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Monday, January 01, 2018

Social unrest opens many doors to learning | The Seattle Times - Sponsored Education

Provided by Western Washington University.
Western Washington University offers a variety of courses in social justice including a Law, Diversity and Social Justice minor and Education and Social Justice minor. For more information, visit  

Academia responds with options as students react to societal changes with a desire to actively engage.

WWU alumnus TJ Martin with his Oscar. 
Photo: Western Washington University

It’s a new year, but the political and social unrest left in the wake of events in Charlottesville, Ferguson, Charleston, Dallas, St. Paul, Baltimore, Baton Rouge and Alexandria continues to leave an air of uncertainty for Americans working to promote social justice. At the same time, themes of diversity, equity and inclusion are becoming more commonplace – from politics to entertainment and even Super Bowl commercials.

According to director TJ Martin, it’s no accident his award-winning documentary “LA 92” about the riots in Los Angeles following the Rodney King decision illustrates the cyclical nature of violent civil unrest. Twenty-five years after the riots, Martin says “you come out [of the film] recognizing that we’ve been having this conversation for a very long time, and nothing is solved.”

“LA 92” has been shortlisted for an Academy Award nomination in 2018. If he wins it will be the second Oscar for Martin, who graduated from Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College, and his co-director Dan Lindsay. The duo threads issues of class and racial inequity through nearly all of their work. They earned their first Oscar for “Undefeated,” which featured an underdog team of all-black football players and their white coach in North Memphis – a less violent but similar view of disparity in race and class in our society. Their Honey Maid ad campaign redefines “wholesome families to include interracial and gay couples and their children.

Scholars contend it’s become everyone’s work – regardless of chosen profession or educational concentration – to address poverty, the death penalty, environmental rights (racism), sexism, labor laws, civil rights and access to health care and education. Vernon Damani Johnson, Director of the Ralph Munro Institute for Civic Education and Professor of Political Science at Western Washington University, explains public universities are reinforcing that premise by incorporating social justice into courses across more majors and disciplines.
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Source: The Seattle Times