Students intrigued by the issues and tensions of social justice in the U.S. gathered together this week for the University of Miami’s second-annual Know Justice, Know Peace symposium from Feb. 10-12.
The second event of this three-day symposium on Thursday included a panel of renowned social activists hosted by UM Director of Africana Studies David Ikard. Panelists Rashawn Ray, Paula Ioanide and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva discussed how social injustice has been an issue in our country, from the shooting of Trayvon Martin to Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime show. Another major topic covered was the recent rise and success of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
“Even if he doesn’t win, we are seeing the pendulum for what is allowed in public discourse to be shifted so far right,” said Ray, the associate research director at the Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity at the University of Maryland, College Park.
“What is allowed and what people are allowed to say and do is so extreme it becomes problematic,” he said.
Aside from national conflicts, the speakers were able to share personal issues and anecdotes about social justice.
Ioanide, an associate professor of comparative race and ethnicity studies at the Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity at Ithaca College, shared her journey and the cultural shift from Belarus, Romania to a town in America where she was placed in a different cultural environment.
“I remember … moving from one racial space, a predominately white space, into a non-white space and remembered how the feeling would shift and everyone would treat me differently because I was an immigrant,” Ioanide said.
For the remainder of the event, students and attendees had the opportunity to spark discussion with guest speakers and to express their opinions on the topic of social justice.
Correction, Feb. 15: A photo caption in this article originally labeled David Ikard as Rashawn Ray, which was incorrect.