I’m facilitating webinars!

I’m back on the JP HigherEd team for 2018/2019! I’m facilitating 4 webinars this year, this first of which is on Tuesday, October 23rd.

One of the reasons I wanted to join the JP Higher Ed team again is to revisit some concepts from my previous stint facilitating webinars and one that is increasingly important to me. We need to know how to make social justice a practice. It needs to be something tangible that we can use in our day-to-day work.

That’s a thread that runs through my four sessions. Please check out the links to register for the webinars below. I’m really excited for all of them and hope you can make it.

Advancing Social Justice Capacities

Tuesday, October 23rd at 2 PM EST

We are inundated with news about hate bias incidents, the growth of hate groups, and governmental actions that push people further into the margins. What do we do with this? How can we continue to develop as educators? How do we make sense of this for ourselves and with our colleagues and students? We must develop and advance our capacities for social justice.

We must have frequent conversations with each other about social justice because we need to support our communities and critically analyze our own practices. To do that we need to be able to plan workshops, book clubs, curricula, affinity groups, and critical reflections of our own practices. This webinar will help us identify the needs of our community and draft plans to facilitate professional development learning.

Interrogating White Middle-Class Dominance in our Workplaces

Tuesday, December 4th at 2 PM EST

Higher Education in the United States was founded within the context of race, gender, and class dominance and those influences continue to this day. We see this in the work that we do on a daily basis. We see our students struggle to adapt to the culture of our institutions. We see “diverse hiring practices” but a lack of effort put into the retention of our diverse staff. We know that there are issues of hunger and homelessness on our campuses. How are we contributing to these issues? How can we confront these issues?

Developing a keen eye to see the influences of white middle-class dominance in our universities will help us counteract them and create more inclusive communities. In this webinar, you will see examples of these dynamics, evaluate your own workplace for these methods of dominance, and reflect on how you can create change.

Improvising Justice: Interrogating either/or viewpoints

Tuesday, January 22nd at 2 PM EST

As educators and administrators, we improvise daily. We find ways to solve problems that did not exist the day before. We create processes on the fly. Because of the speed in which we do things, there is not always time for critical reflection of these practices. We should change that.

Cornel West tells us that Jazz, an art form based on improvisation, is so much more than a musical genre, but that it’s a method of being suspicious of “either/or” viewpoints. As critical educators, it is essential that we take on this worldview as we improvise in our work. In this workshop, we’ll reflect on the ways that we improvise in our work, find ways that we’ve made mistakes in the past, and identify ways we can be suspicious of either/or viewpoints.

Developing Critical Reflection in your day-to-day work

Tuesday, April 30th at 2 PM EST (Link coming soon!)

Sometimes we live day-to-day without critically reflecting on the impact our day-to-day work has on the people around us. We can make a decision without considering the impact it will have on everyone involved. We can “use our best judgment” without reflecting on what has informed that judgment. We can unintentionally cause harm without including critical reflection in our daily practices.

We will explore what critical reflection is and why it is important for us to include in our practices. In this webinar, we will focus on strategies you can implement to reflect more critically on your daily practices in order to be a more inclusive, mindful, and engaged leader to your family, colleagues, students, and yourself.

Resisting the Klansman in Chief

We the people of these United States of America have entrenched into the executive branch of our federal government a man who overtly represents the interests of the white supremacist, capitalist, imperialist patriarchy. We have rooted our legislative and judiciary branches in the values of the party that this man represents. We have elected a man who has proven himself, through his actions and language, that he is unfit to serve the majority of our nation. He has slandered immigrants, called to ban any and all people who observe Islam from entering the country, told us he can do anything he wants to women because he’s a star, has been charged and fined for housing discrimination against black residents in his properties, been accused of sexual assault and rape by many women, evaded paying his taxes through loopholes, advocated jailing his political opponent, led the birther movement, and was endorsed by overt white supremacist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and the National Socialist Movement. We have elected a Klansman in Chief to sit in the Oval Office and while he’s not the first overt white supremacist to sit at that desk he is taking over the office from the first ever black president and that means something.

We are never going to have all of our problems addressed by a president. Issues are solved by the people and implemented by those we elect to represent us. But we’ve elected, I believe, a man who is not responsive to all of the people and the tone of the direction of our nation is set by the person who sits in the oval office. We are now in a state of active political resistance to the potential actions and policies that have been promised by this president-elect. We now need to organize in order to prevent him and his political majority from being able to roll back progress that has been made in this country.

We need to find community with people who care about the same things we do and with those who think differently. We need to understand what it is we envision for the future and what those who think differently from us envision. We need to find out how we can merge those visions into something that allows all of us to have what we need from this country. We need to merge this into collective liberation. We need people to understand how they’re connected to the #NoDAPL movement even if they aren’t from Standing Rock. We need to see how we’re connected to the sexism the president-elect spews. We need to see how we will all be impacted by his theoretical wall and closing the borders. We need to see how stop and frisk is harmful to all our communities. We need to recognize that the militarization of our police force is harmful to all our communities. We need to know that the humanity of trans folks is not up for debate. We need to have the conversations about how the very real history (and present) of our country still impacts the lives of people of color and women and LGBTQ folx and immigrants and indigenous people and poor people and the intersections therein. That oppressive history is alive in our institutions and culture and it needs to be addressed in a real, organized manner. We need to organize. We have to think beyond elections. More of us have to recognize that by expanding rights and protections and liberty to the most marginalized people we can make the US better for everyone.

Civic engagement has never just been about voting. More has always been required and more will always be required. Today is about finding a way to make sense of what is a shocking result for many people. Tomorrow is for finding ways to get engaged to uproot white supremacist, capitalist, imperialist, patriarchy because it’s easier for us to see. And if it’s easier for us to see, we can find ways to dismantle it and build something new that represents us all. Tomorrow is for us to reconnect with our communities. Tomorrow we find pockets of our communities that hold us accountable to justice for everyone. Tomorrow we recommit to values that emphasize collective liberation and we hold our government (the executive, legislative, and judicial branches) accountable to those values. Tomorrow our work continues.

Is this justice?

In April 2000, my dad was shot and killed. I’ve been through a lot of different phases related to this incident and I’ve obviously had a very different life because of it. The police caught the young men who shot my dad about a week after it happened and they went to prison. It was for a few years, the longest sentence was 30 years. As far as I know, the death penalty never entered into the conversation at the trial. In hindsight, I’m glad that it didn’t. At the time I was very conflicted and part of me believed that the death penalty was a means of serving justice and the another part of me believed that it was state sponsored murder.

Speaking in my own experiences and reflecting 11 years after my dad’s death, I don’t believe it would have made me feel any closure to know that the men involved were dead. I haven’t spoken to anyone else who has had a similar experience to mine to know what they would feel, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that I don’t think it provides many people with closure. I don’t think it provides society with closure. I believe that the death penalty is a relic of the old testament. At its core it is an eye for an eye policy. It is state sponsored murder.

I know there are varying beliefs related to the death penalty and its relevance. I’m simply presenting mine. In the wake of the uncertainty of Troy Davis’ execution I needed to make a decision. There are movements going on and activism is taking place. I want to be a part of that change because I don’t believe that murdering criminals does anything for our society.

American Civil Liberties Union

The Innocence Project

Life, Hijacked

RD Training started last Tuesday and my life has pretty much revolved around that and conferences. I haven’t had the time to sit, breath, and plan that I’ve been used to thus far in the summer, which is good because I won’t be so shocked when the year comes around.

I’m in the midst of putting together my plan for my social justice program, finishing RA training planning, crafting my internship projects, trying to get ResLifer.com off the ground (which has been seriously delayed), and planning all the usual stuff for the upcoming year.

I’ve also moved into the planning stages of which conferences I’ll be attending and presenting at and what I’ll be trying to present. I feel like I keep harping on how excited I am about the upcoming year and the opportunities that I’ll have, but it just seems to keep getting better!

Fresh

I’ve given the TwentyTen theme a little refresh here on aaronhood.net. I went with a minimal approach and worked out some of the colors based on some inspiration from Kuler.

Next on the to-do list with the site is update my resume and my portfolio to have it all available here. While also pointing to my LinkedIn account and other resources.

The banner uses Stone Serif font and the tower is the top of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA.