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Reflections on Organizing and Power: Anti-Black Police Brutality and the Popular Uprisings

The Penn State Consortium for Social Movements and Education and the Africana Research Center present: “Reflections on Organizing and Power: Anti-Black Police Brutality and the Popular Uprisings.”

This symposium will take place on the afternoon of September 18 with pre-symposium activities throughout the week. 

Please register here

Throughout the spring, Black faculty, staff, and students across the country—from Penn State to the University of Missouri—have issued petitions and statements calling on their universities to commit resources to combat institutionalized racism on their campuses. While these demands have a long history of their own, they are also an extension of the broader movement for social change that is taking place in the streets. 

The symposium will provide frameworks and tools for students to analyze the recent Black Lives Matter protests within the broader context of Black freedom movements, articulate demands for structural change, and speak from their own experiences. The week prior to the symposium, students will be invited to Padlet, an online space, to share ideas, questions, reflections, and tools to prepare for the symposium. Breakout sessions will offer students structured spaces to interact with social movement activists and with topics regarding the mechanisms of social change.  

 After this forum, students will be able to: 

  • analyze the recent Black Lives Matter protests within the broader context of Black Freedom movements 
  • articulate the different demands for social change that have emerged from the protest 
  • place their own experiences with anti-blackness and racism in a broader historical context  
  • assess media coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement and recent protests 
  • understand the multiple forms of activism that can help them engage in this historical movement 
  • reflect on experiences of the activists who have been at the forefront of struggles against anti-blackness and racism 
  • analyze the relationships between structural and institutional racism and popular mobilizations 

Speakers from Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and State College include: 

  • Chenjerai Kumanyika, assistant professor of journalism and media studies at Rutgers University and organizer with 215 People’s Alliance and the Debt Collective 
  • Koby Murphy, youth organizer with the Philadelphia Student Union 
  • Valentina McKenzie, frontline grassroots organizer of a workers center and the Black Visions Collective in Minneapolis, speaking from her personal perspective and experience  
  • Jennifer Black, co-leader of the 3-20 Coalition (formed in the wake of the brutal police shooting of Osaze Osagie) 
  • Lorraine Jones, co-leader of the 3-20 Coalition 

Event co-sponsors include the College of the Liberal Arts, the College of Education, Penn State Outreach, the Department of African American Studies, the Department of Sociology and Criminology, the Philadelphia Participatory Research Collective, Center for Intercultural Leadership & Communication, Center for Global Workers’ Rights, the Criminal Justice Research Center, and the Penn State Black Caucus, Black Graduate Student Association, and the Pan-African Professional Alliance.

Friday, September 18, 2020 at 1:00pm to 4:15pm

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