Critical Social Justice: Rise — October 23rd – 27th!

Over the past year, acts of resistance and resilience have electrified our country and world. Immediate images that flash through our minds include the water protectors at Standing Rock, the millions around the world who participated in the Women’s March,  those who rushed to the airports to volunteer translation and legal assistance to immigrants and refugees in the immediate aftermath of the travel ban.

As these images of mass protests and large-scale actions capture our attention, we also recognize the power of everyday acts of resistance. Social justice movements have been infused with a renewed sense of urgency, and for an ever-growing number of people, there is the will to be counted, to find voice, and to rise up.

While many are new to the struggle, the struggle itself is not new. We’re reminded by those who have long been active in these movements that the fight for justice is neither in its first breaths nor last gasps.

CSJ RISE - save the date - square - RGB

For the fifth annual Critical Social Justice, we’ll explore opportunities for building individual and collective resistance and resilience. Events throughout the week will challenge us to think about how we can do better, do more, and persist in doing it. How do we rise to meet the challenges of this particular cultural moment to work toward a vision of inclusive excellence—whether it’s in the classroom, online, or in our communities?

Adrienne Keene PhotoWe’re excited to announce that our keynote speaker will be Native scholar and activist Dr. Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation), who writes about cultural appropriation and stereotypes of Native peoples in pop culture on her blog Native Appropriations. Keene examines the way Indigenous peoples are using new media to challenge racism, present authentic counter-narratives, and create innovative spaces for art and activism. The keynote lecture and reception will be held on Tuesday, October 24th at 6pm in the UC Ballroom.

Critical Social Justice: Rise will be held on October 23rd through 27th, 2017. Follow our blog, Facebook, and Twitter (#csjrise) 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

Critical Social Justice is a Women’s Center initiative with The Mosaic: Center for Culture and Diversity.


Critical Interactions and Authentic Engagement

Tonight our partners in Student Affairs are hosting Critical Interactions, an interactive program where students will join INTERACT Program peer facilitators to explore how they each make meaning of ‘home.’

But what is INTERACT?

A collaboration between the Division of Student Affairs and the Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication Department, INTERACT aims to provide first-year residential students with specific training in intercultural communication and authenticity.

As a university focused on innovation and ground-breaking research, it is the hope of this collaborative to enhance incoming students’ confidence and competence in diversity and inclusion in order to prepare them for their time at UMBC and beyond.


Critical Interactions will be held tonight (Oct. 24th) from 7:30-9pm in University Center 310. 

For a full list of Critical Social Justice: Home events, click here.

Critical Social Justice: Home Events!

Take a look at all the events lined up for Critical Social Justice: Home! (Click here for a PDF of the flyer.)


 October 24th | Monday

Critical Social Justice 101: Foundations of Home – 12PM to 1PM in Commons 331 – A moderated panel discussion exploring a few of the many interpretations of how our theme of “home” relates to social justice. Panelists include: Dr. Kate Drabinski (Gender + Women’s Studies), Dr. Kimberly Moffitt (American Studies), and Dr. Thania Muñoz Davaslioglu (Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication).

Critical Interactions7:30PM to 9PM in University Center 310 – Peer facilitators and recent program participants will share their experiences with the INTERACT program, a Student Affairs initiative housed in Chesapeake Hall followed by a hands-on educational experience where attendees will craft, discuss and question what makes a home. Sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs.

October 25th | Tuesday

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha Keynote Lecture: “Body/ Land/ Home: Disability Justice, Healing Justice and Femme of Color Brilliance” – Doors open at 5:30PM, keynote begins at 6PM in the UC Ballroom – A meet-and-greet reception and book-signing will follow the keynote. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a disabled femme of color writer and performance artist whose award-winning work on disability, survivorhood, and transformative justice speaks to the many complexities inherent in navigating our way home. Facebook event

October 26th | Wednesday

Social Justice Activism Workshop – 12PM to 1PM in the Women’s Center – Learn practical skills for organizing activist projects, discuss strategies for navigating common challenges, and gain new insights into how you can create change on campus or in your community. Sponsored by the Women’s Center.

Shelter from the Storm: Mosaic Center Roundtable4PM to 5:30PM in Commons 329 – A roundtable discussion with students, alumni and community activists about the home challenges faced by LGBTQ youth. Intersectional perspectives of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion and socioeconomic class will be explored. Sponsored by Student Life’s Mosaic: Center for Culture and Diversity.

October 27th | Thursday

Who Gets a Home in College? 11:30AM to 12:30PM on Commons Main Street – Panelists will discuss how institutional barriers impact the ways marginalized students find (or don’t find) themselves at home on campus. Panelists include: Dr. Nicole Cousin-Gossett (Sociology, Anthropology & HAPP), Dr. Danyelle Ireland (Center for Women in Technology), and Dr. Santiago Solis (Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs/Diversity at Towson University). 11AM to 1PM – Exhibit in recognition of the Women’s Center’s 25th anniversary. Sponsored by the Women’s Center. 

October 28th | Friday

Walking Tour of a Baltimore Neighborhood 12PM to 3PM, meet in the Women’s Center – Join us for a 90-minute walking tour of a Baltimore neighborhood to learn about its history and present from a social justice lens. Led by Dr. Kate Drabinski. Free tickets available at the CIC desk during October.

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

* All events are free and open to the public.

** Contact if you need special accommodations. 

The Women’s Center and Student Life’s Mosaic Center appreciate the support of our Critical Social Justice: Home co-sponsors: Residential Life  |  College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences  |  Office of Institutional Advancement  |  Honors College  |  LGBTQ Faculty and Staff Association  |  Women Involved in Learning and Leadership  |  Student Disability Services  |  Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy  |  Department of Media and Communication Studies |  Department of  Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication | Off-Campus Student Services | Language, Literacy, and Culture

Critical Social Justice: Home – October 24th-28th!


“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.

CSJ Home - Multi CropAs 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.

Leah Photo

CSJ: Home keynote speaker Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.

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

Looking Back on the Baltimore Uprising

Last October for CSJ: Baltimore 365, Women’s Center student staff members created displays for our Vines, Rhymes, and Headlines discussion/exhibit that explored media coverage and social media engagement surrounding the Baltimore Uprising. One year after the uprising, we’re looking back at some of the images and tweets that captured this important moment in our history. Continue reading

“Get It Together!”: Fundamentals of Activism Workshop

Inspired by the multitude of activism taking place at UMBC over the fall semester, the Women’s Center is excited to offer a new skills-based workshop to the community. “Get It Together!”: Fundamentals of Activism will focus specifically on social justice activism. During the course of an hour, we’ll explore some of the many possibilities for engaging in activism, discuss practical options for taking action on campus, and gain new insights for creating change.

We’re offering this workshop twice over the next two weeks on:

Activism Workshop Flyer