Racial Justice Initiative

Continuing acts of racialized violence and the mobilization efforts by the Black Lives Matter movement and its allies to fight for racial justice provide an important backdrop for scholars and students to analyze this unique moment in time. In an effort to support productive discussion, analysis and activism, President Melvin Oliver’s Racial Justice Initiative provides funds for three primary prongs: curricular transformation, co-curricular transformation, and structural transformation. Together, these are designed to deepen student, staff, and faculty knowledge and action around racialized violence.

Initiatives in Motion

Upcoming Events

More events coming soon

Past Events, Spring 2021

Africa From the Ground Reporting on Cultural Bridges and Human Movement 

May 4, 2021 11:00am PST

Zoom link: https://pitzer.zoom.us/j/92185175453?pwd=TUtMdVhPaEhIbzlkdnhtYVllbWYzUT09

Salym Fayad will discuss his work as a journalist for Latin American media outlets across sub-Saharan Africa, including his coverage of migration from Africa to Europe and of initiatives to increase South-South cultural exchange between Africa and Latin America.

Salym Fayad is an independent reporter, documentary photographer and cultural producer from Bogota, Colombia, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, since 2008. He has worked extensively in Sub-Saharan Africa covering issues rel​ated to music and popular culture, armed conflict, migration and human rights. He currently works on a collaborative multimedia project documenting life stories and cultural practices among the Somali community in Mayfair, Johannesburg, and the diaspora. 

The event will be in Spanish and moderated by students enrolled in Better than Fiction: Journalism in Latin America. It is sponsored by President Oliver’s Racial Justice Initiative.

The Fight Against AAPI Racism & Violence
April 26, 2021, 4–5 p.m. Zoom: https://bit.ly/3rUJNgs

A conversation with Cynthia Choi, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, a community-based civil rights organization in San Francisco, which aims to advance racial justice, economic justice, education equity, and immigrant rights and Karthick Ramakrishnan, a professor of public policy and political science at the University of California, Riverside, and founding director of its Center for Social Innovation.

True Equity: Color in the Ivory Tower
Wednesday, April 7, at 5 p.m. (PST)

True Equity: Color in the Ivory Tower, the second of the four-part series, will be a frank conversation about the state of diversity at Pitzer College and in higher education will be led by Pitzer Associate Dean and Professor Adrian Pantoja. Panelists include Ahmed Alwishah, professor of philosophy; Mita Banerjee, professor of psychology; Muriel Poston, professor of environmental analysis; Maria Soldatenko, associate professor of Chicana/o-Latina/o transnational studies; and Linus Yamane, professor of economics.

Salmon, Karuk culture, and Environmental Decline

Tuesday, April 6, at 12:55 p.m. (PST)
A conversation with Kari Norgaard, Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon and recent Chair of the Environmental Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association. The talk discussed the topic of her recent scholarship, produced collaboratively with Karuk Elder Ron Reed, which includes the article :”How environmental decline restructures indigenous gender practices: What happens to Karuk masculinity when there are no fish?” and the book, Salmon and Acorns Feed Our People: Colonialism, Nature and Social Action.

The talk was sponsored by the Racial Justice Initiative and was held in conjunction with Sociology 01: Intro to Sociology, Professor Erich Steinman.


Getting to the Core | Imagine What Can Be! with Je Naé Taylor, cultural organizer for the Highlander Research and Education Center.
April 2nd, 2021 from 11:00 AM – 12:30 p.m (PST)
Event Registration: https://bit.ly/3m33JN3
Series organized by CEC, CAPAS and the Writing Center in collaboration with Margo Okazawa-Rey

Hip Hop and the Poetics of Protest
A Racial Justice Initiative & Pitzer College Art Galleries Collaboration
Monday, March 15, at 4 p.m. (PST)

A conversation with Derik Smith, Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College and chair of the Intercollegiate Department of Africana Studies at the Claremont Colleges, and Pitzer Senior and LYBL Records founder Kaylyn “Kay” Wright, on Hip Hop and the Poetics of Protest.

Afrolatinidad & Writing: A Conversation w Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro
Wednesday, March 3 12:45 p.m (PST)

An exciting event for everyone interested in knowing more about Afrolatinx cultures. Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro joins us for a conversation about her experience as an Afro-latinx and queer author.  
This conversation with Ms. Arroyo Pizarro is supported by the Racial Justice Initiative Committee. See below the Zoom link: https://pitzer.zoom.us/j/86482882214

Combating the Prison Industrial Complex: Lessons from the Frontlines
Tuesday, March 2 at 4 p.m. (PST)

Join Tyee Griffith, founding manager of the Justice Education Initiative at The Claremont Colleges, in discussion with Cal Poly Pomona Professor of Political Science Renford Reese.

February 5
Getting to the Core: Radically Imagining Our Futures with Nick Daily

Supported by the RJI Center funding and organized by CEC, the Writing Center and CAPAS.

Past Events, Fall 2020

December 10
Nationwide Launch of Pitzer Inside-Out Pathway-to-BA for Incarcerated Students

Video of the ceremonial “college acceptance letter” and memorandum of understanding signing event with key speakers, including Pitzer College President Melvin L. Oliver, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Superintendent Shannon Swain from the Office of Correctional Education and admitted students from CRC.

November 23
The 2020 Election: What Happened, What Comes Next?

Watch the video and read the transcript of the event.

November 17
Father Gregory Boyle in Conversation: The Power of Boundless Compassion and Radical Kinship

Watch the video and read the transcript of the event.

October 15
The Rainbow Wave and the 2020 Election

Watch the video and read the transcript of the event.

Racial Justice in Our Time

September 10
Racial Justice in Our Time: A Conversation with Activist Scholars

Watch the video and read the transcript of the inaugural event.