Members of the faculty have grown concerned about how you are thinking about and coping with issues of police brutality, the response of our justice system, and the protests that have occupied so much of our attention and emotional energy these past few weeks. We’ve noticed many of you with deep concerns and questions. We also know that many of you have felt compelled to join your voice with others in protest.
In the coming days after the Zimmerman not guilty verdict, many will cry, some will wallow in despair and disbelief while others will take to the streets.
by Kanene Holder
[Former Colin Powell Fellow and activist Kanene Holder wrote the following piece for the Huffington Post days after the George Zimmerman verdict was handed down. It can be read as both a manifesto and a balm for wounds that run deep through many Americans.]
“You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity and in as many ways as possible that you were a worthless human being.” — James Baldwin
In the coming days after the Zimmerman not guilty verdict, many will cry, some will wallow in despair and disbelief while others will take to the streets. In each instance, we are forming a more perfect union as we realize that #ajmia — American Justice is MISSING in Action. We realize we can no longer satiate our humanity in the trivialities of Twitter followers and Instagram likes. We are searching for justice, as we pursue happiness.
In my previous post, I suggested we must capitalize on the momentum of social justice movements aided and propelled by social media. How, I asked, can we educate our youth and emphasize to them the possibilities for “doing good” through the technology they use every day?
For those taking up this question—activists, educators, artists, and others—this is an exciting time. Never before have we had access to so much information and ways to share ideas and our stories. As an educator and activist, I am empowered by these tools in conjunction with the new Common Core Education Standards emphasis on teaching nonfiction: It’s a perfect opportunity to re-emphasize current events and civics education. And so I created the American Justice Missing in Action Project (#ajmia), (www.ajmia.tumblr.com) a new initiative dedicated to engaging students in conversations about race, class and gender—what I call the intersections of injustice.
By Kanene Holder, Center Alumna
“The illiterate of the twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” —Alvin Toffler
“I think the first duty of society is justice.” —Alexander Hamilton