Spring 2021

In May 2020, President Melvin L. Oliver launched the Racial Justice Initiative (RJI) to marshal the resources of the College to address the underlying causes of injustice and racial violence. RJI aims to foster productive discussion, analysis, and activism, focusing on curricular transformation, co-curricular transformation, and structural transformation.

Since spring 2020, with the guidance of Associate Dean Adrian Pantoja and RJI’s organizing committee, the initiative has hosted more than 30 RJI speakers and events and funded the transformation of 23 existing courses to include themes surrounding racial justice.

RJI’s spring events ranged from Antiracism in Psychotherapy to Hip Hop and the Poetics of Protest. Here, we share a sampling of the breadth and depth of RJI’s spring programming, drawing from a recent report to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which provides generous funding for RJI. We’re also pleased to share recordings of two of those events: Protest Songs in the Struggle for Social Justice and Combating the Prison Industrial Complex.

  • Protest Songs in the Struggle for Social Justice: How the music of Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez energized the Chicano civil rights movement
  • The Fight Against AAPI Racism & Violence
  • Combating the Prison Industrial Complex: Lessons from the Frontlines
  • Africa from the Ground: Reporting on Cultural Bridges and Human Movement
  • Antiracism in Psychotherapy: Doing the Best We Can and Doing Better
  • Afro-Caribbean Women’s Writing: A Conversation with Gisele Pineau
  • Afrolatinidad & Writing: A Conversation w Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro
  • Which Me Shall I Be Today: The Literacy, Race, and Identity Connection
  • Pitzer College Art Galleries Manifesto Project
  • CASA Pitzer’s Know Justice, Know Peace Speaker Series
  • Getting to the Core | Imagine What Can Be!
  • Hip Hop and the Poetics of Protest

More information about these events is archived on the RJI webpage.

How do you pick your unsung heroes?

Associate Dean Adrian Pantoja in an interview with filmmaker Paul Espinosa

Watch Associate Dean and Professor of Political Studies and Chicano Studies Adrian Pantoja and filmmaker Paul Espinosa discuss the music and activism of Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez. This event was a Racial Justice Initiative & Pitzer College Art Galleries Collaboration.

Combating the Prison Industrial Complex: Lessons from the Frontlines

The thing that runs through all of this work is the concept of ubuntu, which means humanity. It means ‘I am because we are.’

Renford Reese, founder of the Prison Education Project

Tyee Griffith, founding manager of the Justice Education Initiative at The Claremont Colleges, and Renford Reese, Cal Poly Pomona professor of political science and founder of the Prison Education Project talk with Professor Adrian Pantoja about the relationship between racial justice and the criminal justice system.