Building further on a theme it first explored in-depth last season, UCSB Arts & Lectures has launched a new series centered around ideas and insights about justice. Across its many events, “Justice for All” will broaden the campus’s examination of the topic to consider it from every angle.
“Last year’s ‘Race to Justice’ series of virtual talks was a watershed moment for Arts & Lectures, and for the campus as a whole,” said Celesta M. Billeci, Miller McCune Executive Director of A&L. “This year that very successful series has morphed into ‘Justice for All,’ where we are looking at systemic inequities from multiple perspectives: racial, social, economic, environmental. Again, we are stretching our program and hopefully stretching our campus thought processes to identify barriers and spotlight solutions.”
Taken as a whole, the series is intended to confront the inequalities that so often shape policies, institutions and lives. The philosophy behind it posits that only a just, tolerant, open and socially inclusive world will free us to thrive. In their respective appearances, the public figures, organizers, thinkers and doers who are part of Justice for All will expose deeply embedded injustices and call for a more equitable future.
“The Justice for All series contributes to our understanding of the importance of placing justice at the forefront of our efforts to address and remedy systemic inequality,” said Belinda Robnett, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion, and a member of A&L’s faculty advisory committee for the series. “The upcoming events provide us with a unique opportunity to broaden our viewpoints regarding the meaning of justice by giving voice to the underrepresented, oppressed, marginalized and unseen members of our society.”
The series kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10, with one-time presidential candidate Julián Castro, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama. Serving as mayor of San Antonio from 2009 to 2014, Castro in 2012 became the first Latino to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. He had made history before, in 2001, as San Antonio’s youngest city councilman. His memoir, “An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream,” was published in 2018.
In a live appearance at Campbell Hall, Castro will share insights from his political journey and actionable ways we can effect change. Live stream access is provided with regular ticket purchase for those who prefer to attend remotely. As with each Justice for All event, attendance is free for current UCSB students.
Next, the series on Wednesday, Nov. 3 screens the documentary “Warrior Women,” about American Indian Movement leader Madonna Thunder Hawk and Lakota activist Marcella Gilbert, followed by a moderated conversation between Thunder Hawk, Gilbert and director/ producer Elizabeth Castle. Harvard professor and Pulitzer-winning author Annette Gordon-Reed visits Campbell Hall Wednesday, Nov. 10, to discuss her new bestselling book, “On Juneteenth: ‘Freedom Day’ and Its Importance to American History,” weaving together history and heartfelt memoir to tell the sweeping story of Juneteenth and the larger fight for equality.
Continuing in January, other events and presenters in the series include Amanda Nguyen, founder and CEO of Rise, a social movement accelerator; investigative journalist Amanda Elliott, who examines homelessness and poverty; Emmy and Tony winner John Leguizamo; poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong; author and social commentator Roxane Gay; and violinist Jennifer Koh with singer Davóne Tines.
More events will be added to the series and announced throughout the season.
“We’re thrilled to instigate the development of these programs together with our campus-wide advisory committee,” Billeci added, “and we hope that Justice for All will impact the campus and community in countless ways.”
In addition to Vice Chancellor Robnett, the series’ faculty advisory committee includes Susannah Scott, divisional chair of the Academic Senate; Sharon Tettegah, director of the Center for Black Studies Research; Ingrid Banks, chair of the Department of Black Studies; Kim Yasuda, chair of the Department of Art; and Charles Hale, SAGE Sara Miller McCune Dean of Social Sciences.