, and it is, to the
point where it is much smaller than when I was a student. I’m in contact with virtually everybody now, at least that’s the way it feels. So what does that mean to us when we’re doing our
research? We’re no longer researching people who aren’t sitting in our classroom. We’re no longer out there, distant. We’re in the midst of it. And we really do have to learn how to put that
together. And I think students are eager. They don’t quite know how to do it, they don’t know how to do it in, you know, ways that will make us comfortable, we don’t know how to include them,
especially when they zip into the, you know, their age frame and you know, are just young, and all sorts of things. But they are—we’re there we’re there together at these colleges and
universities it’s a great opportunity, we’re ready, they’re ready, and I think it’s absolutely, you know positive. And I’m so happy to be at university at this time and age because it is,
you know, really where, from my perspective, a lot of growth and positive things for all of us coming, and they’re coming out of the students in our classrooms. DONALD GUEST: We have something
called the “Glide Empowerment Journey” if you’re interested in the details you can reach jlin, L-I-N, jlin@glide.org. James Lin came from Stanford and showed us how to get students in, get them
working in a program, give us positive feedback and getting some other colleges and universities also to take some of our students and give them kind of an immersion. It’s called an immersion
program for students. jlin@glide.org. I think it is very creative and he’s doing a good job and it works. PATRICIA HILL COLLINS: Well you can’t beat ending a session with something that says “it
works”. All right! Thank you very much panel.