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.
Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership
Lisa Brock | Senior Editor
Lisa Brock (aka Doc Brock) is the Academic Director of the Arcus Center of Social Justice Leadership. Her articles on Africa and the African Diaspora have appeared in dozens of academic journals and as book chapters. Lisa is also on the editorial collective of the Radical History Review and the Board of the Davis Putter Scholarship Fund. An activist all her life, Lisa has fought for girls’ rights and Black rights in her native Cincinnati, Ohio area and against police violence and judicial misconduct in Washington D.C. She became a leader in the anti-apartheid movement in Chicago and lived in Mozambique as a Fulbright Scholar where she successfully merged her academic interest with southern African Social Justice struggles. She worked to co-found the Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement Collection at Columbia College Chicago (CCC) and led the effort to endow an international travel scholarship at CCC. She also successfully developed study abroad programs in South Africa and Cuba. As an historian and activist, Lisa is an internationalist who views history as a way to enter contemporary discussions about race, class, gender, and global inequalities. Lisa attended Oberlin College and earned her B.A. from Howard University and her Ph.D. in African History from Northwestern University.
Alice Kim | Editor
Alice Kim is an educator, cultural organizer, activist, and writer. You can find her instigating, building, and conspiring. More specifically, she teaches and develops curriculum for the Gender and Women’s Studies program and Social Justice Initiative at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A long-time death penalty and prison abolitionist, Alice is a founding member of the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials project, a collective that documents the history of Chicago police torture through the arts and seeks justice for the survivors of police torture. She was previously the Director of The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council that creates spaces for public conversations about social, political and cultural issues. She also worked as the Program Director for the Campaign to End the Death Penalty and the Consortium Administrator for the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. Alice received her B.A. from Northwestern University, M.A. from DePaul University, and most recently, her M.F.A. from Bennington College Writing Seminars. She is a humanist, an optimistic realist, and a pragmatic dreamer. But mostly, she’s a lover of wise words, radical imagination, the pursuit of social justice, and evocative art, books, and poetry.
Bailey Mead | Managing Editor
Bailey Mead (she/her/hers) is the Managing Editor of the Praxis Center, and served as the Project Director for the With/Out – ¿Borders? 2016 Conference at the Arcus Center. Bailey joined the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership in 2016 with more than 17 years of experience in nonprofit fund development and marketing at organizations that work against violence and for justice for low-income and LGBT communities, women, elders, children, and people living with disabilities. Bailey earned a B.S. in Women’s Studies and English from Eastern Michigan University. An activist in Detroit for more than 20 years, Bailey has been involved in feminist and queer organizing, the movement against police brutality, environmental justice actions, community gardens, literacy projects, and was a founding board member for the Southwest Detroit Timebank. She currently serves as Board Treasurer for the Can-Do Kitchen. Bailey relocated to Kalamazoo in 2012 to be with her wife Melissa Al-Azzawi, and together they opened Handmade Kalamazoo, a social enterprise dedicated to strengthening the artist economy and building authentic community connections in Kalamazoo. Bailey holds a RYT500 yoga teacher certification and teaches trauma-informed yoga as an act of resistance and self-healing in a culture of violence, creates safe spaces that attempt to welcome marginalized people into empowered practice, and approaches this work with deep gratitude and respect for the liberating gift of yoga that westerners have received from Indian culture.
Patricia Valoy | Contributing Editor for Science and Social Justice
Patricia Valoy is the science and social justice managing editor of the Praxis Center, and a feminist activist, consultant, writer, and speaker on diversity and gender in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM.) She holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Columbia University where she focused on construction management and structural engineering. With her professional background in construction and engineering she writes and speaks on a variety of issues pertaining to women in STEM and other male-dominated fields, particularly as it relates to women of color and underrepresented minorities. Patricia’s advocacy is on attracting and retaining women in STEM careers and building work environments where women are free from discrimination, sexism, and racism. She also speaks and writes on a variety of issues affecting the Latinx community including racism, immigration, cultural and religious pressures, and living at the intersection of two cultures. Most of her writings can be found here on her blog Womanisms, or at Mic, Everyday Feminism, Flyover Feminism, and Double X Science.
William C. Anderson | Contributing Editor for Race, Class, and Immigration
William C. Anderson is an activist and freelance writer. He is a regular contributor to TruthOut where he covers a wide range of issues. William has worked on national media campaigns in civil rights and labor utilizing new media as tool for organizing. His experience in traditional community organizing in the non-profit sector drew from his early grassroots efforts around immigrant’s rights, anti-racism, and economic justice. He received his Bachelors degree in Social Work from the University of Alabama Birmingham in 2012. William hopes to work towards sustainable change in today’s world that includes everyone.
Shayna Plaut | Contributing Editor for Human Rights
Shayna Plaut is obsessed with how people represent themselves – especially people who do not fit in well with the traditional “nation-state” model. She has the unshakable (at times idealistic) belief that realities can be challenged and power changed by the pen, the brush and the lens. Shayna has designed and taught courses on human rights and human rights reporting to journalists and future producers of culture in the United States and Canada since 2004. Among other things, Shayna Plaut earned her PhD at the University of British Columbia focusing on the intersections of journalism, human rights and social change with people who identify with being transnational. Her academic work focuses on how Romani (Gypsy) and Saami (the Indigenous peoples in the Nordic Arctic) journalists teach their own how to be journalists – and what we can learn as we try and develop better reporting on human rights. Since 2000, Shayna served in a variety of leadership positions with Amnesty International and Amnesty USA including the Human Rights Education Coordinator for the Midwest Region of Amnesty International USA. She received her MA from the University of Chicago and her BA from Antioch College. Shayna has two cats and refuses to color within the lines.
Michelle Morse | Contributing Editor for Global Health
Dr. Morse is Founding Co-Director of EqualHealth and Assistant Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Morse co-founded EqualHealth (www.equalhealth.org), an NGO that aims to inspire and support the development of Haiti’s next generation of healthcare leaders through improving medical and nursing education and creating opportunities for growth amongst health professionals. She works to strengthen medical education globally, expand the teaching of social medicine in the US and abroad, and to support health systems strengthening through EqualHealth. In 2015 Dr. Morse worked with several partners to found the Social Medicine Consortium, a global coalition which seeks to use advocacy, education, and research to rectify the miseducation of health professionals on the root causes of illness using the practice and teaching of social medicine. In 2015, Dr. Morse engaged several global partners to found the Social Medicine Consortium, a global coalition that advocates, educates, and conducts research using the lens of social medicine so that health professional education more honestly aligns with the root causes of illness. Dr. Morse works as a Hospitalist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) through the Division of Global Health Equity, an Instructor on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, and as an affiliate of the School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine.As a Howard Hiatt Global Health Equity resident in Internal Medicine at BWH, Dr. Morse worked in Haiti, Rwanda, and Botswana. She focused her international work in Haiti where she helped to coordinate Partners In Health’s (PIH) earthquake relief efforts, was a first-responder for the cholera epidemic, and worked on women’s health and quality improvement projects. Dr. Morse earned her B.S. in French in 2003 from the University of Virginia, her M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 2008, and her MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health in May 2012.
Sojn Boothroyd is a queer, trans, gender non-conforming, white ally social justice activist, educator, and award-winning interdisciplinary artist. S/he is a published author, holds an Ed.M. (2010) in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is the Project Director for the 2015 Global Prize for Transformative Social Justice at the ACSJL. Sojn is a faculty member at Northeastern University and Western Michigan University, and the creator of an arts-integration project that takes an intersectional approach to addressing bias-based bullying and harassment in K-12 schools. Over the past twenty years, Sojn has worked with K-12 youth in 175+ schools and community centers across the U.S. and three arts education organizations that have received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the White House. S/he co-facilitates Trans* leadership and ally trainings, and collaborates with activists in Michigan on the Trans* Leadership Project. One of the goals of the project is to engage lawmakers in amending the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act so that it includes protections for LGBT people. This work is rooted in lifting up the voices of trans*, gender non-conforming, and genderqueer people to organize and educate legislators, community leaders, and the general public about the impact of statewide laws and organizational policies on trans* lives.
Dara Cooper | Contributing Editor for Environment, Food, and Sustainability
Dara Cooper is an activist, organizer, indigenous priestess and whole food lover based in Brooklyn, NY. She is the director of the NYC Food and Fitness Partnership at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the first and one of the largest community development corporations in the country. The Partnership works to address food and health access issues, creating model places where communities of color have equitable access to healthy, safe, clean environments with an empowered community that determines and participates in an accessible, equitable, affordable food system for all residents. In November 2013, she travelled with a delegation to Cuba as a part of the first Black Permaculturalist Network and participated in the 2013 International Permaculture Conference. She believes in the power of people organizing, investing in self-determining, sustainable communities worldwide and is guided by the quote: “Imperialism is an international system of exploitation, and we, as revolutionaries, must be internationalists to defeat it.” – Assata Shakur
Stephanie Shonekan | Contributing Editor for Art, Music, and Pop Culture
Stephanie Shonekan (PhD, Indiana University) is Chair of the Department of Black Studies and Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and Black Studies at the University of Missouri. She is also a faculty fellow with the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity at Mizzou. Her dual heritage combining West Africa with the West Indies allows her to straddle the black world comfortably. She has published articles on afrobeat, Fela Kuti, as well as American hip hop, soul, country, and Nigerian hip-hop. Her books “The Life of Camilla Williams, African American Classical Singer and Opera Diva” (2011) and “Soul, Country, and the USA: Race and Identity in American Music Culture” (2015) explore the intersection where identity, history, culture and music meet.
Jasmine Khin | Resource Research Coordinator
Jasmine Khin is a Praxis Fellow at the Arcus Center and a Junior English and Philosophy double major with a concentration in Critical Theory. She has hopped from Myanmar to Singapore to, now, unexpectedly, Kalamazoo and identifies as a third culture individual who is most comfortable calling people, instead of places, home. Social Justice is a personal motivation for her in her academic work and she hopes to find alternative ways to conceive political agency amidst insidious power structures and to de-colonize relations between people. She is also the DSA for Critical Theory and for the most part, she has decided to spend the rest of her time in Kalamazoo College working on finding fertile ground for her growth at the intersection of scholarship and activism because she believes neither one is complete without the other. An avid coffee drinker and a lover of literature, she hopes to make an impact through her writing and research in the future.
Mireya Guzmán-Ortíz | Praxis Images Editor and Creative Assistant
Mireya Guzmán-Ortíz is a student fellow at the ACSJL. They are a junior from Salem, Oregon majoring in Critical Ethnic Studies, minoring in German, and completing a Media Studies concentration. Mireya has been a part of M.E.Ch.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlan) de Kzoo since their first year at Kalamazoo College and it has been a place of great growth and action. They are a member of Queer Trans Students of Color Coalition and are also on the Sexual, Safety, and Support Alliance team. Growing up, Mireya heard much about movements and injustices in the world and saw them first-hand as a Latinx in a predominantly white society. Since then, they have searched out ways to make change and amplify the voices of those who are most affected by inequalities. Mireya believes firmly in the power of stories and it is through video and written narratives that they have begun to put into action those beliefs and experiences that got instilled in them from a young age.
Erin Butler | Data Analyst and Project Development Fellow
Erin Butler (she/her/hers) is a Data Analyst and Project Development Fellow at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership. She is a Kalamazoo College junior with a double major in Anthropology and Social Justice Leadership. She is a Kalamazoo College junior with a double major in Anthropology and Sociology and Mathematics. She is proud to be from Detroit, MI, where she has worked with many organizations to build her community. Since joining the Kalamazoo community, she has become involved through tutoring, attending events, and living in the neighborhoods. Her deepest passions are in struggling against racism and other systems of oppression. She works to better understand structures of injustice and use data and numbers to dismantle these systems.