What You Need to Know About Adrienne Keene

Get ready for Critical Social Justice: Rise with our “What You Need to Know” series, starting with this introduction to our keynote speaker, Dr. Adrienne Keene! Her lecture, titled “Native Appropriations and Indigenous Social Media” will be held on Tuesday, October 24th at 6 PM in the University Center Ballroom (event details here). Written by Women’s Center student staff member Samiksha Manjiani.

As you grow up, I promise to protect you. I promise to continue to fight as hard as I possibly can to ensure a future for you. To protect you water, your sacred land, and your sovereignty. Whatever your future gender identity or who you choose to love, I will make sure you can be who are meant to be.

— Adrienne Keene, “Dear little one on your Birthday”

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Our keynote speaker for CSJ: Rise is Adrienne Keene, a Native American activist, blogger, scholar, and writer. A member of the Cherokee Nation, Keene focuses on contemporary indigenous issues, and critically analyzes how the indigenous world is represented in popular culture. She often writes about cultural appropriation in fashion, music, and stereotyping in film and other media.

Adrienne is also an accomplished assistant professor for the American Studies Department at Brown University. She teaches courses on Indigenous Education, Native representations, and Native American Studies in general. In addition to teaching, she has a deep personal commitment towards empowering Native communities and privileging Native voices and perspectives in her research. Adrienne’s research focuses on educational outcomes for Native American students.

Adrienne’s blog, Native Appropriations, has achieved national and international recognition for its authentic and critical Native voice on contemporary indigenous issues. She uses her blog to challenge stereotypes and misrepresentations of Native Peoples.  Some hot topics include the Washington football team’s continued use of an ethnic slur for their team name, “hipster headdresses,” Halloween “Pocahottie” costumes, and Urban Outfitters’ appropriation of tribal art and culture.

Most recently, Adrienne has been actively raising awareness and advocating with other activists around Standing Rock, ND and the movement against the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline. As you may know, the current administration has given the final green light to continue building the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline, but the activism around this issue has not ended. In fact, it has incited more people to rise up. Check out her guest appearance on Buzzfeed podcast Another Round for more information. She is also in the process of writing new pieces about Standing Rock, so check out her Twitter @NativeApprops to stay updated!

For more about Adrienne, check out:

Her blog: Native Appropriations

Her interview with Brown University on Native Misrepresentation

Her blogpost on “Questions Natives have for White People and White Fragility:”

Her Buzzfeed video, “9 Questions Native Ameicans have for White People”

Her Buzzfeed video, “I’m Native, but I’m not”

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What You Need To Know About Disability Justice

Get ready for Critical Social Justice: Home with our “What You Need to Know” series. The keynote lecture with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, titled “Body/ Land/ Home: Disability Justice, Healing Justice and Femme of Color Brilliance,” will be held on Tuesday, October 25th at 6PM in the University Center Ballroom (event details here).

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by Auroura Levine Morales, Patty Berne and Micah Bazant

Disability justice is the continuation and expansion of disability rights, a movement that sought equal rights and access for disabled people, but was often constrained by its focus on mostly white and male individuals. Disability justice uses an intersectional lens to bring a more nuanced and active approach to the movement. By challenging assumptions about ability and embracing all kinds of bodies, the disability justice framework looks beyond the commonality of disability to incorporate other identities. 

Many people continue to be marginalized within conversations and activism around disability, despite its existence across all communities and populations; to counter these troubling hierarchies, disability justice centers the experiences and needs of queer people and people of color. Emphasizing the interconnectedness of oppression and people, disability justice demands the same integrated approach between all movements for liberation. 

“Disability exists in every sector of society: in immigrant communities, in prisons, in religious and spiritual communities, among veterans and homeless folks, among children and elders and everyone in between, so every movement has to advance disability justice, and vice versa. A movement that sees some people as disposable or able to be sacrificed is not disability justice.” – Nomy Lamm, This Is Disability Justice

More than just a theory, disability justice is a movement-building practice that calls upon people to actively protest, perform, and speak out against oppression and injustices globally.

Want to learn more about disability justice?

What You Need to Know about Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Get ready for Critical Social Justice: Home with our “What You Need to Know” series, starting with this primer on our keynote speaker Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Her lecture, titled “Body/ Land/ Home: Disability Justice, Healing Justice and Femme of Color Brilliance,” will be held on Tuesday, October 25th at 6PM in the University Center Ballroom (event details here). 

Based out of Toronto and Oakland, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer, disabled femme of color poet, performer, healer, and activist of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent. Much of Leah’s work focuses on people and conversations that are often underrepresented, including disability justice, queer and trans people of color, and abuse survivors. In addition to her award-winning books of poetry, including Bodymap, Love Cake, and Consensual Genocide, she has also written a memoir titled Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home. 

“Stories create the world. Seeing stories that look like your own, that you’ve never read written down before, or that are stories you’ve never thought of before that change your whole idea of what is possible, are a big revolutionary deal.”

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art by Shira Devorah

Leah is also a co-founder and former director of Mangos With Chili, the longest-running performance art tour featuring queer and trans individuals in North America. She performs pieces with the disability justice collective Sins Invalid and is a co-director of the Toronto disability justice collective Performance/ Disability/Art.

“[I]t was so inculcated in me that disability is this shameful story. And you know, if there’s not queer people of color space, queer people of color won’t perform. If there’s not disability space that centers queer and trans people of color, sex workers, poor people, all of the above, elders, young people, we won’t know that there’s similar stories.” 

 

For more on Leah, check out:

  • Her blog, Brownstargirl
  • This video of her performance in Sins Invalid
  • Her interview with Bitch Magazine on disability, representation, and survivorhood

 

What You Need to Know: Baltimore & Residential Segregation (A New Student Book Experience Pre-CSJ Event!)

Get ready for Critical Social Justice: Home with our “What You Need to Know” series.

Last year’s Critical Social Justice: Baltimore 365 was dedicated to understanding the historic and current day complexities and realities of Baltimore City. In the wake of the Baltimore Uprising, the CSJ planning team felt (and still does feel) deeply committed to creating more opportunities for our campus community to connect with and understand Baltimore. This year’s CSJ theme of Home allows for the conversation and learning about Baltimore to continue.

How does a legacy of residential segregation impact the creation and/or destruction of “home” in Baltimore? 

What does it mean to “be home” for residents of Baltimore City? 

Which Baltimore neighborhoods are perceived as homes? And, which ones are perceived as less than? How does race, gender, and socioeconomic status show up in our responses? 

How does policing in Baltimore and the recent release of the Department of Justice report impact the reality of home? 

This year, all incoming first-year and transfer students were asked to read Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City by Antero Pietila which tells the story of how racial segregation came to be and what its impact is through the story of Baltimore. Mr. Pietila will be visiting campus to explore some of the questions above (and more) at this year’s New Student Book Experience event on Thursday, October 13th. This is a great way to kick-off Critical Social Justice: Home and we hope to see many of you there!

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For more details about the New Student Book Experience “Meet the Author” event, visit the event post on myUMBC.