CCEL hosts Social Justice Teach-In

More than 300 students and community members crowded the Tinkham Veale University Ballroom on the morning of Feb. 10, for the eighteenth annual Social Justice Teach-In. The Teach-In, facilitated by the Case Western Reserve University Center for Civic Engagement and Learning (CCEL), InterReligious Task Force on Central America (IRTF), Social Justice Institute and other partners, featured 33 workshops centered around current issues and different aspects of social justice.

The Teach-In provided the community an opportunity to heighten their understanding of critical issues by exploring the unique perspectives of other attendees, and engaging in meaningful dialogue. It featured keynote speaker Amanda King, CWRU School of Law alumnus and founder of Shooting Without Bullets, as well as a video and performances by several individuals belonging to the program.

“The keynote address, and especially the video, were incredible powerful in giving Case students an insider’s perspective,” said first-year CWRU student Anitra Karthic.

Shooting Without Bullets seeks to raise awareness for and combat social injustices through creative expression. It was founded, King explained, because she “grew tired of seeing black youth robbed of their agency by the state during the most seminal years of their development.”

In her keynote speech, King said, “This is what you should remember today: To openly love oneself and to compel the government to see your humanity, even when it is unfavorable, is not sedition. It’s survival.”

Shifting to address social justice in a broader sense, the “What is Social Justice?” workshop sought to define the term and shed light on the sacrifices involved in achieving it.

“Social justice is eradicating systems of power and oppression with the purpose of advancing fairness and equality through the redistribution of resources and opportunities, and exalting human dignity and respect,” said Interim Director of the Social Justice Institute Tim Black, in reference to the organization’s operating definition.

The Teach-In closed with several performances by individuals from Shooting Without Bullets  and a collective call to action. As the crowd rose together and exited the ballroom, the high ceiling rang with echoes of:

“I have not come here alone, I carry my people in my bones. I have not come here alone, if you listen, you can hear them in my soul.”