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

Keynote Events

Racial Justice Initiative Distinguished Lecture

Deirdre Cooper Owens is a proud graduate of two historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), the all-women’s Bennett College and Clark Atlanta University. She earned her Ph.D in history at UCLA and has had a number of prestigious fellowships at the University of Virginia, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and as a Big Ten Academic Leadership Fellow. As one of the country’s most “acclaimed experts in U.S. history,” according to Time Magazine, Copper Owens is steadily working towards making history more accessible and inspiring for all.

Talk: Post-Detention Experiences of Central American Asylum Seekers in the United States

A virtual talk with Cecilia Menjívar, UCLA professor of sociology and American Sociology Association president

Watch the Video and read the transcript

Professor Cecilia Menjívar holds the Dorothy L. Meier Social Equities Chair and is a professor of sociology at UCLA. She specializes in immigration, gender, family dynamics, social networks, and broad conceptualizations of violence. She has authored and edited multiple books, including Fragmented Ties: Salvadoran Immigrant Networks in America. A John S. Guggenheim Fellow and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow, she is currently president of the American Sociological Association.

This virtual talk is the third in the Racial Justice Initiative’s fall 2021 speaker series. Register now or watch via live stream on Pitzer’s social media platforms.

For more information, contact Pitzer Professor and Associate Dean Adrian Pantoja at Adrian_Pantoja@pitzer.edu

Racial Justice Initiative Speaker Series: Environmental Justice in Indian Country

A virtual talk with educator and author Dina Gilio-Whitaker

Watch the video and read the transcript

Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes) is a lecturer of American Indian Studies at California State University San Marcos and an independent educator in American Indian environmental policy and other issues. She is the author of two books, including the award-winning As Long As Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice from Colonization to Standing Rock

This virtual talk is the second in the Racial Justice Initiative’s fall 2021 speaker series, which is moderated by Pitzer Professor and Associate Dean Adrian Pantoja. Created by President Melvin L. Oliver, Pitzer College’s Racial Justice Initiative aims to address the underlying causes of injustice, inequity, and racial violence. The Racial Justice Initiative Speaker Series is part of the College’s efforts to infuse racial justice throughout Pitzer’s academic and campus life while examining the College’s own policies and practices and exploring how Pitzer can be a broader agent of change.

If you missed the first fall talk, “Politics of Belonging and Exclusion: Orientalism and Racialization of Arabs and Muslims in the U.S.” with Karam Dana, you can watch it now on demand

For more information, contact Adrian_Pantoja@pitzer.edu.

Karam Dana - Politics of Belonging and Exclusion

Racial Justice Initiative Speaker Series: Politics of Belonging and Exclusion
September 17

Watch the video and read the transcript.

Karam Dana is the Alyson McGregor Distinguished Professor of Excellence and Transformative Research and Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the University of Washington Bothell. The founding director of the American Muslim Research Institute, Dana is one of the earliest scholars of Islam and Muslims in the US.

Part of the Racial Justice Initiative speaker series, this is the first event of the fall 2021 semester.