“i have the word home tattooed on my breastbone, and friends remind me why I got it. the truth of it, that home is there. but this is also about land and gentrification, colonialism that has blown and continues to blow me and my family all over the planet and puts me on someone else’s land where they did not ask me to be, race and class, banks and profit, the desire to stay in a magic queer brown city and the reality of push-out when our narrow slices of survival. it is about all the ways as disabled and chronically ill folks, as black and brown and broke folks, we find to try and find some stable sweet place to live where we can just live.” – Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (homeplace)
There’s no place like home. Home is where the heart is. You can never go home again.
Home can be a place, a feeling, a concept. It can be comfortable or contentious, nurturing or toxic, constant or nonexistent. It can be somewhere we belong or somewhere we don’t.
As a global community, we see the connection between social justice and home during this critical time when issues of migration, nationalism, and xenophobia dominate the news cycle. In Baltimore city, the legacy of redlining and racial inequity has created divergent realities for its citizens depending upon whether one makes their home in the “White L” or the “Black Butterfly.” As we consider what it means to be at home in our communities, our identities, and even our own bodies, we reflect on the familiar feminist slogan “the personal is political” and we’re reminded that social justice calls for us to look beyond solely what’s happening “out there.”
In honor of UMBC’s 50th Anniversary, this year’s CSJ theme of Home recognizes UMBC as a home to many of us. As we celebrate and contemplate UMBC as a home for learning, activism, and social change, we embrace the opportunity to invest ourselves in creating meaningful change here on campus in addition to taking our newly gained insights and knowledge with us back home, wherever that may be.
It is in this spirit that the fourth annual Critical Social Justice aims to create space and learning opportunities to consider the ways we can challenge, explore, and redefine the concept of home based upon our individual and collective histories as well as our intersecting identities.
We’re excited to announce that our keynote speaker will be Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, a queer disabled femme of color writer and performance artist whose work on disability, survivorhood, and transformative justice speaks to the many complexities inherent in navigating our way home. The keynote lecture and reception will be held on Tuesday, October 25th at 6pm in the UC Ballroom.
Critical Social Justice: Home will be held on October 24th through 28th, 2016. Follow the CSJ blog, Facebook, and Twitter for updates on scheduled events and other news. For more information about the Critical Social Justice initiative, or if you’re organizing a related event that week that might be included on the CSJ calendar, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.