Shouting Out Significance: On What Matters at UW-Madison

By MSC Student Life Intern, Hiwot

Like so many places at UW-Madison, the Kohl Center holds a special type of significance. It is a place where Badgers of all walks of life come together. Each August the new class fills the stadium for convocation. Here, new students are welcomed to UW in a place that serves as a point of pride for Badgers around the world.

Sports play a huge role in the culture of UW-Madison, whether we’re reveling in a victory or mourning a loss, like the one that pulled us out of the Final Four.

from Madison.com; UW’s loss to Duke

The Kohl Center has also been a gathering place for people experiencing loss off of the basketball court. In December, more than 300 people had silently and peacefully gathered after news of the non-indictment of officer Daniel Panteleo, the NYPD cop responsible for the July 2014 choking death of Eric Garner.

That same freezing December night, the inside of the Kohl Center was flooded with Wisconsin Red. Students, parents, and fans gathered to support the team in its game against Duke University. The mourning crowd had been met by a different set of reactions as folks exited the stadium. While some heckled those standing in silent solidarity, scoffing at the signs that read #BlackLivesMatter, others signaled their support, raising their hands and even saying “thank you” to the protesters.

One of the most powerful moments of the evening was when someone walked straight from the doors of the Kohl Center into the crowd, joining the protesters in solidarity. I wonder, what would’ve happened if more people had joined? So often issues of racism and concerns with justice are silenced and minimized, preventing people from creating a socially just world where we can all be seen, valued, and honored. One heckler expressed this sad fact best by saying, “This is America…if you don’t like it, leave.”

VigilOnline

Those few people who did cheer on the protesters after cheering for the Badgers proved that though this campus can be divided, it doesn’t need to be. This is a place that should belong to us all. Why not wear Wisconsin red while holding a sign that asks Whose Blood is On Our Streets? Yelling “Go Badgers!” is something we’re all expected to do but the declaration that Black Lives Matter is met with disinterest, even disbelief. What would happen if the two were seen as mutually acceptable? When students are worried about their finals AND racial issues at the University, do they lose their right to be a Badger?

click image to read more about #blacklivesmatter on campus

Photo by Nate Moll. Click image to read more about #blacklivesmatter on campus

This is to say that it should be possible for someone to be a Badger, a person of color, a sports fan, a scholar, an activist, and any and everything else that makes them who they are. What would campus be like if we were able to openly call out microaggressions the same way we call out fouls in sports?

Vice Provost for Student Life and Dean of Students Lori Berquam was one of those silent supporters on that cold December Night. In a piece in the Wisconsin State Journal Berquam wrote that, in spite of the cruel and racist remarks aimed at the vigil, students maintained a level of “dignity and grace.” Berquam went on to say that they “clearly displayed the values this university holds dear.” She lauded students for organizing the protest, noting that “our students are scholars, they are problem-solvers, and they connect their passion with their purpose.”


This has been a trying year in regards to police brutality and race relations all around the U.S. and with the local death of Tony Robinson it is clear that Madison, Wisconsin is not bereft of these complicated truths. Through it all, students of color and allies alike have studied and come to class, and many will be graduating in a little over a week. Throughout this basketball season it has been clear that the highly successful team is a cornerstone of UW-Madison. There is no question that those athletes “matter.” Here’s to the hope that all badgers—on and off the court—can be seen, valued, and kept safe as we pursue degrees and strive to live full and free lives.

 Congrats to the Class of 2015

#BlackLivesMatter

Brown Boi Project now accepting Applications for 2014!

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Image via. Brown Boi Project

The Brown Boi Project is a leadership development and organizing project for young masculine of center womyn of color and trans/straight/queer men of color (35 and under). We work to develop deep skills and life experiences that we can draw on to build collective power within our communities to achieve social justice.

(‘masculine of center’ is a term that recognizes the breadth and depth of identity for lesbian/queer/ womyn who tilt toward the masculine side of the gender scale and includes a wide range of identities such as butch, stud, aggressive/AG, dom, macha, etc.)

During our 5-day training retreat you will have the opportunity to work across issues and communities, talk about race, class, culture, gender and sexuality, and explore whether the social justice sector might be the right place for you to help your community. These retreats bring participants from across the country to experience an intensive introduction to community organizing while doing important personal leadership development. 

What we are looking for…

Our Brown Bois come from all walks of life. Some are clothing designers, aspiring police officers, social justice leaders, culinary wizards, and social entrepreneurs. What sets them apart is a vision to make the world a better place than they found it. They each demonstrate leadership potential, whether that is on the streets, online, or within an organization. 

Brown bois all have a strong commitment to becoming their best self. They are willing to stretch themselves, learn new things, and be a teacher to others. They might not know how to get where they want to go but they come into this experience with openness to getting closer on their own path. They are looking for a community of brown bois to support them on their own journey and are excited to be a resource to that community in return. Knowing what you can bring to the Brown Boi Project community is important. 

The Brown Boi Project Leadership Retreats are designed for young leaders (35 and under) that have fewer than 7 years of experience in their field and are looking to reinforce their potential with a strong foundation of skills and self-awareness.

The first Brown Boi Project retreat in 2014 will take place March 5th-9th in Oakland, CA. If you are selected your travel costs, food, and lodging (even if you are local to the Bay Area lodging is provided) will all be covered. All applicants to the Brown Boi Project retreat will be reviewed and you will be notified if you are invited to a phone interview by January 29th. 

Click here to apply online.

Book Selections: Race & Place

 The MSC is continuing our new tradition of hosting an annual spring symposium on “Race And” to encourage dialogue and action around the intersection of racial identity and other social justice issues. The two-day symposium, to be held from March 14-15, 2013, will serve as a capstone to our 2012-13 IJET programming around “Race & Place: Movement, Space, Land, and Power.”  As a reflection of this year’s Social Justice Speakers and Trainers Series, we offer a list of books and other media written or used by our speakers and presenters.

TheRevolutionStartsAtHome

The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence within Activist Communities (South End Press): To effectively resist violence out there–in the prison system, on militarized borders, or during other clear encounters with “the system”–we must challenge how it is reproduced right where we live. It’s one thing when the perpetrator is the police, the state, or someone we don’t know. It’s quite another when that person is someone we call friend, lover, mentor, trusted ally. Co-edited by Ching-in Chen.

stiritup

Stir It Up: Lessons in Community Organizing and Advocacy (by Rinku Sen): Stir It Up is a primer on best practices in community organizing. Rinku Sen is the President and Executive Director of the Applied Research Center (ARC) and the publisher of Colorlines.com. She is a leading figure in the racial justice movement and combines journalism and activism to create social change. Rinku has positioned ARC as a national home for media, research and activism on these issues.

talkingthewalk

Talking the Walk: A Communications Guide for Racial Justice (Hunter Cutting & Makani Themba-Nixon):  Learn how to discuss and spin issues of race and racial justice and build capacity in conducting media work, reframing public debates, and interrupting media stereotypes. Used as a resource to guide Rachel Kuo’s Race and Messaging Workshop (Session III B). All workshop participants will receive a free copy.

Price-Spratlen_Book CoverRage

Reconstructing Rage: Transformative Reentry in the Era of Mass Incarceration (Dr. Townsand Price-Spratlen): An ethnography of how a grassroots, reentry organization has nurtured sustained resistance and built community capacity with former felons. Dr. Townsand Price-Spratlen is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Ohio State University and will be presenting in the symposium’s Closing Plenary on Race & Incarceration. 

between-race-empire-african-americans-cubans-before-cuban-brock-lisa-fuertes-digna-paperback-cover-artBetween Race & Empire: African-Americans and Cubans before the Cuban Revolution (Dr. Lisa Brock): This collection traces the relations between Cubans and African-Americans from the abolitionist era to the Cuban Revolution of 1959. Dr. Lisa Brock is the Academic Director of Kalamazoo College’s Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership. At the symposium, she will be giving a talk entitled Badges, Passes, and un-Docs, Oh My!: Desire & Hate in the Making of the “Other[ed]” Modern World examining Slave Badges in 1840s South Carolina, South African Passes during apartheid, and Mexican Undocumented Workers today as existentially impossible and cruel examples of power that separate the “working body” from the “cultural/racial/political being.” 

Additional book and media lists for Race & Place:

Quoted: Donte Hilliard, MSC Director and Assistant Dean of Student Life

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“We’re building on the legacy of this campus. A social justice approach is our interpretation of the Wisconsin Idea. If the borders of the campus are the borders of the state, or the world, the educational access that we get by being here in Wisconsin includes a responsibility to help transform our surroundings into more just, equitable places.

If individual humans are complicated, cultures and societies are exponentially so. Everybody says that they want to live in a diverse world, but few people are prepared for the reality: the messiness, the uncomfortableness.

A social justice approach is a structural, systemic transformation: allowing us to live in a world where everyone has access to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I may not be able to change the whole world. But if I had any hand in helping an amazing person, who’s about to go into the world beyond this campus, that’s an incredible legacy.”

Read the full Inside UW spotlight on MSC Director Donte Hilliard as he talks about the MSC’s social justice approach, allyship, and joining students on their journeys here.

Faculty Spotlight: Aida Hussen

On January 31, from 7-9pm in the Masley Media Room (Red Gym, First Floor), Aida will kick off IJET’s Spring Social Justice Speakers and Trainers Series with a public talk on “Returning to Our Original Places: History, Fantasy, and the Contemporary African American Novel”.

On January 31, from 7-9pm in the Masley Media Room (Red Gym, First Floor), Aida will kick off IJET’s Spring Social Justice Speakers and Trainers Series with a public talk on “Returning to Our Original Places: History, Fantasy, and the Contemporary African American Novel”.

UW-Madison Professor of English Aida Hussen studies African American historical fiction, a subset of African American literature that has gained popularity and critical acclaim since the 1970s.

“One of the things I’m interested in is why African American writers since the 1970s have turned to the past as a site of their inspiration instead of writing presentist realism as was once the literary norm,” says Aida.

Her current book project examines this compulsive turning back and also looks at how black historical novels connect the present and the past. She examines the idea of ‘bitemporal consciousness,’ where characters from the present are transported to the past to develop nuanced understandings of their ancestors and origins. She finds that one of the ways black historical novels explore the relationship between present and past is through the concept of collective memory.”

“In these books, there’s the idea that we can and should remember an intergenerational past—and more specifically, that we don’t remember things that happen to us personally, but we can and should remember the history of American slavery. I’m interested in exploring whether this is a viable claim or whether memory by definition is a bounded, individual experience, and indeed part of what individuates us, or that makes us unique from others. In a related vein, I’m interested in exploring what it means for contemporary readers to have a deeply felt personal relationship to history?”

In order to seek answers to those thematic questions, Aida reads widely within disciplines in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to look at different ways of thinking about history, memory, and identity. She reads philosophy, history, and psychoanalysis, which contextualizes internal operations of memory in multiple ways.

She says, “I’ve always been drawn to literature as a disciplinary way of approaching questions and as an experience. I find language enchanting and extraordinarily powerful; language and stories, after all, are the very rubrics through which people come to  think about their being.”

Although she has always been drawn to literature, Aida didn’t encounter feminist theory and critical race studies until college.

“I took an Intro to Women’s Studies class and it blew my mind. I had questions about my existence and relationship to the world that I didn’t have language for, and it was inspiring and encouraging to find this set of classes that positioned me in relationship to my social setting…The light bulb went off and I wanted to weave these theoretical conversations into a dialogue with literary study.”

Aida’s teaching focus is on African American literature and on feminist literature and theory. This semester, she will be teaching a course called “Literature, Politics, and the Women Writer.” She also teaches “Black Literary Post Modernism”. She sees teaching as a kind of social activism.

“It’s about creating a productive environment where we can critique and question, among other things, what we’ve come to think of as progressive or right. That’s one of the things I love about academia…that its rigor is anti-dogmatic. I really believe that taking learning seriously can equip us with useful tools for re-imagining ourselves, our relationships, and our social systems in honest, ethical ways,” she says.

On January 31, from 7-9pm in the Masley Media Room (Red Gym, First Floor), Aida will kick off IJET’s Spring Social Justice Speakers and Trainers Series focused around the theme of “Race & Place: Movement, Space, Land, and Power” with a public talk on “Returning to Our Original Places: History, Fantasy, and the Contemporary African American Novel”.

She poses the question, “How do we imagine and fantasize place in relationship to African American history? For example, how do we think about places like the plantation, Africa, or middle passage…These are places that no longer exist or that are a wide geographical or cultural distance from contemporary African American culture and society…so how do authors imagine these places, and why do they imagine them as they do?”

Beginning with Toni Morrison’s “The Site of Memory,” Aida will take on the idea of tensions and collusions between history and fantasy.

Check out Dr. Aida Hussen’s must-read booklist from our November issue of Tapestry.

Defining American

Define American was founded in 2011 by Jose Antonio Vargas. In 2011, Jose Vargas wrote a piece in the New York Times Magazine called “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant.” Ever since, he has been elevating the conversation around immigration and what it means to “be American.”

The project is simple. It’s about talking. Our immigration system is broken — and fixing it requires a conversation that’s bigger and more effective than the one that we’ve become accustomed to. Define American brings new voices into the immigration conversation, shining a light on a growing 21st century Underground Railroad: American citizens who are forced to fill in where our broken immigration system fails. From principals to pastors, these everyday immigrant allies are simply trying to do the right thing. Some are driven by a biblical call to social justice, while others believe this is a moral imperative. These heroes need to be the center of this national conversation. Together, we are going to fix a broken system.”

“How do you Define American? Why is America special to you? What values do we, as Americans, share? What is the role of immigrants and immigration in America?”

The Institute for Justice Education at the Multicultural Student Center invites you to join that conversation and reflection. Share your Define American stories here. 

-By Anonymous (UW-Madison Student). 

Jose Antonio Vargas will be speaking tonight, October 9, in the Pyle Center’s AT&T Lounge from 6-7:30pm. As a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, Vargas will talk about this “double-coming out” through his lens as a gay man of color, and how the power of knowing our own, unique stories does more to add to the story of America than to hurt it. 

Weekend Job Board: August 10

Restorative Justice Coordinator position at YWCA MadisonYWCA Madison is seeking a highly qualified individual to fill a Restorative Justice Coordinator position. This position is full time and is contingent on funding still pending. The ideal candidate will be highly organized and have experience in: adult training/education, group facilitation, working with youth, and working in a school setting. Candidates should support the YWCA mission: of eliminating racism, empowering women; demonstrate cultural competency & the ability to work with diverse populations. People of color & individuals bilingual English/Spanish encouraged to apply. Deadline: August 29.  See application submission details here: http://www.ywcamadison.org/site/c.cuIWLiO0JqI8E/b.8293565/k.2E5E/Restorative_Justice_Coordinator.htm

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The MSC currently has four paid internship positions open:

  • Greek Affairs Specialist Interns (2): Develop programs to support communication among the Greek Communities, namely the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Council.
  • Communication and Technology Specialist Intern (1): Assist with developing MSC marketing materials and stakeholder communications (Tapestry, Threads, social media, website, etc). Help produce, write, and edit articles, posts, and updates, as well as research and propose content ideas
  • Social Justice Specialist Intern (1): Support MSC’s Institute for Justice Education and Transformation (IJET), which provides curricular and co-curricular education, reflection,and skill-building opportunities for students around social justice issues.

Interns are required to attend a mandatory three-day training session before starting work. The training dates are August 28, 29, and 30 (Tuesday-Thursday) from 10am-4pm. Deadline for application is Wednesday, August 15Please download application materials here and e-mail to ggallimore@studentlife.wisc.edu or drop off at the MSC’s front desk (Red Gym, 2nd Floor).

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We have extended the application deadline to August 21 for the Multicultural Student Center Associate Director position AND increased the salary range ($48-59K)! We are looking for someone to supervise staff a, manage programming funds, oversee our social justice education programming initiative (the Institute for Justice Education and Transformation – IJET) by maintaining and expanding the curriculum, and foster community and campus relationships. Candidate must have a bachelor’s degree + 6 years of professional experience OR Master’s degree + 5 years professional experience in relevant areas. Candidate must also demonstrate knowledge of and/or skill working at the intersection of Racial Justice and other Social Justice issues. Send resume and cover letter to dsteele@studentlife.wisc.edu. The revised job posting can be found here.
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The Sojourner Family Peace Center is hiring. Send resume and salary requirements to:
Sojourner Family Peace Center
Attn: Human Resources
135 W. Wells St., 4th Floor
Milwaukee, WI 53203 Email: brendab@familypeacecenter.org

BEYOND ABUSE ADVOCATE – BILINGUAL, Part-Time (24 hours/weekly): Assist English and Spanish speaking clients with advocacy and case management needs, perform intakes and placements into applicable groups and co-facilitate group sessions in accordance with approved agency program model and curriculum. This position will also maintain accurate client records, document and report client progress and outcomes. The goal of the Beyond Abuse program is to help participants learn to eliminate violent, abusive and controlling behaviors from their relationships; thus contributing to ending the cycle of domestic violence. QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in social work, criminal justice, communication, human resources or relevant field; minimum two years professional experience in advocacy, case management, human resources or related field; or a combination of education and experience. Prior experience with curriculum development and/or group facilitation preferred. Knowledge of the domestic violence victim advocacy service system through direct work experience preferred. Bilingual Spanish speaking is required.

COMMUNITY PROSECUTION ADVOCATE, Full-Time: Provide assistance to domestic violence victims from diverse backgrounds to help them explore their options, develop a safety plan and access needed community resources. This position will provide crisis intervention, advocacy and ongoing support and will work with a team of law enforcement, prosecutors, probation agents and advocates to develop and implement protocols for proactively responding to family violence at a neighborhood level. Bi-lingual is a plus. QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in social work, criminal justice, communication, human resources or relevant field. Three to five years professional experience in advocacy, case management, human resources, or related field. Knowledge of the domestic violence victim advocacy service system through direct work experience preferred.

COMMUNITY RESOURCE ADVOCATE, Full-Time: Provide assistance to victims of domestic violence from diverse backgrounds and will assess client’s individual situations and refer to internal resources as well as community resources. The Community Resource Advocate will assist in developing safety plans and accompany clients to legal proceedings as necessary, coordinate group facilitation sessions in accordance with approved agency program model and curriculum, and perform community education as needed. QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in social work, criminal justice, communication, human resources or relevant field; minimum two years professional experience in advocacy, case management, human resources or related field; or a combination of education and experience. Prior experience with curriculum development and/or group facilitation preferred. Knowledge of the domestic violence victim advocacy service system through direct work experience preferred. Bilingual (English and another language) is preferred.

SHELTER PROGRAM COORDINATOR, Full-Time: Support all residents that enter our 24 hour shelter by assisting them with advocacy and case management needs, as well as developing safety plans and goals to meet the individual needs of the residents. The Shelter Program Coordinator will also collaborate with SFPC management to ensure the domestic violence hotline is properly staffed 24 hours a day with volunteers and shelter staff, and will assist in the recruiting, training and scheduling of volunteers at the shelter. Additionally, this position will serve as back-up in the event there is not proper coverage of the domestic violence hotline.  QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in social work, criminal justice or relevant field and three to five years of related experience; or two years of college with job related coursework and six to eight years of professional experience in advocacy, case management, or related field; or a combination of education and experience. Knowledge of the domestic violence victim advocacy service system through direct work experience required.

BATTERER’S TREATMENT SPECIALIST
 Part time (10 – 20 hours/weekly): Work with men and women offenders in the community to help them access needed community resources, develop and maintain a plan to put an end to violent, abusive and/or controlling behavior, and work with a team of law enforcement, prosecutors, probation agents and advocates to develop and implement protocols for proactively responding to family violence at a neighborhood level. Other duties include referring clients to internal and community resources as needed and collecting client data for reporting purposes. QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in social work, criminal justice, communication, human resources or relevant field. Three to five years professional experience in advocacy, case management, human resources, or related field. Experience with the issue of family violence required. Must be extremely skilled at working as a team member, both with other advocates and with the criminal justice and corrections personnel. Must also have the ability to work independently. Must have a car and be willing to make home visits as necessary. Evening hours may be necessary.

Again, for these positions, send resume and salary requirements to:
Sojourner Family Peace Center
Attn: Human Resources
135 W. Wells St., 4th Floor
Milwaukee, WI 53203 Email: brendab@familypeacecenter.org

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