MTSU’s campus community will have an outdoor fair and a panel discussion to highlight ways people can engage in social activism safely.
“Communities Surviving Together: Communicating and Working for Social and Racial Justice During a Pandemic” is a two-part event that will begin with the fair from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, on the Student Union Commons, 1768 MTSU Blvd.
Both on-campus and off-campus organizations will be available to provide resources and information about working for social justice, racial justice and well-being during times of crisis.
“We want to hear from students: what challenges have they faced, and what has brought them hope? How do they plan to make a difference?” said Roberta Chevrette, an assistant professor of communication studies.
The fair and the panel discussion are part of MT Engage Week, a celebration of an MTSU program designed to implement high-impact teaching strategies to get students more involved in educational experiences. This year marks the program’s five-year anniversary.
As part of the fair, students also will have the opportunity to participate in an interactive ribbon installation that will enable them to record their experiences of living through a pandemic. The installation was designed by the Student Art Alliance.
Following the fair, five experts will participate in a panel discussion on the title topic from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Room 104 of the Academic Classroom Building, 1751 MTSU Blvd. The event will also be livestreamed at https://mtsu.edu/live. The participants will be:
• Andrae Crismon, director of the Volunteer Lawyers Program of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, who will address legal issues affecting the lives of low-income people and COVID-19 resources;
• Joseph Gutierrez, executive director of Asian Pacific Islander-Middle Tennessee, who will speak about anti-Asian hate and violence against Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities;
• Rep. Harold Love Jr., state representative for District 58, which includes part of Davidson County, who will address the pandemic’s impacts on Nashville communities and the role of local government in dealing with that issue;
• Chandra Story, an associate professor in the MTSU Department of Health and Human Performance and member of the Tennessee Health Care and Disparity Task Force, who will discuss health inequities in relation to the pandemic;
• Joyce Washington, a social justice advocate from the Weakley County Reconciliation Project and Black Lives Matter of Martin, Tennessee, who will speak about anti-racism education and organizing for racial justice.
“The panel of expert speakers who hold a variety of community roles was selected in order to illustrate the wide scope of social justice issues that have been illuminated as well as intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chevrette.
Events were designed in collaboration with the departments of Communication Studies and Social Work. They are co-sponsored by the departments of Global Studies and Human Geography, History, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Sociology and Anthropology; the colleges of Behavioral and Health Sciences and Liberal Arts; the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, the Office of International Affairs, the James E. Walker Library; the Africana Studies Program; the Asian Student Association and MT Engage.
Both events are free and open to the public. Masks and appropriate distancing will be required inside all university buildings.
A campus parking map is available at https://bit.ly/MTSUParking. Off-campus visitors can obtain a one-day permit at http://www.mtsu.edu/parking/visit.php, park in the university’s Rutherford Boulevard Lot, and ride the Raider Xpress shuttle to their events’ locations.
For more information, contact Natalie Hoskins, an assistant professor of communication studies, at 615-898-2939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Gina K. Logue (email@example.com)