Cal Poly CLA News

The latest online edition of CLA's Impact Magazine

Black Lives Matter

CLA Black Lives Matter Speaker Series

CLA Speaker Series: Black Lives Matter

In 2020-2021 the College of Liberal Arts presented the "Black Lives Matter Speaker Series," which aimed to highlight scholarly and creative work on issues of racial justice.

See Our Past Black Lives Matter Series Speakers

    Dr. Bedelia Richards

    Understanding Systemic Racism & AntiBlackness in Higher Education Institutions with Dr. Bedelia Richards


    FRIDAY, MAY 21 AT 1:00 P.M.

    Dr. Bedelia Nicola Richards is the founder of RaceTalk LLC, which provides empirically based solutions to race and class-based inequities. She is also an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Richmond. Her scholarship interrogates the role of educational institutions in reproducing institutionalized racism and classism, and aims to promote critical thinking in regards to how institutions of higher education can better work for students and faculty from diverse backgrounds and communities. She has published a co-edited volume titled Clearing the Path for First Generation College Students: Qualitative and Intersectional Studies of Educational Mobility. In addition, her work appears in journals such as Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Social Problems, and Sociology Compass. As a publicly engaged scholar, she has also shared her expertise through Scholar Strategy Network, Inside Higher Ed, and other platforms.

    This event is hosted by the Women and Gender Studies Department. The event is free and open to the public.

    Optional Pre-Reading


    Dr. Rashawn Ray

    Bad Apples come from Rotten Trees in Policing: Racism and Reimagining American Law Enforcement with Dr. Rashawn Ray


    THURSDAY, MAY 13 AT 4:00 P.M.

    Dr. Rashawn Ray, a David M. Rubenstein Fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution, is Professor of Sociology and Executive Director of the Lab for Applied Social Science Research (LASSR) at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is also one of the co-editors of Contexts Magazine: Sociology for the Public.

    Ray’s research addresses the mechanisms that manufacture and maintain racial and social inequality with a particular focus on police-civilian relations, health disparities, and voting behavior. His work also speaks to ways that inequality may be attenuated through racial uplift activism and social policy. Ray has published over 50 books, articles, and book chapters, and roughly 50 op-eds. Recently, Ray published the book How Families Matter: Simply Complicated Intersections of Race, Gender, and Work(with Pamela Braboy Jackson) and another edition of Race and Ethnic Relations in the 21st Century: History, Theory, Institutions, and Policy, which has been adopted nearly 40 times in college courses. Ray has written for the Washington Post, New York Times, Newsweek, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and NBC News.

    This event is sponsored by the Tech Workforce Strategic Research Initiative and The Technically Human Podcast. Hosted by the Social Sciences Department. This event is free and open to the public.


    Dorothy Roberts

    From Reproductive Choice to Reproductive Justice with Dorothy Roberts



    Dorothy Roberts is a leading voice for reproductive freedom and has helped to transform advocacy for women’s health and rights. In this talk, she explains how the mainstream rhetoric of “choice” has privileged women who have the ability to choose from reproductive options that are unavailable to poor and low-income women, especially women of color. “Choice” is a weak basis for claiming public resources that most women need in order to maintain control over their bodies and their lives. Roberts argues instead for a “reproductive justice” framework that includes not only a woman’s right not to have a child, but also the right to have children and to raise them with dignity, taking into account the real world context of reproductive decision making. Reproductive freedom is matter of social justice.

    This event is co-hosted by the Women and Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies in Liberal Arts, and Social Sciences Departments. The event is free and open to the public.


    Dr. Anthony Hatch

    Silent Cells: The Secret Drugging of America with Dr. Anthony Hatch


    THURSDAY, APRIL 29 AT 4:00 P.M.

    Dr. Anthony Hatch is a critical sociologist who studies the intersections of science, technology, and medicine with special emphases on racial, gender, and socioeconomic inequality. His teaching and published research interrogate sociological questions about science and technology as economic and political forces in society. His areas of intellectual specialization are science and technology studies, medical sociology, critical social theories, and political sociology. He is the author of Silent Cells: The Secret Drugging of Captive America (Minnesota, 2019) and Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology and Food Justice in Black America (Minnesota, 2016). In Spring 2021, he started Black Box Labs, an undergraduate research and training laboratory that offers students training in qualitative research methods aligned with science and technology studies and the opportunity to collaborate with faculty on critical social research.

    This event is sponsored by Tech Workforce Strategic Research Initiative, Center for Expressive Technologies, and The Technically Human Podcast. Hosted by the Social Sciences Department. This event is free and open to the public.


    Dr. Phyllisa Deroze

    When and Where Do I Enter?: Black Women, Health Equity, and Disability Studies with Dr. Phyllisa Deroze


    THURSDAY, APRIL 22 AT 9:30 A.M.

    Dr. Phyllisa Deroze is an Assistant Professor of English at Southern University A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Along with her experience teaching at two historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and as a Fulbright Scholar and Professor at United Arab Emirates University, she is a global diabetes patient advocate, who has offered lectures, addresses, and support groups throughout the Middle Eastern and North African region, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the United States. She has published extensively on the intersectionality of health, black women, and literature. Dr. Deroze is also the founder and writer of and Black Diabetic Info. Her talk will discuss health equity, chronic illness, and disability, particularly among Black women. She will also share a flash memoir about living with diabetes during COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter protests.

    This event is hosted by the Women and Gender Studies Department. The event is free and open to the public.


    Director and producer Erika Cohn

    Belly of the Beast film screening and discussion with producer/director Erika Cohn


    FRIDAY, APRIL 16 AT 10:00 A.M.

    Join the College of Liberal Arts for a screening of the Belly of the Beast at 10 A.M. followed by a discussion with Erika Cohn, the film's director and producer at 11:30 A.M.

    In this film Kelli Dillon, who was involuntarily sterilized at the age of 24 while incarcerated, teams up with Cynthia Chandler, a human rights lawyer, to fight for reproductive justice at the world’s largest women’s prison, the Central California Women’s Facility. They uncover a wide range of crimes occurring within the facility—from inadequate access to healthcare to sexual assault to illegal sterilization—the latter largely perpetrated against the facility’s Black and Latinx populations. 

    Cohn is a Peabody, Emmy and DGA Award-winning filmmaker recognized by Variety as one of 2017's top documentary filmmakers to watch; she was also featured in DOC NYC's 2019 "40 Under 40." Cohn grew up attending the Sundance Film Festival as a native Utahn, where she first began her career. She studied at Chapman University (California) and Hebrew University (Jerusalem) and has degrees in Film Production, Middle East Studies, and Acting Performance. In 2013, Cohn founded Idle Wild Films, Inc., which has released three feature documentaries and produced numerous branded content and commercial spots. Belly of the Beast is Cohn's third feature-length documentary.

    This event is hosted by the Women and Gender Studies Department.


    Stephanie Shonekan and Keith Jackson

    Addressing Racism and Diversity in Music Institutions Panel


    THURSDAY, APRIL 8 AT 11:10 A.M.

    The Music Department presents a virtual panel discussion titled “Addressing Racism and Diversity in Music Institutions” at 11:10 a.m. Thursday, April 8. The presentation is a continuation of one made in November with guest panelists are Stephanie Shonekan (left), associate dean of the College of Arts and Science and professor of music at the University of Missouri, and Keith Jackson (right), dean of the College of Creative Arts at West Virginia University. Cal Poly Director of Jazz Studies Arthur White will moderate the discussion. “Whether obvious, subversive or unintentional — and for a variety of reasons — racism has long been present in music institutions,” White said. “Recent world and national events have not only given pause to dismissal of discussions related to this issue, but in fact, have proven the necessity for an open and frank discussion about race and diversity in music programs across the country."

    This panel will discuss the realities of racism and experiences in personal careers. It will address why certain literature and pedagogical methods are more pervasive than others and the potential for affecting change through increasing diversity and inclusion. More information on the panelists is available on the Music Department website.


    Allison Monterrosa

    Constrained Choice: Black Women's Romantic Relationships, Intimate Partner Violence and the Impact of the Carceral State with Allison Monterrosa


    MONDAY, MARCH 1 AT 11 A.M.

    Allison Monterrosa is a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department at the University of California Riverside and is a fellow with the American Association of University Women. She currently holds a research assistantship with the African American Policy Forum and the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies. Her areas of specialization are critical criminology, socio-legal studies, medical sociology, decolonial critical race and gender theories. Her research topics include gender-based violence, racialized state violence, intimate partner violence, racial socialization, the health implications of racism and social policy. Allison has worked as a researcher for a mixed method, multi-site study, through the UCR School of Medicine’s Center for Healthy Communities, to explore the influence of racial socialization and cultural pride on children’s early school readiness, health and well-being. Her current research examines the intersections of the carceral state, intimate partner violence and health among Black women with criminal-legal system involvement. As a community-based researcher who centers the experiences of racially marginalized communities, her research emphasizes structural and cultural competence and intersects with community and service work to promote health equity and social justice.

    This talk is presented by the Social Sciences Department and funded by the Diversity Start-up Funds from Dr. Kylie Parrotta, Sociology.


    Dr. Michelle Jackson

    Weight of the World: Award-Winning Writer and Director Michelle Renee Jackson, MDiv, Transforms How We Relate to Enslaved Narratives of African-Americans



    Weight of the World (WOTW) is an American Documentary Theatre anthology series on screen, that reimagines firsthand accounts of African-American survivors of slavery by featuring present-day, racially-diverse, fictional characters and storylines to retell survivors’ stories of enslavement. The original transcripts of the Work Progress Administration (WPA) 1936-1936 federal interviews of formerly enslaved African-Americans constitute these firsthand accounts which not only spotlight stories of the auction block, family separation, assault, depression, hope, courage and faith, they also reveal survivors’ difficult lives after being freed in 1865. Freedom wasn’t a magic bullet. We feature a multiracial cast because there is power in honoring these enslaved narratives together in the same way there is power in protesting racial injustice together. Multiracial casting is also a tool for viewer empathy. 

    Michelle Jackson is the writer and director of “Another Slave Narrative.” Her film reenacts the 1930s WPA interviews of formerly enslaved African-Americans using a multiracial cast. Her film won first place at the African-American Women in Cinema Film Festival and has helped transform viewers’ relationship to the legacy of slavery in America. She is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and UCLA where she studied the intersections of religion, race, gender, and sexuality. After competing as a slam poet in Cambridge, MA, she began screenwriting at Vassar College in 2010. Michelle is a member of Women in Film, Film Independent, and Harvardwood. She is the founder of Simuel + Murray LLC, a black-owned creative services company, which champions black voices in storytelling while generating inclusive, racial justice dialogue nationwide. 

    (Sponsored in part by the Provost as part of the Advancing Faculty Diversity Cluster Hire funding) 


    Dr. Andrew Jolivette

    Black Lives, Indigenous Lives: From Mattering to Thriving with Dr. Andrew Jolivétte 



    Dr. Andrew Jolivétte will give a talk titled “Black Lives, Indigenous Lives: From Mattering to Thriving” as part of the College of Liberal Arts' 5th Annual Social Justice Teach In. This presentation will take place from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 11. This dialogue will examine and discuss major points of cultural and historic community convergence between Black and Indigenous Peoples with a focus on contemporary movements such as Black Lives Matter and Idle No More and the dismantling of racist statues, images and mascots. Andrew Jolivétte will explore what these movements mean for enacting justice interventions and moving towards thrivance circuitry, kinship building, self-determination, and abolition as transformational modes of joy production and ceremonial stewardship. 

    More information on this talk and other sessions included in the Teach In are available on the Teach In website. (Funded in part by the Office of University Diversity and Inclusion)




    Black Lives Matter

    Black Lives Matter

    Read the June 2020 message of solidarity from the College of Liberal Arts.

    As you know, the College of Liberal Arts sees diversity, equity and inclusion as central to our college mission. As such, we invite you to look into the events and resources on this page. We all know that to do better, we need to know better and this is one way we can assist in helping our faculty, staff, and students to gain new knowledge.


    This list of resources is intended to be utilized in support of the #ScholarStrike on September 8-9, 2020. The #ScholarStrike was created by Dr. Anthea Butler, an Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Kevin Gannon, Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Grand View University. This nationwide action has unfolded to address ongoing police violence against unarmed Black people in the U.S.

    This list was compiled by the Cal Poly Ethnic Studies Department to create asynchronous learning options about the urgent issue of anti-Black police violence.

    Online Videos/Webinars 



    • Reveal (Episode: “The Uprising”)
    • Ear Hustle “The daily realities of life inside prison shared by those living it, and stories from the outside, post-incarceration.”
    • 1619 “An audio series on how slavery has transformed America, connecting past and present through the oldest form of storytelling.”


    • Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta (2016). From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation.
    • Camp and Heatherton (2016), Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter.
    • Lamont Hill (2017), Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond.
    • Gilmore (2007), Golden Gulag: Prison, Surplus, Crisis and Opposition in Globalizing California.
    • Wilkerson (2020), Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.
    • Alexander (2012), The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
    • Davis (2003), Are Prisons Obsolete?
    • Ritchie and Davis (2017), Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color.
    • Butler (2018), Choke Hold: Policing Black Men.
    • Khan-Cullors and Bandele (2020), When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.
    • Kendi and Reynolds (2020). Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You. (to read with young readers)


    Web Resources


    Past Events 2020-21

    The Cost of a Revolution: An Evening with Patrisse Cullors and the Family of George Floyd

    ASI Events and the Black Academic Excellence Center present The Cost of a Revolution: An Evening with Patrisse Cullors and the Family of George Floyd. Join us Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. for a keynote speech from Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors and a moderated discussion with Angela Harrelson and Selwyn Jones, George Floyd’s aunt and uncle.


    Recently, in response to incidences of racial violence and police brutality, Dr. Anthea Butler (University of Pennsylvania), and Dr. Kevin Gannon (Grandview University) started #ScholarStrike, asking faculty and staff from around the nation to “strike” on Sept. 8 and 9, or if that isn’t possible, to only do what is necessary for their jobs and spend the rest of their time at #ScholarStrike’s Teach In presented on their YouTube channel or engaging in other educational pursuits relevant to these topics. The #ScholarStrike Facebook page also has up-to-date information.


    Related Content