Robin D.G. Kelley, Nadine Naber @ FDFN, 2014

Past Events

Please see the slideshow below for images from several SJI events.

Past Event Descriptions

2015 Events

Uncivil Rites:Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom

A Book Talk Steven Salaita & Panel Discussion

Steven Salaita Book Talk

In the summer of 2014, renowned American Indian studies professor Steven Salaita had his appointment to a tenured professorship revoked by the board of trustees of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Salaita’s employment was terminated in response to his public tweets criticizing Israeli government policy. Salaita’s case raises important questions about academic freedom, free speech on campus, and the movement for justice in Palestine.

In his new book Uncivil Rites, Salaita combines personal reflection and political critique to shed new light on his controversial termination. He situates his case at the intersection of important issues that affect both higher education and social justice activism. Steven Salaita currently holds the Edward W. Said Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beirut.

Book talk and panel discussion

When: October 12, 2015

Time: 6:00pm- 8:00pm

Location: Student Services Building, Conf. Rooms ABC, 1200 W. Harrison, Chicago, IL

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Black Panther Party Discussion

Thank you for your interest in attending our screening of the Black Panthers:Vanguard of the Revolution. Unfortunately, the screening was sold out. We apologize that you will not be able to attend next week's screening, but hope you will attend the screening on campus in November 2015.

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is a new feature length film by award-winning filmmaker, Stanley Nelson, documenting the impact and significance of one of the most well-known Black Power organizations of the late 1960s and early 70s. Listen below to an interview with film director, Stanley Nelson

Listen below to an interview with film director, Stanley Nelson

August 2015 Summer Film Series: Defining Race. Diagnosing Racism.

2015 Summer Film Series

What is the social, legal, and political history of racism in the United States? How do we even define race? These are critical questions that inform how we understand and talk about these issues today. From the recent controversy about the racial status of a white woman claiming to be black (Rachel Dolezal), to anti-police violence protests in Ferguson, Missouri and dozens of other cities, race continues to be at the center of what defines and divides us as Americans and world citizens. Join us for three thought-provoking documentaries about the social construction of race in the U.S.

When: Wednesdays in August 2015

Time: 6:00pm- 8:00pm (based on length of film)

Location: 1255 S. Halsted | PUJA - Pop Up Just Art Gallery


Facebook and Twitter: #ChicagoSJLens

  • August 12, 2015, “Ethnic Notions". is Marlon Riggs’ Emmy-winning documentary that takes viewers on a disturbing voyage through American history, tracing for the first time the deep-rooted stereotypes which have fueled anti-black prejudice. Through these images we can begin to understand the evolution of racial consciousness in America.
  • August 19, 2015, "The Story We Tell” traces the origins o the racial idea to the European conquest of the New World and to the American slave system - the first ever where all the slaves shared similar physical trails and a common ancestry.
  • August 26, 2015, "The House We Live In," is the first film about race to focus not on individual attitudes and behavior but on the ways our institutions and policies advantage some groups at the expense of others.

2015 Summer Film Series

2015 Summer Film Series at SJI

SJI is hosting a summer film series,Chicago: A Social Justice Lens, throughout the month of July.

The screenings took place every Wednesday from 6:30-8:30pm at PUJA (1255 S Halsted).On Wednesday, July 1, 2015, SJI screened "Hoop Dreams" and had a discussion with Gordon Quinn, Founder and Artistic Director of Kartemquin films.

Chicago Welcomes the Family Members of the 43 Missing Ayotzinapa Students


April 2015: According to a 2012 report, it was estimated that in the United States a Black person was killed by police, security guards, or vigilantes every 28 hours. The accuracy of this statistic has been called into question but the prevalence of police-involved deaths of Black people has been a rallying point for activists and organizers in the wake of Mike Brown's death.

In Ayotzinapa, Mexico 43 student activists went missing on September 26th, 2014. Mexican police have been implicated in their disappearance. The remains of one student have been found, but the whereabouts of the 42 others is still unknown.

These two instances, have incited mass mobilizations in the U.S., Mexico, and other locations globally and raise questions about whose lives matter and what justice looks like when the state is involved in the deaths and disappearances of its own citizens. This exhibit “28, 43” highlights how people have mobilized in response to Ferguson and Ayotzinapa and seeks to make connections between seemingly disparate occurrences.

Dan Geary on the Moynihan Report

April 8th, 2015 @ 3 p.m.

Beyond Civil Rights Book Cover

Fifty years after its publication, "the Moynihan Report" remains a touchstone in contemporary racial politics, cited by President Barack Obama and Congressman Paul Ryan among others. When Americans discuss race, the Moynihan Report remains a vital part of the discussion.

On April 8 at 3pm at UIC's Institute for the Humanities, Daniel Geary, the Mark Pigott Lecturer in American History at Trinity College-Dublin, will speak about the 1965 Report and its reverberating reception throughout the nation. Moynihan's famous report, entitled, "The Negro Family: The Case for National Action," concluded that the persistent nature of black poverty in America was at least partly attributable to the relative absence of nuclear families. Geary's research complicates this typical understanding of the report.

A Changing Back of the Yards: The Growing Latino Population

Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Gallery 400 Lecture Room, 400 South Peoria Street, Chicago, IL, 60607

Panelists, Craig Chico, President & CEO, Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council; Emilio L. Carrasquillo, Neighborhood Director, Neighborhood Housing Services; and Henry Cervantes, Community Organizer, The Resurrection Project; discuss the evolving needs for the growing Latino population in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, and how their organizations have adapted.

Equal-Access City? 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Wednesday March 18, 2015, 12 p.m.- 1:30 p.m.

Gallery 400 Lecture Room, 400 South Peoria Street, Chicago, IL 60607

Panelists, Karen Tamley, Commissioner, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities; Greg Polman, Senior Vice President, Chicago Lighthouse; Robin Ann Jones, Project Director, Great Lakes ADA Center; and Steve Schlickman, Executive Director, UIC Urban Transportation Center, explain the monumental changes the ADA policies brought about, and have a discussion of some of the short comings that could still be improved.

Nobel laureates visit UIC to mark anniversary, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom 100 (WILPF 100)

Nobel Laureates

March 17, 2015: The Social Justice Initiative at UIC welcomed Nobel Peace laureates Leymah Gbowee and Jody Williams to campus Monday to mark the 100th anniversary of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), a group whose first president was social reformer Jane Addams. The nonprofit organization, with 30 international branches that promote women's contributions to global peace efforts, teamed with the Nobel Women's Initiative to sponsor the day-long event at Jane Addams Hull-House Museum on campus.

More than 70 invited community activists, philanthropists, academics, and campus leaders joined the laureates for discussions of gender peace movements around the world and to strategize ways to bring about greater social justice. Gbowee, a 2011 Nobel recipient from Liberia, told the group that the celebration and Addams' legacy as the first U.S. woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize brought two principles to the forefront: human rights and nonviolence. "When Jane Addams started the work that she did, I can just imagine it was not trending," said Gbowee, a peace activist who help end the second Liberian civil war in 2003. "She began the entire conversation of people's rights and that states should pay attention to it." While addressing social justice progress, UIC historian Barbara Ransby reflected on the contemporary efforts of young people. "I am very uplifted by the brilliance, the courage, the determination to really build off the foundation of so many women who began fighting a hundred years ago," said Ransby, director of the UIC Social Justice Initiative. "The spirit and legacy of those fights are very much the ground and foundation in which young women today are not only envisioning a better world, but demanding and making a better world for themselves and their communities."

Those at the conference collaborated to develop a U.S. Peace and Freedom Statement that will be delivered next month during the league's centennial congress at The Hague, Netherlands. Closing remarks were delivered by Williams, the first UIC Social Justice Initiative fellow, who received a Nobel Prize in 1997 for her international campaign to ban land mines. Other speakers included Eric Gislason, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost; Astrida Orle Tantillo, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Steve Everett, dean of the College of Architecture, Design and the Arts; Terry Mazany, Chicago Community Trust president and CEO, Jennifer Scott, director of Hull-House Museum, and Mary Harrison, U.S. Women's International League for Peace and Freedom section president.

Click here for a slideshow of the day

See more at: Nobel laureates visit UIC to mark anniversary

2015 GRACE HOLT LECTURE "New Orleans 10 Years After Hurricane Katrina"

Michael E. Crutcher

2015 Grace Holt Lecture

Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 4:00 P.M.

Institute for the Humanities, Stevenson Hall, 701 South Morgan St.


The Department of African American Studies sponsors an annual speaker series and award fund in commemoration of Grace Sims Holt, Professor Emeritus and founder of UIC's Black Studies Program, later to become this department. Professor Holt joined UIC in 1968 as an Associate Professor of Speech and Communications tasked with establishing the campus Black Studies Program, which she headed from 1974 to 1986. In addition, Professor Holt helped gain recognition for black English as an object of study and consistently pushed for maintaining high levels of standards for students that allowed for alternative evidences of accomplishment.

Grace Holt Lecture

Please join the Department of African American Studies for their annual presentation of the Grace Holt Lecture. This year features independent scholar Dr. Michael E. Crutcher, Jr. who will be presenting "New Orleans 10 Years After Hurricane Katrina."

Begando Keynote Lecture Series: Dorothy Roberts

Mistreating Health Inequities: Race, Medicine, and Justice

Dorothy Roberts Lecture

March 12, 2015, 4:00 p.m.

SCE, 750 S. Halsted, Rm. 302

About the Presenter: Dorothy Roberts, an acclaimed scholar of race, gender and the law, joined the University of Pennsylvania as its 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology and the Law School where she also holds the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mosell Alexander chair.

Her pathbreaking work in law and public policy focuses on urgent contemporary issues in health, social justice, and bioethics, especially as they impact the lives of women, children and African-Americans. Her major books include Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century (New Press, 2011); Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Books, 2002), and Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Pantheon, 1997). She is the author of more than 80 scholarly articles and book chapters, as well as a co-editor of six books on such topics as constitutional law and women and the law.

CO-SPONSORS: College of Medicine Urban Health Program, College of Nursing, Disability and Human Development, Disability Resource Center, Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, School of Public Health

Chicago Police Torture Teach In: Burge and Beyond

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 4-6 p.m.

Chicago Police Torture Teach In

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 800 S. Halsted

Co-Sponsored by Chicago Torture Justice Memorials & the Social Justice Initiative.

Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM) aims to honor and to seek justice for the survivors of Chicago police torture, their family members and the African American communities affected by the torture. In 2010 CTJM, a group of attorneys, artists, educators, and social justice activists, put out a call for speculative memorials to recall and honor the two-decades long struggle for justice waged by torture survivors and their families, attorneys, community organizers, and people from every neighborhood and walk of life in Chicago. This effort culminated in a major exhibition of 75 proposals and a year-long series of associated teach-ins, roundtables, and other public events in 2011-2013.CTJM now turns its attention to a campaign for reparations for those affected by Chicago Police torture, and to working in solidarity with other groups and individuals for racial justice and to end police violence and mass incarceration.

For more information, please go to

Not One More!

Not One More Event

Heal the wounds of youth criminalization and police brutality. January 27th, 2015, 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. @ the Jane Addams Hull House Museum Dining Hall, 800 S. Halsted. Youth ages 14-20 highly encouraged to attend. Must RSVP to

"28, 43" A Photographic Exhibition

'28, 43' Exhibit Flyer

Please join us for the exhibit's opening reception on January 20, 2015, from 5:30-8:00pm at the PUJA gallery now located at 1338 S. Halsted.

According to a 2012 report, it was estimated that in the United States a Black person was killed by police, security guards, or vigilantes every 28 hours. The accuracy of this statistic has been called into question but the prevalence of police-involved deaths of Black people has been a rallying point for activists and organizers in the wake of Mike Brown's death.

In Ayotzinapa, Mexico 43 student activists went missing on September 26th, 2014. Mexican police have been implicated in their disappearance. The remains of one student have been found, but the whereabouts of the 42 others is still unknown.

These two instances, have incited mass mobilizations in the U.S., Mexico, and other locations globally and raise questions about whose lives matter and what justice looks like when the state is involved in the deaths and disappearances of its own citizens. This exhibit “28, 43” highlights how people have mobilized in response to Ferguson and Ayotzinapa and seeks to make connections between seemingly disparate occurrences.

Reclaim MLK Day Teach-In

Reclaim Martin Luther King, Jr. Event

January 15, 2015: Join graduate students from UIC Department of History on the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, to consider the lessons of history. How has the history of the Black Freedom Movement been sanitized and co-opted by popular culture, the state, and neo-liberal institutions? What are the political ramifications of historical memory (and silences in that memory)? Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 12:00p.m.

Twitter Town Hall on Selma

Flyer for Selma Twitter Townhall

On January 10, 2015, activists, scholars and historians gathered on Twitter for #Selma2Ferguson, a national digital forum on the fictional Selma, the real Selma, lessons from struggles in Ferguson and beyond. Participants shared information, thoughts and ideas on the top down views of Black history, linked the past to the present movements and weighed in on racism, sexism and movement building then & now.

With over 1,928 Tweets with 1,793 contributors the conversation reached over 2 MILLION Twitter users.

Featured Tweeters included:

Barbara Ransby @BarbaraRansby Robin D.G. Kelley @RobinDGKelley

G, Zoharah Simmons @GZoharah Brittney Cooper @ProfessorCrunk

Rosa Clemente @rosaclemente Mariame Kaba @prisonculture

Donna Murch @murchnik Alondra Nelson @Alondra

Jasson Perez @IolaEllaAsha Rosa @ashapoesis

Page May @May20pGary Younge @garyyounge

Along with the Selma town hall, Barbara Ransby was interviewed by the UIC paper. Click on the link below to see the article.

Is historical fiction of Selma true to history?

Community Conversation: Ayotzinapa & Ferguson, Education, Privatization, Militarization & Mobilization

November 14, 2014 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., PUJA, 729 W. Maxwell Street.

Events in Ferguson and in Ayotzinapa, Mexico have brought state violence against people of color to the forefront. The police repression of protestors in Missouri and Mexico have also demonstrated the extent of the criminalization of dissent. Despite the fact that authorities wish these two events would fade, they have sparked important social mobilization. Currently, PUJA is hosting the last days of the Chicagoaxaca: Militarization / Mobilization exhibit and we would like to have a community conversation around these issues. The "Justicia en Ayotzinapa Comité Chicago" has been doing vigils every Friday night in the plaza on the corner of Blue Island and 18th as an act of witnessing, resistance, and education on what is happening in Mexico. Come to hear about and learn what is happening in Mexico.

Evento comunitario en la Universidad de Illinois at Chicago. 729 W Maxwell Street a las 630. Ahí nos vemos!

Co-Sponsored by Justicia en Ayotzinapa Comité Chicago & UIC Social Justice Initiative & The UIC Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy

2014 Events

Forum on Ferguson

On December 1, 2014 a forum on Ferguson was held at UIC co-sponsored by SJI, African American Studies, the Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Blacks, Gender and Women's Studies, the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement, Insititute for Research on Race and Public Policy, and the Jane Addams Hull- House. Below is a bibliography and resource list of articles and events that were mentioned at the Forum.

UIC Middle East and Muslim Societies Cluster

"Palestinian Citizens of Israel: Between History and the Present”

Areej Sabbagh-Khoury, Tel Aviv University & Mada Al-Carmel

Monday, November 17, 2014

Beginning in the mid-1990s, political discourse among Palestinian citizens of Israel underwent two important shifts. First, the events of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe that coincided with the foundation of Israel, became more prominent. Second, Palestinians expanded their efforts to demand that Israel become a “state for all of its citizens.” During the same period, the Israeli state has initiated a range of new policies that negatively impact its Palestinian minority citizens.

Areej Sabbagh-Khoury completed her PhD in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University. Since 2002, she has been a research fellow at Mada Al-Carmel: Arab Center for Applied Social Research in Haifa. Areej has written several articles and book chapters and co-edited with Nadim Rouhana: The Palestinians in Israel: A Guide to History, Politics, and Society. Her research analyzes the settlement of Marj Ibn ‘Amr (Jezreel Valley) by the leftist Zionist party of Hashomer Hatzair. Areej is currently on a speaking tour organized by the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC).

Sponsored by: UIC Middle East and Muslim Societies Cluster, Palestinian American Research Center (PARC), UIC Students for Justice in Palestine, UIC International Studies Program and Asian American Studies Program, UIC Social Justice Initiative, UIC Departments of Political Science and Sociology

Power Plays: Addressing Gender, Domestic Violence, and Race in the NFL

Thursday, November 13, 2014, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Beth Richie and the NFL: Beth Richie, Professor of African American studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, Criminology, Law and Justice and Sociology, and Director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy was recently hired as senior advisor by the NFL. She joins a panel working on drafting new domestic violence education and prevention policy, service programming, and revising the currently NFL personal conduct policy. Richie has worked extensively on the ways race/ethnicity and social position affect women's experience of violence and incarceration, focusing on the experiences of African American battered women and sexual assault survivors.  She is also the author of the books “Compelled to Crime: the Gender Entrapment of Black Battered Women” and “Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence and America’s Prison Nation.”

Want to End Sexual Violence on Your Campus? A Chicago Listening Forum

Students Active for Ending Rape

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EST)

Do you want to end sexual violence on your campus? Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER) wants to hear what's happening on your campus. Join SAFER and students from DePaul, UChicago, and UIC for a discussion about how well you think your school is responding to sexual assault and the current climate on your campus.

Join us Tuesday 11/4/14 at DePaul University! 1 East Jackson Boulevard, DePaul Club (11th Floor) 7:00-8:00 pm, pizza provided!

Co-hosted with the UIC Campus Advocacy Network, Building Communities, Ending Violence, WGS Newsletter - Depaul University

2014 SJI Fall Welcome Reception

Click to see a slideshow that contains a selection of photos from SJI's 2014 Fall Welcome Reception.

VOICES Lecture: Hank Willis Thomas in conversation with Barbara Ransby.

Real Time Chicago Lecture Series: Youth Entrepreneurship

October 29, 2014 @ 12-1:30 p.m.

CUPPA Hall, 412 S. Peoria St.

"Criminal Queers" film screening featuring Chris Vargas and Eric Stanley

Thursday, October 16, 2014 @ 6:00 p.m.

Gallery 400 Lecture Room, 400 S. Peoria Street, Chicago, IL 60607

Co-Sponsored by SJI.

Rajiv Gandhi to Narendra Modi: Impunity in India for Mass Violence

PUJA Gallery, 729 Maxwell, Chicago, IL 60607

Rajiv Gandhi Event

Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.

After receiving the largest ever electoral mandate, Rajiv Gandhi was found to be blameless for the slaughter of 3,000 Sikhs on his watch in the Capital of India. A similar charade of subverting the criminal justice system under a shroud of legal platitudes laid the ground for Modi's elevation this year to prime minister despite the killing of over 1,000 Muslims on his watch in Gujarat.

Manoj Mitta is the only author to have written books on the two most egregious instances of mass violence and impunity in post-colonial India. In 2007, he co-authored a book on the violence targeting Sikhs, When a Tree Shook Delhi: The 1984 Carnage and its Aftermath. Earlier this year, Mitta came out with a book on the 2002 Gujarat violence targeting Muslims, titled The Fiction of Fact-Finding: Modi and Godhra. A senior editor with The Times of India, the largest circulated English newspaper in the country, Mitta writes on legal, human rights and public policy issues.

Education for Liberation:

Building Community through Popular Education & Arts-Based Dialogue in Chicago.

October 8, 2014, 6:00 p.m.

Pop Up JUST Art (PUJA) Gallery, 729 Maxwell St., Chicago, IL 60607

“Now What?” – Politics, Culture and Social Media

Monday, June 23, 2014, 6:30-8:00

Washington Park Arts Incubator, 301 E. Garfield Blvd., Chicago, IL 60637

How has Twitter fueled movements like presidential campaigns and #BlackTwitter? For the second edition of the Illinois Humanities Council's Now What? conversation series, Obama for America Chief Technical Officer Harper Reed and Dr. Kimberly C. Ellis author of the upcoming book, The Bombastic Brilliance of Black Twitter, join Illinois Humanities Council Director Angel Ysaguirre June 23 for a conversation on how businesses, governments and individuals are using social media to shape culture.

Event is FREE to the public, though reservations are required. Reservations can be made by visiting or emailing:

UIC Feminist Film Series: Hosted by Dr. Sekile Nzinga-Johnson & GWS

A series of film documentary screenings that will engage students on issues of sexual violence, community responses, restorative justice, envisioning a feminist future, and more. Nights of critical conversations, dialogue, and sharing of resources. Pizza and soft drinks will be served. Join us in learning about feminism and social change.

April 22nd & April 23, 2014 at Latino Cultural Center (B2)

April 24th and April 25th* at Pop Up JUST Art (PUJA) gallery at 729 S. Maxwell St.

(Both spaces are accessible)

*Film Screenings 5:30pm-8:00pm*

April 22nd - The Women of Brukman

April 23rd - No! The Rape Documentary

April 24th -Tales of the Night Fairies

April 25th - Born in Flames

UIC Feminist Film Series: Hosted by Dr. Sekile Nzinga-Johnson

*Co-Sponsors: Women's Leadership Resource Center (WLRC), Campus Advocacy Network (CAN), UIC Social Justice Initiative and Gender & Women Studies(GWS)

Hip-Hop Communiversity

Hip-Hop Communiversity event with Cathy Cohen and No Name Gypsy on April 23, 2014 at 5:30 PM in EPASW L285 that SJI and IPSE co-sponsored

The Syrian Uprising Three Years On: Regime, Opposition, Outsiders

with Professor Bassam Haddad and Discussant, Atef Said, Visiting Faculty, Department of Sociology, UIC

Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 5:00 pm

401 University Hall at University of Illinois at Chicago

Bassam Haddad is the Director of the Middle East Studies Program, George Mason University; co-founder and Editor of the renowned on-line magazine Jadaliyya; executive director of the Arab Studies Institute; and founding editor of the Arab Studies Journal. Professor Haddad is author of Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2011) and co-editor of Dawn on the Arab Uprisings: End of an Old Order?: Mediating the Arab Uprisings and Teaching the Middle East after the Arab Uprisings (forthcoming). He is also the Director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad, and director of the critically acclaimed film series, Arabs and Terrorism, and the film, The “Other” Threat, on Arab/Muslim immigrants in Europe.

Organized by: UIC Asian Studies Program and Asian American Studies Program. Co-Sponsored by: UIC's Office of International Affairs, Department of Sociology, Department of History, Social Justice Initiative, Gender and Women's Studies Program,Global Health Initiative, Diaspora Cluster, International Studies, and Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy

Cambodian Son

The Asian American Studies and Asian Studies Programs present, A Studio Revolt Film Screening of Masahiro Sugano's "Cambodian Son"

Cambodian Son Movie Poster

Winner of the "Best 2014 Documentary" from the Center for Asian American Media, Cambodian Son (2013, 90 minutes) documents the life of deported poet, Kosal Khiev after receiving the most important performance invitation of his career—to represent the Kingdom of Cambodia at the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Kosal would travel to London having only taken two flights prior; first, as a 1-year-old refugee child whose family fled Cambodia and, then as a 32-year-old criminal “alien” forcibly returned to Cambodia in 2011. Armed only with memorized verses, he must face the challenges of being a deportee while navigating his new fame as Phnom Penh’s premiere poet. After the performances end and the London stage becomes a faint memory, Kosal is once again left alone to answer the central question in his life: “How do you survive when you belong nowhere?”

Masahiro Sugano holds an MFA in film, video and digital animation from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Cambodian Son is presented as part of the “Migrations, (Dis)placements, and Resistance Film Series" organized by Asian American Studies and Asian Studies at UIC and co-sponsored by the UIC AANAPISI Initiative, Gallery 400, The Social Justice Initiative, and The Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy.

April 14, 2014, 3-5 pm

Gallery 400, 400 South Peoria Street

3:00pm-4:30pm – Cambodian Son, 2013, 90 minutes

4:30pm-5:00pm – Q&A with Masahiro Sugano

5:00pm-6:00pm – Reception

For more information, contact:

Additional Links:

Film: "Red Ant Dream" on the revolutionary struggle in India.

Date: March 20, 2014

Filmmaker: Sanjay Kak

Screen time: 120 min.

The third in a cycle of films that interrogate the workings of Indian democracy, Red Ant Dream (2013) follows Jashn-e-Azadi (2007) about the idea of freedom for Kashmir, and Words on Water (2002) about the people’s movement against large dams in the Narmada valley.

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. to Speak at UIC

March 17, 2014

12:30 reception, 1:00 – 2:00 Lecture

UIC Student Center East – The Illinois Room, 750 S. Halsted

Rev. Jackson is a legendary civil rights leader who has advised Presidents, conferred with heads of state, and stood at the helm of some of the largest mobilizations of the mid-20th century.  Rev. Jackson worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the early 1960s and later served as one of the leaders of the Poor People’s Crusade. As leader of Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) since 1971, Rev. Jackson has been a highly visible advocate for social, economic and racial justice and for peace. He has received numerous awards and recognitions; most notably in 2000 he was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest honor bestowed upon a civilian, by President Bill Clinton.

Please join us in a conversation with Chicago’s own, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., who will reflect on his long and varied career, and the state of justice movements today, especially with regard to peace, poverty, prisons and education – some of the unfinished agenda items of the Civil Rights Movement Era.

Teachers for Social Justice

Maestra, a film by Catherine Murphy

Cuba 1961: 250,000 taught 700,000 people to read in one year.100,000 of teachers were under 18 years old. MAESTRA explores this story and the process.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Social Justice Initiative, Pop Up Just Art Gallery (PUJA), 729 W. Maxwell St.


Film provides subtitles. Film screening will be followed by discussion.

Charles Ogletree, Jr.

Wednesday March 12, 2014 @ 3:00p.m.

The UIC Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy Presents-The Annual Phillip J. Bowman Lecture, Part of the Chancellor's Lecture and Event Series

"While lynching's are a relic of the past, the racial discrimination that motivated them retains a stranglehold on today's criminal justice system."

About the Speaker: Charles Ogletree, Jr.

Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. is a prominent legal theorist who has earned an international reputation by taking a hard look at complex issues of law and by working to secure the rights guaranteed by the Constitution for everyone equally under the law. His most recent book is "The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Race, Class and Crime in America," which draws on the 2009 mistaken arrest of Gates to explore issues of race and what must be done to create a more just legal system.

About the Phillip J. Bowman Lecture

This lecture has been established to honor Phillip J. Bowman’s contributions to UIC during his tenure as Director of IRRPP and Professor of African American Studies. It features national scholars of race, ethnicity, and public policy who provide timely analysis of issues that are critical to the field and to communities of color.

UIC Student Center East Room 302


STARVATION POLITICS Women, Race, and Gender in the ‘Discovery’ of Hunger in America

A lecture by Dr. Laurie Green, Associate Professor at the University of Texas, Austin

The ‘discovery’ of hunger by Robert F. Kennedy and other senators in the Mississippi Delta in 1967 set off a decade of turmoil about the very existence, the causes, and federal solutions to what a team of doctors termed starvation. The media then and historical accounts now focus on Kennedy’s role, obscuring the pressure preceding the visit by women prominent in the Black Freedom Movement such as Fannie Lou Hamer and Marian Wright [Edelman]. Professor Green’s lecture will challenge this representation of the struggle as one centered on white politicians, while also exploring the gendered and racialized politics that represented hunger as a Mississippi problem, even after independent investigators had identified similar crises among poor whites, Latinos and Native Americans.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 3:30pm-5:30pm

University of Illinois at Chicago, University Hall Room 950

Great Cities, Great Schools: Education and Civil Rights in the 21st Century" Pedro Noguera

Monday, March 3, 2014 6:30 p.m.

Dr. Pedro Noguera:Dr. Pedro Noguera is the Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education at New York University. Dr. Noguera is a sociologist whose scholarship and research focuses on the ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions and the factors that obstruct and promote student achievement. He holds tenured faculty appointments in the departments of Teaching and Learning and Humanities and Social Sciences at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Development at NYU. Dr. Noguera is also the executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education and co-director of the Institute for the Study of Globalization and Education in Metropolitan Settings (IGEMS). In 2008, he was appointed by the Governor of New York to serve on the State University of New York Board of Trustees.

Urban schools have been in a perpetual state of reform for more than thirty years, yet many schools in our major cities continue to struggle. Is something wrong with the approach we have taken? If so, what? WBEZ Reporter, Linda Lutton, will interview Professor Pedro Noguera on the lessons we should learn from these costly efforts and what might be a better direction for the future.

Linda Lutton: WBEZ education reporter Linda Lutton covers schools, education and issues affecting youth. Prior to joining WBEZ in 2008, Linda worked as a freelance reporter and radio producer in Michoacán, Mexico and previously as lead education reporter at the Daily Southtown. Linda’s reporting has appeared in the Chicago Reader, In These Times, Education Week, the Chicago Tribune, and others. She has contributed radio reports to This American Life, NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, The World, and Marketplace.

This event is free and open to the public. To request disability accomodations, please contact Christiana Kinder, Great Cities Institute, (312) 996-8700.

Opening Exhibits: "Stainlessness" and "Chicagoaxaca"

Join the UIC Social Justice Initiative for the opening reception of two concurrent printmaking exhibitions "Stainlessness" and "Chicagoaxaca" at Art In These Times (Art ITT), 2040 N. Milwaukee Ave. on February 12, 2014 from 6pm-8:30pm.

The exhibitions will be on view from January 17 – March 21, 2014.

Chicagoaxaca: Selections from The Assembly of Revolutionary curated by Ivan Arenas: In 2006, the repression of a teacher’s strike in Oaxaca, Mexico resulted in a grassroots social movement that held the city for six months.

Join the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum for a Polyrhythmic Experimental Soup Lunch and Conversation

Legendary AACM Musician Kahil El’Zabar & Filmmaker Dwayne Johnson-Cochran, whose film Be Known premieres in Chicago this week.

12:30-1:30 PM Tuesday, January 28, 2015

Co-Sponsored by the UIC School of Art & Art History (, UIC Social Justice Initiative, The Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council, UIC African American Cultural Center

Free Soup and Bread and even more Free Dialogue and Music!

Kahil El'Zabar is a jazz multi-instrumentalist, percussionist and composer. He joined the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the early 1970s, and became its chairman in 1975. During the 1970s, he formed the musical groups Ritual Trio and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, both of which remain active. Musicians with whom Kahil EL'Zabar has collaborated include Dizzie Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and Cannonball Adderley.


2014, Dwayne Johnson-Cochran, USA, 94 min.

January 2015: The extraordinary art of Kahil El’Zabar, often called modern jazz’s “best-kept secret,” is explored through the lens of his complicated personal life while on tour. Filmmaker Johnson-Cochran, a long-time friend, has a ringside seat to astonishing performances, after-show liaisons, and mentoring sessions with kids of all ages that showcaseEl’Zabar as a powerfully talented teacher. BE KNOWN captures the quicksilver charisma and the fumbles and flaws of a man who attracts many, and some of the great avant-garde jazz sets of our time. DCP digital. (BS)

Film Screenings at the Siskel Film Center(

2014 Events

Eyes on The Prize Movie Series: Ain't Gonna Shuffle No More (1964-72)

Monday, March 30th, 2014

A call to pride and a renewed push for unity galvanize black America. World heavyweight champion Cassius Clay challenges America to accept him as Muhammad Ali, a minister of Islam who refuses to fight in Vietnam. Students at Howard University in Washington, D.C., fight to bring the growing black consciousness movement and their African heritage inside the walls of this prominent black institution. Black elected officials and community activists organize the National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana, in an attempt to create a unified black response to growing repression against the movement.

Eyes on The Prize Movie Series: The Promised Land (1967-68)

Monday, March 23rd, 2014

Martin Luther King stakes out new ground for himself and the rapidly fragmenting civil rights movement. One year before his death, he publicly opposes the war in Vietnam. His Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) embarks on an ambitious Poor People's Campaign. In the midst of political organizing, King detours to support striking sanitation workers in Memphis, where he is assassinated. King's death and the failure of his final campaign mark the end of a major stream of the movement.

Eyes on The Prize Movie Series: Power! (1966-68)

Monday, March 17th, 2014

The call for Black Power takes various forms across communities in black America. In Cleveland, Carl Stokes wins election as the first black mayor of a major American city. The Black Panther Party, armed with law books, breakfast programs, and guns, is born in Oakland. Substandard teaching practices prompt parents to gain educational control of a Brooklyn school district but then lead them to a showdown with New York City's teachers' union.

Eyes on The Prize Movie Series: Mississippi: Is This America? (1963-1964)

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Mississippi's grass-roots civil rights movement becomes an American concern when college students travel south to help register black voters and three activists are murdered. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party challenges the regular Mississippi delegation at the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City.

Eyes on The Prize Movie Series: No Easy Walk (1961-1963)

Monday, February 17th, 2014

The civil rights movement discovers the power of mass demonstrations as the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. emerges as its most visible leader. Some demonstrations succeed; others fail. But the triumphant March on Washington, D.C., under King's leadership, shows a mounting national support for civil rights. President John F. Kennedy proposes the Civil Rights Act.

Eyes on The Prize Movie Series: Ain't Scared of Your Jails (1960-1961)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Black college students take a leadership role in the civil rights movement as lunch counter sit-ins spread across the South. "Freedom Riders" also try to desegregate interstate buses, but they are brutally attacked as they travel.

Eyes on The Prize Movie Series: Fighting Back (1957-1962)

Monday, February 3, 2014

States' rights loyalists and federal authorities collide in the 1957 battle to integrate Little Rock's Central High School, and again in James Meredith's 1962 challenge to segregation at the University of Mississippi. Both times, a Southern governor squares off with a U.S. president, violence erupts -- and integration is carried out.

Women’s Leadership and Resource Center and Campus Advocacy Network

Friday, January 30, 2014,1:00 pm to 3:00pm

Join friends and staff of the WLRC/CAN as we celebrate the beginning of another semester!! Come learn more about our mission, goals, programs, services, and opportunities that we offer. This is a great time to meet like-minded individuals, students groups, or causes that aim to make a safe and inclusive campus for everyone.

Awakenings (1954-1956)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Individual acts of courage inspire black Southerners to fight for their rights: Mose Wright testifies against the white men who murdered young Emmett Till, and Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama.

2013 Events

From Oaxaca to Chicago: The Criminalization and Militarization of Black and Brown Communities

Dec. 4, 2013, 5:30PM, PUJA, 729 W. Maxwell St.

From Chicago to Oaxaca to Palestine and beyond, the criminalization of immigrants crossing borders, movements seeking social justice, and the militarization of streets and communities has produced segregated zones where suspicion and fear are the norm. While governments see more police and surveillance as a way to secure streets and bodies, in all of these sites people have organized and mobilized in the search for community safety.

Roundtable speakers include:

  • Lulú Martínez is a student and activist at UIC. As co-founder of the Immigrant Youth Justice League, she has worked tirelessly to transform and challenge U.S. federal immigration policy, practices, and the discourse of immigrant legality/illegality.
  • Patrisia Macias-Rojas is a sociologist at UIC who has investigated the convergence of immigration and criminal law within U.S.-Mexico border enforcement for the last ten years.
  • Andy Clarno is a sociologist at UIC who is currently working on a book exploring the impact of walled enclosures and the politics of security in Johannesburg and Jerusalem.
  • Joaquín Chavez is an historian at UIC whose practical and scholarly work centers on the revolutionary social movement of El Salvador and peace and reconciliation efforts across the globe.
  • Ronak Kapadia is a cultural theorist at UIC who works on the intersection of the logics and tactics of U.S. counterinsurgency and critical art practices.

Inaugural Hot Topics @PUJA

Hot Topics at SJI about Syria

On August 24 and 28 tens of thousands of people marched the streets of Washington D.C. to remember the Civil Rights Movement and a man who was militantly non-violent. The dual prongs of King’s unfinished agenda were the fights against war and poverty. It is the former commitment, to a world without wars, that has been invoked this past week as President Obama goes to Congress to request approval for a limited military action in response to the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians.

These actions and impending actions raise many fundamental questions about justice. Is there such a thing as a “just war?” Will U.S. intervention make things better or worse? How do issues of gender fit into this scenario? How has the framing of the debate been useful or problematic? What does it mean to be a ‘world citizen’ when heads of the state go to war? Does this crisis resemble Iraq, Rwanda or Kosovo and what are the implications? And finally, (historians’ cringe at this questions) – what might Dr. King say if he were here today?

Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene's Multi-media one-woman Show

November 23, 2013, 7PM, PUJA @ 729 W. Maxwell St.

"GUAVA, Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene's multi-media one-woman show, seamlessly blends Nigerian Dyke holy texts, poems, dreams, heartbeats + dance while candidly exploring queer African sexuality and the multiple ways immigrants and children of immigrants create home."

Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene is an Ijaw and Urhobo Nigerian dyke performance activist, poet, dancer, essayist, playwright, actress, video blogger and mixed media visual artist who was born with a mouth full of dynamite and sugarcane. She uses her poetry to chisel a verbal sculpture of her soul for listeners while addressing issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, war, imperialism, love, self-esteem and family. Etaghene has self-published three collections of poetry, toured nationally and performed in over 30 u.s. cities. She was interviewed by and was a Contributing Writer to None on Record: Stories of Queer Africa, a sound documentary project that collects the stories of QLGBT Africans from the African Continent and the Diaspora. She has toured nationally with her multi-media one-woman show, Volcano’s Birthright{s}. Etaghene is a mixed-media visual artist who has produced 4 solo art exhibitions. In June 2012, Etaghene founded Sugarcane, an LGBTQ Of Color writing workshop based in the principles of June Jordan’s Poetry for the People.

Etaghene has written and directed 2 poem videos (“The First Time” [2010] and “i deserve somebody” [2011]) that marry film, poetry and music. Etaghene has self-published 3 chapbooks of poetry: afrocrown: fierce poetry (2000), write or die (2004) and tongue twisted transcontinental sista (2006.) She independently released an album of poetry and music entitled liberty avenue, nigeria, usa (2004.) She has shared stages with Amina Baraka, Bonfire Madigan, Sharon Bridgforth, Staceyann Chin, climbing poeTree, Invincible, Las Krudas, DJ Kuttin Kandi, Lenelle Moïse, DJ Moni, Queen GodIs, Ongina Ryan, Hanifah Walidah & innumerable other brilliant magic-makers.

LALS Brown Bag: The Politics of Culture: Competing Aesthetics of the City in Oaxaca, Mexico

Ivan Arenas, Visiting Scholar in Residence Institute for Research on Race & Public Policy Social Justice Initiative

Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 12:00 to 1:30 p.m.

University of Illinois at Chicago, Room 1550 University Hall, 601 S. Morgan Street, Chicago, IL 60607

"The Black Jacobins & the Long Haitian Revolution: Archives, Historiography, and the writings of Revolution” by Tony Bogues

Oct 28, 2013, 4pm

UIC Institute for the Humanities, Lower Level of Stevenson Hall 701 South Morgan Street, Chicago IL, 60607

Past Events Media

Click on the titles of the events below to see the flyers, photos, and/or vidoes from SJI's past events. The media will pop up in a different window.

2015 Events

~ 2015 Summer Film Series, July 2015

2014 Events

~ The Politics of Culture

~ Grand Opening of Chicagoxaca Exhibit, October 22, 2014"

~ Education for Liberation: Building Community for Popular Education & Arts Based Dialogue in Chicago, Oct. 8th, 2014 at UIC

~ Watch the video from VOICES Lecture: Hank Willis Thomas in conversation with Barbara Ransby, Sept. 17, 2014 at UIC

~ Quilting Our Freedom Dreams, July 28, 2014 at UIC

~ Ella Baker Institute, July 11-16, 2014 at UIC

~ Freedom Dreams Freedom Now at UIC Student Center West, May 28-30, 2014 @UIC

~ Save the Date: Freedom Dreams Freedom Now

~ Are We Tweeting For Our Lives? May 21, 2014

~ Direct Action: A Feminist Film Series: Born In Flames, May 21, 2014

~ Direct Action: A Feminist Film Series:Tales of the Night Fairies, May 21, 2014

~ Freedom Schools, Freedom Dreams: Teaching and Learning Freedom, May 7, 2014

~ Illuminating the Power and the Limits of the Vote: Then & Now, April 17, 2014

~ Cambodian Son

~ Zona Abierta

~ Resistance to Mass Incaceration

~ Rev. Jesse Jackson at UIC, March 17, 2014

~ Women's History Month Lecture: Starvation Politics, March 5, 2014

~ Great Cities, Great Schools: A Conversation with Pedro Noguera, March 3, 2014

2013 Events

~ One Woman Show: F.L.Y.

~ Urban Youth, Violence, and Trauma: A Health and Social Justice Response, March 14, 2013

~ The Practice of Freedom & Movement Building: Tony Bogues, 2013

~ Hot Topics 2: Syria, 2013

~ Inaugural Hot Topics: Syria & Dr. King's Anti-war Politics, 2013

2012 Events

~ How Much is a Life Worth? Discussion

Listen to audio from "Building Peace in our Communities and the World: Key Ingredient JUSTICE" October 2012

~ Opening of PUJA Exhibition: What is a Life Worth? February 22, 2012