The Social Justice Academy (SJA)

The Social Justice Academy will help expand students’ tool kits in identifying and addressing systems of oppression so they might recognize and utilize their own capital to help bring about positive change.

Using the tools of reflection, introspection, analysis, and action SJA workshops will:

  • Invite students to deepen their approach to social justice work
  • Help students to locate themselves in the work
    • Provide context, foundation, and an entry-point for students who are new to the work
    • For students with prior advocacy work, connect those experiences with work to be done at Emerson and beyond
  • Build on students’ strengths and talents and experiences so they might channel their energy into action
  • Build a community of social justice practitioners at Emerson who will engage and mobilize in social change
  • Promote radical self-care as critical to successful social justice activism

2024 Social Justice Academy

Theme: The Gender Unicorn

Join Emerson Intercultural and the PrideFund for the 2024 Social Justice Academy, where meaningful dialogue meets actionable change. We are honored to announce The Theater Offensive as our esteemed keynote guests, adding depth and insight to our discussions. Over the course of the week, we will explore the theme of “The Gender Unicorn” through a dynamic series of events. As we approach Trans Day of Visibility, let us come together to uplift and honor Trans lives by delving into the intricacies of gender, sexuality, and identity.

The Theater Offensive: Stage reading of “Smoke” by Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi
Intercultural Student Affairs 
Lavender Community Council 

Location: Bordy, 216 Tremont Street, Boston MA 02116 (Open to the Public)
Date: Tuesday March 26th, 7-9 pm

Join The Theater Offensive, Intercultural Student Affairs, and the Department of Performing Arts as we host "Smoke," a compelling stage reading of the play by Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, as part of the 2024 Social Justice Academy: The Gender Unicorn. This thought-provoking play delves into themes of identity, resilience, and societal expectations. Through the lens of "Smoke," we explore the complexities of gender and the diverse experiences within the LGBTQ+ community. 

Cultural Horizons: Exploring spiritual Myths and Realities of Sexuality and Gender
Intercultural Student Affairs
Center for Spiritual Life
Lavender Community Council 

Location: Cultural Center (Emerson Community Only)
Date: Tuesday March 26th 3:30-5pm

Join us for an engaging and thought-provoking exploration into the intersection of spirituality, culture, sexuality, and gender. In our rapidly evolving world, understanding and addressing the myths, stigmas, and realities surrounding sexuality and gender is paramount. In this event, we delve into insightful discussions, interactive activities that will help facilitate this conversation.

This event offers a safe and welcoming space for individuals of all backgrounds to come together, share their experiences, and deepen their understanding of these complex and nuanced topics.

Whether you’re a student, educator, community leader, or simply curious about the intersections of spirituality, culture, sexuality, and gender, we invite you to join us for this enlightening journey of discovery and dialogue.

The Gender Unicorn: Navigating Medical and Mental Health at Emerson
Intercultural Student Affairs
Emerson Wellness Center
Lavender Community Council 

Location: Owen Multipurpose Room (Emerson Community Only)
Date: Wednesday March 27th 1:30pm-3pm

Join Emerson Wellness Center and Intercultural Student Affairs as we introduce the Gender Unicorn. This event will include a brief introduction to the theme of this year’s Social Justice Academy, a presentation on gender-affirming care at Emerson, followed by a Q&A session. Don't miss this opportunity to learn and engage.

The 2024 Social Justice Academy Student Mixer: Hosted by Theyta & EAGLE

Location: The reflection Room, 172 Tremont Street 
Date: Wednesday, March 27th 8pm-10pm

Join us for an evening of connection, empowerment, and advocacy at the Student Mixer hosted by Theyta and EAGLE for the 2024 Social Justice Academy. This event aims to bring together passionate students from diverse backgrounds who are dedicated to driving positive change in their communities.

2024 Social Justice Academy Reception
Intercultural Student Affairs
Lavender Community Council 

Location: The Judee (Emerson Community, and invited guests of TTO)
Date: March 28th: 11:15am-12:15pm

Join us for the 2024 Social Justice Academy Reception hosted by Intercultural Student Affairs and the Lavender Community Council. This reception offers an opportunity for networking and celebration, featuring delicious food and refreshing drinks.

The Social Justice Academy Presents The Theater Offensive: A panel discussion featuring three leaders of The Theater Offensive providing their thoughts on the state of the theater industry from a trans and queer perspective. 
Intercultural Student Affairs 
Lavender Community Council 

Location: The Judee (Emerson Community, and invited guests of TTO)
Date: Thursday March 28th 12:30-2pm

Join us for a panel discussion  as we explore the current state of the theater industry, focusing on the unique lens of the trans and queer community. Gain valuable insights and engage in meaningful dialogue as we explore the intersection of theater, activism, and social justice. Don't miss this opportunity to broaden your understanding and contribute to the conversation.

Connecting Voices: Zine & Letter Writing Workshop 
The Theater Offensive
Intercultural Student Affairs
Lavender Community Council 

Location: The Hive, Tufte, Boylston Place Alley (Open to the Public)
Date: March 28th 7-9pm

Join us for a Zine and Letter Writing Workshop! This event aims to foster connections between community members and incarcerated individuals who identify as trans or gender nonconforming. Through the art of zine-making and heartfelt letter writing, we seek to bridge gaps, share stories, and contribute to a more inclusive and supportive community.

Drag & Dine: A Feast of Fabulousness
Intercultural Student Affairs 
Student engagement and Leadership
Lavender Community Council 

Location: Center Stage (Emerson Community Only)
Date: Saturday March 30th 12-2

Join us at Emerson's Dining Hall Center Stage for an unforgettable morning of fabulousness and empowerment at our "Drag & Dine: A Feast of Fabulousness!” Griff, our spirited lion mascot, will be there alongside student performers showcasing drag and vogueing talents. Everyone is welcome, meal plan or not, to enjoy the show and indulge in our delicious brunch offerings. Don't miss out on the fabulous celebration of identity and expression!

Micro-Workshop on Trans Identity and Gender Non Conforming Communities
Social Justice Collaborative
Intercultural student Affairs
Lavender Community Council 
Theyta Student Organization

Location: Virtual Register HERE (Emerson Community Only) 
Date: April 5th 11am-12:30pm

In collaboration with the Social Justice Collaborative, Intercultural Student Affairs, and Theyta, we invite you to join us for a micro workshop. Explore and gain insights into empowering support for trans and non-binary community members.

2019 Social Justice Academy

Topic: Intersectional Feminism

Creating The Mammy Diaries presented by Valerie Stephens

“It's an artist's duty to reflect the times in which we live.” - Nina Simone 

When I saw myself as an artist, I also felt the power and responsibility of that title.  Creating THE MAMMY DIARIES has been an unexpected personal and collective journey. From my youth,  when calling a Black girl Mammy was a painful insult and seeing blackface on TV made you hang your head in embarrassingly, shameful acceptance to now when there is still a lingering firebrand of emotion for both.  What is the price of assimilation? What is the sacrifice for acceptance? THE MAMMY DIARIES is my attempt to explore a portion of that racially traumatic enigma through finding the complex truth surrounding Mammy. This creative process has been full of unexpected enlightenments and personal growth. It is an unadorned social commentary on the real, fictional and commercial caricature of Mammy. The representation of this happy, servile and desexualized maternal figure has endured in American popular culture since the defeated South’s Lost Cause Movement.  From the romanticized obedient mammy in 1939’s Gone With the Wind, to the more recent portrayal of domestic workers in 2011’s The Help, she is embedded into the American social tapestry.

Arts in Action Workshop

Presented by Taina Asili, co-presented with Emerson POWER (Protesting Oppression With Educational Reform)

Taina Asili will offer tools to utilize art in our organizing efforts. From performance arts, to sign and banner making, to video and photography, art has the potential to make our movements more visible and potent. In this interactive workshop, Taina will share strategies for making participant’s organizing efforts more imaginative, engaging and vibrant.

Maimouna Youssef AKA Mumu Fresh Keynote Address 

With opening poems by Porsha Olayiwiola, Boston’s Poet Laureate and Emerson Graduate Student

Grammy-nominated musician & activist Maimouna Youssef will deliver the keynote address for Emerson's 2019 Social Justice Academy. Youssef, also known as Mumu Fresh, is an Afro-Native singer, songwriter, emcee, activist, & educator. She has performed all over the world with artists such as Common, The Roots, Sting, Erykah Badu, Ed Sheeran, & Nas. Youssef became a musical ambassador for the United States in 2017 & traveled throughout Central America performing & facilitating workshops. She is committed to what she describes as “art activism,” and has performed numerous times in U.S. prisons. She works with a wide variety of organizations, including the Congressional Black Caucus and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, to bring awareness to important social issues.

2018 Social Justice Academy

Topic: Hip-Hop Artivism

Movement Building Strategies Rooted In the Elements [of Hip-Hop]

Workshop presented by Dr. Sabrina Kwist, Dean of Equity and Inclusion at Los Medanos College, co-founder and organizer of Bay Area Annual Hip-Hop for Change Conference; AND Ben Ortiz, Assistant Curator of the Cornell Hip-Hop Archive

Keynote Lecture

Delivered by Chuck Creekmur, co-founder and co-CEO. co-founder and co-CEO Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur has combined his outstanding journalism skills, artistic talents, and ability to envision the future to establish himself as a trendsetter and trailblazer creating a unique path in Internet content and technology. 

As a cultural critic and pundit, Chuck's been featured in VIBE, The Source, Complex, GIANT and has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR), BET, TVOne, VH1, The E! Channel, MTV, The O’Reilly Factor, USA Today, The New York Times, New York’s Hot 97 FM and numerous other outlets.

2017 Social Justice Academy

Topic: Community Organizing and Campaign Building

Campaign Building

Workshop presented by MASSCreative