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praxis

Robust Imaginaries
             +
Informed Practice

Welcome to the Praxis Center, an online resource center for scholars, activists and artists hosted by the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College. From action research and radical scholarship to engaged teaching and grassroots activism to community and cultural organizing, and revelatory art practice, we make visible imperative social justice work being done today.

Praxis is
the synergy between
theory and practice,
knowledge and relevance,
ideas, images, and the real.

Contact

Karla Aguilar
Program Coordinator
Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership
karla.aguilar@kzoo.edu
269-337-7033

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Cities in Revolt: Chicago

By David Stovall

Educator and activist David Stovall shares his remarks from a plenary session at the With/Out ¿Borders? conference this past September. This is the second piece in a three-part series on “Cities in Revolt.”

To every person in Detroit who has ever had their water services terminated, to every person in New Orleans who weathered the storm called Katrina, to every family in Chicago that had a child in one of the 49 schools closed last spring, to every family that lives under constant fear of immigration raids in California, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado, to the families that have lived in Ferguson, Missouri under an apartheid state before Mike Brown’s death: we must understand this political moment as one that is not coincidental, unfortunate or a general instance of happenstance. Instead, it should be understood as a moment where the lives of First Nations (the only Indigenous), Black, Latin@, Arab, and Southeast Asian are deemed disposable in their respective locales. Continue reading →

Comments on Cities in Revolt: Chicago

David, thank you for unpacking this for us. I agree that we, POCs, are deemed disposable and that police brutality is rationalized. The wrath of rationalized crimes experienced by POCs in the United states is rooted in institutional racism. A state’s legitimacy derives from a couple of things, including it’s ability to use force. Historically this state, through its gate keepers (police), has served as a vehicle to perpetuate a cycle of violence and devastation. Most of White America (and those experiencing internalized racism) fails to realize that the consequences of these manufactured circumstances are used to further criminalize the bodies of POCs. The excess use of force, silent policy changes, racial profiling (to name a few) cannot continue to be normalized! We, POCs, cannot afford any more “It’s the ______ Way”. As a brown man, I should not KNOW to shave my beard before boarding a plane to avoid (unsuccessfully) being mistaken for an Arab; I should not KNOW to carry my passport ID in my wallet to avoid (unsuccessfully) being mistaken as an unauthorized immigrant; I should NOT feel unsafe every time I see a patrol car. David, I agree: we need stronger solidarity among POCs. Together we’ll take this state back from the hands of unscrupulous gate keepers.

chuck fraser says:

Very good article. It confirms my observations as a conscientious observer from Canada. Our country is becoming more and more like the states. We have followed Bush and others to invade other countries, thus, have lost our once international ideal as a peace loving country. As you can see, we are having terrorist attacks in our capital. As a lifetime advocate for a just and civil world I have concerns about the homelessness in the states, around 35 million citizens, poverty, terrible medical system, although “Obama care” is a move in the right direction, gun violence, and struggling masses of working people. I read Giroux’s neo-liberalism and how a line has been drawn and if you fall below it, you are doomed. I still believe in the struggle and support this movement of taking back your cities. ’La Lotto Continua.” Your struggle is righteous brothers and sisters. Peace and Love.

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Police Violence and Youth Resistance: “Mike Brown Means We Got to Fight Back!”

By Dara Cooper, Contributing Editor, Environment, Food, & Sustainability

As a food and environmental justice activist, like many of my comrades, I embrace a global, macro analysis and vision for why we’re fighting. Rooted in the realities of injustice, particularly among communities of color, we understand the quality of our food, air, schools, water, and our overall lives intersect. We understand that white supremacy and capitalism feed on the destruction of our lives and much of our work is centered on creating an alternative future where our children’s children can thrive. We envision collectives, earth justice, sustainable agriculture, sustainable homes, honoring of indigenous values, healthy bodies, healthy relationships, self-determination, pride, educated minds, and so much more. Yet, in the here and now, we see police brutality. We see destruction. We see exploitation. So we work hard, dream, build for a better future, and in the meantime, we fight back.

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It is our duty to fight for freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.
– Assata Shakur

  Continue reading →

Comments on Police Violence and Youth Resistance: “Mike Brown Means We Got to Fight Back!”

Anita says:

Thank you for all you are doing, for your persistence and hard work!

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Keorapetse Kgositsile on Exile, Art, and Freedom: “What I write defines who I am”

By Alice Kim, Editor

Keorapetse Kgositsile, a world-renowned South African poet and activist, began his writing career as a journalist for the newspaper, New Age, a leading voice in the struggle against apartheid published from Johannesburg. From 1962 to 1975, he lived in exile in the United States during which time he earned an MFA in poetry from Columbia University and published his first collection of poems, Spirits Unchained, as well as another influential collection, My Name is Afrika. He became established as a poet in the Black Arts Movement, both influencing the movement and being influenced by it. From exile, he later founded the African National Congress’ Departments of Education and Arts and Culture. For years, his work was banned in apartheid South Africa. He returned to his homeland after the fall of apartheid and was inaugurated as South Africa’s National Poet Laureate in 2006.

I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing the South African Poet Laureate last month at the Without Borders conference hosted by the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership. His love of language, his no-nonsense approach to politics, and his big heart were easy to see. Here, Keorapetse Kgositsile shares his unabashed insights on exile, art and freedom.

Alice Kim: All these years, you’ve remained both a writer and a political activist. I’d love for you to talk about the relationship between art and activism, but first, why do you write? Continue reading →

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