Alma Sheppard-Matsuo artwork

Social Justice Toolbox

Ella Taught Me: Shattering the Myth of the Leaderless Movement

By Barbara Ransby | COLORLINES

Who gets to tell the story? This is a question implicit in the work I do as a historian. But the question I have been wrestling with lately is more immediate: Who gets to shape the narrative, define the history-makers, and capture the words and images of the current black-led, anti-state violence movement evolving in the United States right now?

Even the act of naming a movement like this has its power. Last month The New York Times Magazine bestowed part of the defining privilege on a young former sports writer, Jay Caspian Kang. Kang reduced the growing movement to the personal story lines of two young, earnest and committed social media activists, DeRay Mckesson and Johnetta “Netta” Elzie. While their work has made a critical contribution, Kang frames that work in a way that misrepresents the larger movement. With a narrow range of sources, Kang’s piece concluded that “Twitter is the revolution,” that “our demand is simple: stop killing us,” and that the emergent movement is “leaderless.” (more…)

What’s Your Story?

By Bill Ayers We are all refugees from our childhoods. And so we turn, among other things, to stories. To write a story, to read a story, is to be a refugee from the state of refugees. Writers and readers … Continue reading

In Search of the Activist Academic

By Shayna Plaut, Contributing Editor, Human Rights When people ask me “what do you do?” meaning “what do you do for a living?” I find I have two options for how to respond. One is to look proudly in their … Continue reading

Building a 21st Century Cultural Center

The mission of Multicultural Student Center is to collaboratively strengthen and sustain and inclusive campus where all students, particularly students of color and other historically under-served students, are engaged and can realize and authentic Wisconsin Experience. In keeping with our … Continue reading

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