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Past Events

Past Events

We at the Social Justice Institute strive to be forward thinking in our inquiries as well as our actions. We wholeheartedly believe that to get an idea of where to go next, we must keep in mind where we have been. With that in mind, here are some of the events that SJI has sponsored and that continue to influence our thinking and guide our work.

To view photos and videos from past events, please visit our media page. 

To see what is in store for the coming weeks and months, head to the upcoming events page.



Forced Labor and Maritime Art: Finding Slaves in Seventeenth-Century France

Research Lunch Series with Gillian Weiss

  • Date and Time: Tuesday, February 13, 11:30 am-12:45 pm
  • Location: Crawford Hall, Room A13, 10900 Euclid Ave 

Historians long assumed that after the medieval period, slavery vanished from metropolitan France and re-emerged only in its American colonies. In fact, thousands of enslaved Muslims and convicts labored for King Louis XIV (r. 1643-1715). Besides rowing his Mediterranean galleys, these servile oarsmen helped build and decorate naval vessels and other artworks that proclaimed royal supremacy. In her collaborative book project (with NYU art historian Meredith Martin), historian Gillian Weiss explores the role of forced labor in maritime art produced and displayed in seventeenth-century France. Her talk will consider how revealing the historical presence of Muslims and the persistence of slavery reverberates in current debates about Islam, immigration, integration and citizenship.


2018 Social Justice Teach In

Presented with the Center for Civic Engagement & Learning and the Interreligious Task Force on Central America

  • Date and Time: Saturday, February 10
  • Location: Tinkham Veale University Center, 11038 Bellflower Road 

Join hundreds of students and community members for an illuminating and meaningful opportunity to learn about the social justice issues that concern you.  Following a powerful keynote address by Amanda King and the youth of Shooting Without Bullets, participants will select workshops from dozens being offered. The event is free for students and $10 for community members.  Registration requested. 



Medical Deportation: The New Form of Patient Dumping

Research Lunch Series with Sana Loue

  • Date and Time: Tuesday, January 23, 11:30 am-12:45 pm
  • Location: Crawford Hall, Room A13, 10900 Euclid Ave 

Medical deportation refers to the involuntary removal of documented and undocumented immigrants with long term health care needs and little or no health insurance coverage from a US hospital to a facility in their country of origin.  Often, the medical facilities that exist in the immigrant’s country of origin to which individuals are sent lack adequate equipment and/or skill to provide the requisite care. Research suggests that hospitals are increasingly utilizing this practice to address inadequate funding for emergency and long term medical care costs.  Some hospitals have attempted to have a US citizen patient removed to the country of a parent’s origin in an effort to reduce their costs. Hospitals have often been successful in their attempts to obtain a state court order permitting such medical deportations. Various commentators have suggested that the practice of medical deportation represents a form of patient dumping across international borders, and constitutes a violation of both US and international law. This presentation explores the ethical and legal issues confronting health care providers in such situations, as well as the obligations of local governments and organizations to provide care for immigrants with health needs.



Who's Afraid of Edward Said?  The Palestinians and the Stifling of Dissent

Research Lunch Series with Ted Steinberg

  • Date and Time: Tuesday, December 5, 11:30 am-12:45 pm
  • Location: Crawford Hall, Room A13, 10900 Euclid Ave 

Steinberg writes: "Growing up in the sixties and seventies, I don’t recall hearing anything about Palestinians. It was always Arabs. Golda Meir herself had said that the Palestinian people 'did not exist.' My personal journey with respect to this contentious issue, and an update on the serious threats to dissent now present and brewing in the United States—and on our campus."



Think Tank 2017

Educating for Struggle: State Violence, Then and Now

  • Date and Time: November 16-18
  • Location: Tinkham-Veale University Center, 11038 Bellflower Road

Featuring Keynote Addresses by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Ibram X. Kendi.  

Sponsored by the CWRU Office for Inclusion, Diversity & Equal Opportunity, the President's Advisory Council on Minorities, ideastream, Ndeda N. Letson, the Beamer-Schneider Professorship in Ethics and the CWRU School of Law.



Race, Equity and Inclusion: How Cleveland Generates Wealth

Research Lunch Series with Kevin Alin and Peter Truog

  • Date and Time: Tuesday, November 7, 11:30 am-12:45 pm
  • Location: Crawford Hall, Room A13, 10900 Euclid Ave 

What happens when a community comes together to unpack the history of structural racism and how it manifests locally? In 2017, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, the Fund for Our Economic Future, and other engaged partners funded a learning journey to increase shared understanding of racial inequality in Northeast Ohio and foster productive dialogue among stakeholders. Through that journey, The Fund for Our Economic Future has produced an analysis looking at how wealth is generated annually in the Cleveland MSA through a racial equity and inclusion lens. A discussion of this analysis and the questions that it provokes will be the focus on this presentation.


Decolonizing Cleveland Charette

Co-sponsored by the Beamer-Schneider Lecture in Ethics and Civics

  • Date and Time: Saturday, October 14, 10:30 am-2 pm
  • Location: Clark Hall, Room 309, 11130 Bellflower Road 

Indigenous movements such as the Dakota Access Pipeline often call for “decolonization” as a goal of social justice advocacy. What does decolonization mean? What are the different forms decolonization could take locally? The greater Cleveland area may assume its history to start with the formation of the U.S. and European colonization of North America. But the area is also home to a much longer history of diverse Indigenous peoples. In fact, this area has been known by many names. Moreover, more recently, Indigenous persons and communities make their home in the Cleveland area, bringing both traditions from this region and from many other regions in North America, and also beyond. In the last 200 years, additional groups, including African-Americans, have created homes, communities and cultures in the area. But the current infrastructure, maps, buildings, artwork, and other markers of the physical landscape in the Cleveland area do not appear to include or honor these connections to Indigenous peoples and other groups. In fact, in some respect, the physical landscape and urban/suburban ecology reflect U.S. desires to take the land from other groups and erase their histories and contemporary lives. What would it mean, then, to change this situation? This event, open to the Cleveland community and CWRU, will be an open discussion of whether decolonization has a place in the Cleveland area, what decolonization might look like, and how it might be achieved.

At this participatory event, Kyle Powys Whyte, several elders from the Cleveland indigenous community, and an SJI representative will lead us in an envisioning process to imagine what it would be to decolonize Cleveland.  This process is meant as an introduction and as something incomplete — a kind of proposition, even a preposition. 


Lunch with SJI - Learn about the Social Justice Minor

  • Date and Time: Friday, October 27, 12:45-2 pm
  • Location: Mather House, Room 100 

Join SJI Academic Coordinator John Flores for an informal lunch and conversation about SJI and the social justice minor.  Bring your questions or just come to connect with other like-minded students interested in justice and activism. 


The Monument Quilt

To create a culture of support for survivors of rape and abuse

  • Date and Time: Wednesday, October 11, 10 am-2 pm
  • Location: Corner of Euclid Ave and Adelbert Rd (Rain location: Tinkham Veale University Center, 11038 Bellflower Rd) 

Organized by FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, the Monument Quilt is an ongoing collection of stories from survivors of rape and abuse.  Written, stitched and painted onto red fabric, the stories are displayed in city centers to create and demand public spaces to heal.  The quilt resists the popular and narrow narrative of how sexual violence occurs by telling many stories, not one, and builds a new culture where survivors are publicly supported, rather than publicly shamed. After visiting cities across America, thousands of fabric suqares will blanket over one mile of the National Mall spelling "NOT ALONE."

This event is organized by SJI, Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, CWRU Green Dot, Greek Life, SMARRT (Students Meeting About Risk and Responsibility Training), Center for Civic Learning and Engagement, Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at the Mandel School for Applied Social Sciences, SAVE (Sexual Assault and Violence Educators), The Feminist Collective at CWRU, the CWRU LGBT Center, the Women & Gender Studies Program, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, National Council of Jewish Women/Cleveland, and ATNSC: Center for Healing and Creative Leadership.


Social Justice Institute Fellows Present...

Research Lunch Series with Matthew Rossman and Elizabeth Nalepa

  • Date and Time: Tuesday, October 10, 11:30 am-12:45 pm
  • Location: Crawford Hall, Room A13, 10900 Euclid Ave 

Not the Sharpest Tools in the Shed - In Search of Smarter Homeowner Subsidies

Matthew Rossman, professor of law, will discuss his revealing research project about the profound disconnect between the federal tax code’s homeowner subsidies (often criticized for primarily benefiting higher income households) and other federal housing related policies. These other policies include combating disinvestment in distressed housing submarkets, decreasing residential segregation, and minimizing negative environmental externalities. This project also explores how homeowner subsidies might be made smarter, including through community level applications of advances in real estate data and analytics.

The Effect of Abortion Restrictions on Individual Outcomes

New regulations and restrictions placed on access to abortion in the United States are assumed to disproportionately impact women marginalized by their race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Using data that spans more than 30 years, Elizabeth Nalepa, sociology graduate student, will explore how health policy such as abortion regulation generates or worsens health inequalities.  

The Research Lunch Series is free and open to the community.  Bring a lunch; drinks and dessert provided.  RSVPS requested to



In Search of One Big Union: Folksongs and Social Movements in the U.S.

Co-sponsored by the CWRU Center for Popular Music Studies 

  • Date and Time: Thursday, October 5, 7-8:30 pm
  • Location: Clark Hall, Room 206, 11130 Bellflower Road

Focusing on the role that folksongs play in the U.S. labor and other social movements, musician and sociologist Corey Dolgon brings both history and theory to life.  This singing lecture includes songs from a multicultural perspective and examines the function of folk songs in the struggles for workers' rights, civil rights, women's rights, environmental protection and more contemporary movements as well.  Free and open to the community.  Light refreshments will be served.  RSVPs requested to


Dress for Less


An Economic Justice Event co-sponsored with the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women

  • Date and Time: Tuesday, October 3, 10 am-5 pm
  • Location: Center for Women Living Room, Tinkham Veale University Center, 11038 Bellflower Rd. 

Dress for Success of Cleveland will be providing professional women's clothing at discount prices.  All CWRU students, staff and faculty are invited to attend. 


Authoritarianism and its Challenges to Democracy and College Campuses

 A Social Justice Institute Teach-In

  • Date and Time: Friday, September 29 - 12:45 pm
  • Location: Clapp Hall, Room 108, 2080 Adelbert Road

White nationalists have been legitimated and emboldened by a presidential administration that took office by advancing racist, sexist, homophobic, ablest, and nationalist rhetoric.  In August, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists took to the streets in Charlottesville armed with clubs, shields, pistols, and assault rifles, while President Trump expressed indifference. In a move toward political exclusion, Trump has recently called for a ban on transgender members of the military and threatened to remove more than 800,000 young immigrants given amnesty under DACA. Is this the formation of neo-fascism? What can be done to challenge this militant right movement? What is the role of university campuses?

Join us for a panel discussion to more deeply understand this historical moment, its call to action, and the role of the university.

Opening remarks:   Dean Cyrus Taylor, College of Arts and Sciences  

Panelists: John Flores, Associate Professor, History, Kenneth Ledford, Associate Professor and Chair, History, Ayesha Bell Hardaway, Assistant Professor, Law

Moderator: Tim Black, Interim Director, Social Justice Institute


They Can't Kill Us All: Law Enforcement, Race and Justice

Wesley Lowery at the City Club of Cleveland

  • Date and Time: Friday, September 22 - 12 pm
  • Location: City Club of Cleveland, 850 Euclid Avenue, Second Floor

The deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray inspired Washington Post reporter (and Shaker Heights High School graduate) Wesley Lowery to question the data around police shootings. His inquiry spurred The Post's investigative data-gathering project The Fatal Force which won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. Lowery's experiences traveling across the country covering police shootings are chronicled in his book They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice Movement. In it, he also describes the events that led to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and how black activists used social media to elevate their message. 

SJI is proud to co-sponsor the lunch and conversation with Pulitzer Prize winner Wesley Lowery on the ongoing struggle between law enforcement, race, and justice.


The Secret Joy of Accountability

Mixed-Race -Gender -Class -Age  Collaborations in Life and Liberation Work

  • Date and Time: Tuesday, September 19, 11:30 am-12:45 pm
  • Location: Crawford Hall, Room A13, 10900 Euclid Ave 

Veteran queer, sex-positive activists Ignacio Rivera and Jaime Grant will talk about their long history of collaboration across differences  that are often fault lines in our culture and society.  How do we create accountable partnerships and grow accountable communities across race and gender differences (especially) in the midst of so much white supremacist, sexist and transphobic violence?  How do we address how racism, sexism, queer and transphobias, ageism, fatphobia and other systems of oppression inequitably distribute resources and opportunity?  How do we take care of each other while fighting? How do we take care of ourselves?  Bring a lunch; drinks & dessert provided. 


History, Biography and Age: Levels of Inequality in the Life Course

Research Lunch Series with Dale Dannefer

  • Date and Time: Tuesday, September 12, 11:30 am-12:45 pm
  • Location: Crawford Hall, Room A13, 10900 Euclid Ave 

In many late modern societies, increasing attention is being paid to the realities of inequality.  Although those who focus on inequality have paid little attention to its relation to age, the set of temporally grounded processes associated with individual aging comprise a robust and reliable generator of social inequality.  In this talk, Dannefer will review those processes and consider the reasons for their resilience and the possibilities of change.










Visit the SJI YouTube Channel to see recorded conference lectures, plenary sessions and oral histories.

Selected event photos courtesy of Eric Benson Photography