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Pitzer College to launch Racial Justice Initiative Thursday, September 10

Pitzer College President Melvin L. Oliver’s Racial Justice Initiative, which seeks to embed the study of racial violence and justice throughout the campus and curriculum, will launch its inaugural panel on Thursday, September 10, from 4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. PDT, with a virtual conversation among activist scholars on police violence and racial justice in the 21st century. 

To join the webinar, go to: https://pitzer.zoom.us/s/98352582604.

Panelists include Melvin L. Oliver, president of Pitzer College, co-author of the seminal book Black Wealth/White Wealth and noted expert on racial and urban inequality; Andrea Ritchie, activist, author and currently a researcher-in-residence on race, gender, sexuality and criminalization at the Barnard Center for Research on Women; john a. powell, professor of law, African American studies and ethnic studies and director of the Othering & Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley; and Phillip Atiba Goff, co-founder and CEO of the Center for Policing Equity, and a professor of African-American studies and psychology at Yale University. 

In announcing the initiative in spring 2020, Oliver said: “I envision a range of courses that could include ones that analyze the historical underpinnings of racial violence to courses on police-community relations in racially marginalized communities. Co-curricular activities might include forums that bring distinguished speakers and marginalized community members to campus to share their perspectives. What we do best at Pitzer College is take scholarship and community engagement and direct it at the most intractable of problems. Let us focus on this one, for it is truly a roadblock upon our road to social justice.”

The inaugural panel brings together an impressive set of activist scholars who have combined scholarship with engagement in advocacy that advances racial justice. They will address a range of topics, including the distinctiveness of this moment for transformational change; police brutality and the limits and possibilities of police reform/abolition; the nature of systemic racism; and the political uses of racial violence. The panelists will reflect upon their work, providing students a varied set of examples to emulate in the struggle for racial justice. 

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