An Invitation and Introduction
The Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin, launched in February 2016, seeks to organize knowledge to challenge inequality, especially the entrenched color-lines of the 21st century. Through academic research, and in alliance with social justice movements, we create scholarship, art, and collective action to tackle divides and dispossessions in global Los Angeles and in cities around the world.
In November 2016, in the wake of a presidential election in the United States that ratified various forms of exclusion, including white nationalism, the institute expanded its mission to build power to challenge state-sponsored violence against targeted bodies and communities. In particular we became concerned with the role of the university on the front-lines of resistance against Trumpism.
With this in mind, the institute issued a call, Teach.Organize.Resist, on the occasion of the presidential inauguration. January 18, or #J18, became a day of education and protest at various universities and colleges in the United States and beyond.
Through lectures, assemblies, musical performance, and artistic practice, #J18 is a collective insistence that places of teaching and learning will not bear silent witness to oppression and hate. Made up of a multitude of actions, nearly 100 of them, at multiple locations, from American University in Washington D.C. to the University of California, Santa Cruz, from the Sapienza University of Rome to the National University of Singapore, from the Skid Row History Museum in downtown Los Angeles to the University of Dayton, #J18 is a pedagogy of resistance.
As the world marks 100 days of #45 in the White House, we share this curation of #J18 activities to commemorate and continue the project of Teach.Organize.Resist. We do so to refuse the normalization of Trumpism. We do so to insist on the academic freedom to examine regimes of power and structures of intolerance. We do so to forge imaginations of abolitionism, civil disobedience, and human freedom. We do so, as James Baldwin reminded us, to shake the dungeon and leave behind our chains.
The collection includes homework assignments, academic essays, artwork, poems, freedom songs, video clips of talks and theater, posters, and more. They allow us to analyze Trumpism, to articulate practices of resistance, to expand our curriculum, and to state our values. We invite you to read and share, and most of all we invite you to join the work of Teach.Organize.Resist.
Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Geography
Director, The Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin