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Democracy Matters - Episode 26: Justice As a House: When the Studs are Rotten, Paint Won’t Fix It


by Carah Ong Whaley

 
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SUMMARY: The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have brought attention to the racist policies and systems that engender violence (both sudden and systemic, physical and attitudinal) against Black people in the United States. The current protests are not just in response to these most recent killings – they are in response to the systemic racism that is woven through our society.


The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have brought attention to the racist policies and systems that engender violence (both sudden and systemic, physical and attitudinal) against Black people in the United States. The current protests are not just in response to these most recent killings – they are in response to the systemic racism that is woven through our society.

In this episode, we are featuring remarks from JMU Civic’s live streamed town hall on Wednesday June 3 about ending systemic racism and creating a more inclusive campus, democracy and society. The goals of this town hall were to: 

  • center black student, faculty, and staff voices in the conversation so that we can have a better understanding of their perspectives, needs, and experiences, 
  • put what is happening across the country in historical context 
  • learn about the role of protest in a democratic society; 
  • discuss what JMU and institutions of higher education can do to dismantle racism and white supremacy and redress racial inequities. 

Contributor include:

  • Dr. Amy Lewis, JMU School of Music
  • Dr. Terry Beitzel, JMU Justice Studies and Director of The Mahatma Gandhi Center 
  • Jordan Todd, JMU Office of Residence Life
  • Norman Jones, Student Representative to JMU Board of Visitors
  • Aaliyah McLean, JMU Civic & Dukes Vote Woodson Martin Democracy Fellow '20-21
  • Kendallee Walker, Chair of Diversity and Inclusion, Student Government Association
  • Noa Bank Greene, President of the JMU Branch of NAACP
  • Kyel Towler, immediate past President, JMU Black Student Alliance

Links in this episode:

Discussion questions

  • What changes in our daily lives can individuals make to be an antiracist?
  • How do we build sustainable collective action to change racist systems that surround us?
  • What are important policy changes that individuals can advocate to advance racial justice?
  • What responsibility does JMU and other institutions of higher education have to support anti-racist efforts in our community?
  • How has JMU and other institutions of higher education contributed to racism and white supremacy?
  • What steps can JMU and other institutions of higher education take to eliminate policies and practices have that contributed to racial inequities on campus and beyond?
  • How can JMU and other institutions of higher education hold themselves to a higher standard when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion?
  • How should JMU and other institutions of higher education address the issue of campus buildings named for slave-owners and prominent racists?

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Published: Friday, June 5, 2020

Last Updated: Thursday, April 28, 2022

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