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Beyond the Campus/Community Split

This consortium discussed the importance of local community building within and outside of the confines of the university. Organizations rely on university aid differently, however, those interested in community building beyond the university should advocate for non-transactional institutional aid and collaboration. Most importantly, when volunteering or working for community-based organizations, one should enter that space as a learner, instead of a “savior.” Each community calls for different needs and resources, and if one wants to get involved one needs to learn what the community calls and advocates for. We should remember that in struggles for equity and justice, we are trying to break from the elite knowledge production that university academic circles and activism perpetuate.

Panelists

Khalid Alexander, Pillars of the Community
In addition to teaching at San Diego City College, Khalid Alexander is the president and founder of Pillars of the Community, a nonprofit community organization that works with people targeted by law enforcement for meaningful systemic change. He founded the "Reclaiming Our Stories" collective in 2015 which recently published a special edition of narrative essays written by individuals from impacted communities titled "Reclaiming Our Stories in the Time of COVID and Uprising." Currently, he is focused on challenging racist gang laws that target Black and Brown residents across California.

Anchi Mei, San Diego MAKE Projects
Anchi Mei is the Founder and Executive Director of MAKE Projects, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides paid work experiences for low-income refugee and immigrant women and youth in San Diego. MAKE Projects operates a restaurant, urban farm and catering/events business as a job training platform for its trainees, and helps program graduates get permanent jobs. MAKE Projects started as a pilot progra in the International Rescue Committee where Anchi was the Senior Program Manager of the Food and Farming Program since 2010, overseeing a variety of community food projects from farmers' markets to incubator farms to food policy and resident leadership programs.

Yusef Omowale, Southern California Library
Yusef Omowale is a staff member of the Southern California Library (SCL). Founded almost 60 years ago, SCL is a library and archive located in South Los Angeles that documents and makes accessible histories of struggle that challenge racism and other systems of oppresion. Over the past 10 years, Yusef has participated within long-standing traditions of collective memory work to document the impacts of policing, incarceration, displacement, and poverty. This archival labor has included political education workshops, campaign support, and offering spaces of healing and material support to ease some of the day-to-day sufferings of late capitalism.

Christine Tran, Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association
Christine Yen Tran-Phan is passionate about telling stories- whether they're about businesses or the Vietnamese-American experience. Currently, she is a core organizer for commongroundoc, an open space organized by Viet progressives, where she helped pave its 2020 virtual workshop and open mic platform. Christine volunteered with Viet Film Fest as its Events and Marketing Director since 2018. She's interested in revealing stories and overarching themes of the human experience through the topic of food, and has done so as the Project Director for the Illuminated Recipes Project by VAALA.

Resources

Carney, Nikita & Alex Kulick. “Rethinking Academia and Social Justice: Reflections from Emerging Scholars.” Berkeley Journal of Sociology. 2016.
http://berkeleyjournal.org/2016/04/rethinking-academia-and-social-justice-reflections-from-emerging-scholars/

McCrary, Nancye E. & E. Wayne Ross, Ed. Working for Social Justice Inside and Outside the Classroom: A Community of Students, Teachers, Researchers, and Activists. Vol. 2 New York: Peter Lang, 2016. https://www.peterlang.com/document/1118300

McGregor, Callum and Jeremy Knox. “Activism and the Academy: Assembling knowledge for Social Justice.” Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization Vol. 17(3): 509-532. http://ephemerajournal.org/contribution/activism-and-academy-assembling-knowledge-social-justice

Rose, Barbara. “Moving from Chasm to Convergence: Benefits and Barriers to Academic Activism for Social Justice and Equity.” Brock Education Journal 27(1) 2017: 67-78. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1165957.pdf

Community Organizations