Critical Social Justice: Baltimore 365 Events!

Take a look at what’s lined up so far for Critical Social Justice: Baltimore 365 coming this October — and stay tuned for other event updates, including the announcement of our keynote speakers!

October 19th | Monday

Baltimore 101: Why Baltimore Matters – 12PM to 1PM in Commons 329 – Who are we talking about when we talk about Baltimore? Led by Dr. Jodi Kelber-Kaye.

October 20th | Tuesday

Baltimore in Action: Always Rising Keynote Event– Doors open at 6:30PM, keynote begins at 7PM, reception follows at 8:30PM in the UC Ballroom – A teach-in featuring Baltimore activists to be announced. Meet-and-greet reception with the speakers will follow the keynote.

October 22nd | Thursday

Vines, Rhymes, & Headlines: Telling the Story of Baltimore 12PM to 2PM on Commons Main Street – A multimedia exhibit exploring Baltimore as captured through the mainstream media – and the tweets, photos, music, and new media pushing back. Event sponsored by: the Women’s Center. 

From Belief to Action: An Interfaith Dialogue – 5PM to 6:30PM on Commons Main Street – A moderated roundtable discussion with religious and spiritual leaders engaged in social justice activism in Baltimore followed by a facilitated audience conversation. Panelists will highlight the many ways that their religious and spiritual beliefs and practices inform and propel their work towards justice and equality. Event sponsored by: Student Life’s Mosaic: Center for Culture and Diversity. 

October 23rd | Friday

How to Talk to Kids about “-Isms” 10AM to 11AM in the Women’s Center – A roundtable discussion about the challenges and best practices for introducing children to social justice.

Walking Tour of a Baltimore Neighborhood 12PM to 4PM, meet at Women’s Center – Join Dr. Kate Drabinski on a walking tour of one of Baltimore city’s historic neighborhoods.

If your department or organization is planning a program this fall semester that reflects the spirit of Critical Social Justice: Baltimore 365, let us know at!

More details and events will be announced leading up to CSJ: Baltimore 365, so like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and use the hashtag #CSJ365 to keep up-to-date with the latest news!

* All events are free and open to the public.

** Contact if you need special accommodations. 

CSJ Baltimore 365 Events

The Critical Social Justice initiative is coordinated by the Women’s Center with Student Life’s Mosaic: Center for Culture and Diversity. 

Feminist Click Moments

Originally posted on Women's Center at UMBC:

A post curated by Women’s Center staff member, Daniel

This week is Critical Social Justice week!! Yay!! The Women’s Center will be occupying Main Street on Wednesday from 11am to 1pm by bringing our lounge out of the center and into the public! We’ll be doing a number of really cool activities including creating a scrapbook full of pages made by community members about their Feminist Click Moments.

What’s a Feminist Click Moment?????

DSCN9429Your Click Moment is the event or thought or moment when you realized the word “feminist” applied to you. Click is a book of essays about various authors’ Click Moments compiled by Courtney E. Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan. You can read an interview about the book here. Each of our staff members created their scrapbook pages for you all to see and get you thinking about how you want to express your Click Moment and add a piece…

View original 526 more words

CSJ 101: Our Working Assumptions for Creating Brave Spaces

A post written by Women’s Center director, Jess Myers

A little snow won’t get in the way of Critical Social Justice 2015!

Yesterday was the kick-off to CSJ2015 with CSJ 101: Introduction to Brave Spaces. It was a rich conversation in which everyone was really invested and we went right through our allotted time in Commons 329. We thank our invited participants and moderator for helping us start the conversation! Prior to the start of CSJ week, we also provided ways for the UMBC community to begin engaging in the idea of creating brave spaces. You can find more on brave spaces and creating brave spaces throughout our blog like this awesome video created by the CSJ Student Alliance, a few blog posts written by Women’s Center staff members (check out Daniel and Ty’s posts), the Brave Space Guidelines of the Women’s Center, and of course, the chapter that started in all, From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces by Brian Arao and Kristi Clemens. These jumping off points, in addition to the diverse perspectives and experiences of our invited panelists and community members in the room took us on a journey as we uncovered the depth and breadth of brave spaces.

Arao and Clemens spend time in their chapter exploring what brave space can be. It’s grounded in the concept of safe space but recognizes that the idea of safety can be limiting when in engaging in difficult dialogues and social justice work. They find value and necessity in taking risk and engaging in controversy to facilitate authentic learning experiences about social justice. When this kind of authenticity is nourished a brave space has been created. It’s a great read and I’d highly recommend it to student leaders, staff, and faculty committed to integrating social justice into their work and communities. But what else is brave space? How is it created? How is it maintained? Is brave space the same for everyone or can it look different from person to person? These are some of the questions we explored in CSJ 101. Knowing that not everyone could attend yesterday’s event, I’m capturing some of the highlights here as a way to root the rest of the week in a better understanding of UMBC’s understanding and practice of brave space.

In reflecting on the conversation, what I love most about what it uncovered was the moving of brave spaces from a noun to a verb. Brave space isn’t just a moment in time or a set of four walls. In our conversation brave space was described as an action. The concept of brave spaces for our invited panelist was a call to action, an invite to listen, an ask to share, and an exploration of identity, history, and context. Some examples offered at CSJ 101 included:

  • Brave space asks us to listen.
  • Brave spaces calls us into accountability.
  • Brave space asks us to tell stories AND listen.
  • Brave space asks us to get to know us as ourselves better.
  • Brave space is being open to changing our mind.
  • Brave space examines, critiques, and calls for change

The dialogue also included a theme of self, self-reflection, and self-examination as needed in the formation of brave space. As already mentioned above, brave space isn’t limited to a physical space or room. It often must be explored and created within ourselves before we can co-create brave spaces with others. Some examples shared throughout CSJ 101 included:

  • Being in a brave space includes really thinking about yourself – both your privileged identities and marginalized identities. This also means being intentional in thinking about the root of your discomfort when engaging in difficult dialogues around social justice.
  • Brave space is having an opportunity to have a voice. How does our voice represent ourselves? Our communities? When do we speak up and what do we risk in speaking up?
  • Brave space acknowledges the differences in our lives.We must consider the ways in which people must navigate their worlds because of their identities and experiences. This might mean the creation of brave space looks different from person to person. With this in mind, self-reflection in needed to consider ways in which we can be generous, forgiving, and operate in good faith.

CSJ 101 helped to solidify understanding of brave spaces as ye, it also left us with more questions to ponder:

  • How do we create a brave spaces in places we’ve been triggered?
  • What can I do when I can’t create a brave space?
  • How can we hold someone accountable when there’s great risk… like losing funding from a donor? Losing a community? Losing a paycheck? What do we sacrifice?
  • What’s next? How to we use brave space to create change?

I look forward to the ways CSJ2015 will give the UMBC community the opportunity to unpack the concept of brave space and co-create more ways for ourselves and our community to be a brave space. It is our hope that sharing the dialogue created in CSJ 101 will serve as groundwork and a set of “working assumptions” that will lend itself to rich and authentic dialogue and learning throughout the week.

For more quotable moments from CSJ 101, check out some of the live tweets from the event by searching for #CSJ2015 on Twitter.