Social Justice Institute 10th Anniversary

On Oct. 23-24, we hosted virtual events to mark the 10th anniversary of Case Western Reserve University’s Social Justice Institute. Over this two-day period, inspiring speakers shared their insight on the issues of today and opportunities for social justice advancement going forward. These sessions drew on themes we have covered over the last ten years, while highlighting the work of faculty from across the university. 

Breathe! Resist! Live!: Keynote Address with Rhonda Y. Williams

Oct. 23

Dr. Rhonda Williams

The 10th anniversary virtual event series kicked off with a keynote address from Rhonda Y. Williams, CWRU’s Social Justice Institute founder and inaugural director on Oct. 23. 

Williams is a historian of low-income Black women’s and marginalized people’s experiences, everyday lives, politics and social struggles. Her research contributes to the rethinking of gender, political identity, citizenship, civil rights, Black liberation struggles and interactions with the U.S. state. She serves as a history professor and John L. Seigenthaler Chair in American History at Vanderbilt University. 

During her two-decade tenure as a faculty member in the History Department at Case Western Reserve, she also established and directed the Postdoctoral Fellowship in African American Studies. 

Williams is the author of the award-winning The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles Against Urban Inequality (2004) and Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power in the 20th Century (2015), among other notable articles and essays. 

Co-Director Remarks: Our Vision for the Future

Following the keynote address, Social Justice Institute Co-Directors Ayesha Bell Hardaway and Mark Chupp closed the evening by sharing their vision for the future of SJI as a university-wide initiative under the Office of the Provost, and celebrating the accomplishments over the last 10 years. 

Saturday Sessions

Oct. 24

During day two of the event, we examined topics from past programming over the last 10 years, including sessions on racism, mass incarceration, immigration and human rights. Access the replay videos and resources below.


The Covid-19 Crisis in the Prisons

Join Tim Black and Crystal Tascon as they discuss the COVID-19 crisis happening in prisons across the country.



Social Inequalities: Redlining and Its Legacy 

During this session, Claudia Coulton covers social inequalities and redlining.




Protesting While Black: The Fourth Estate, Protest Scripts, and How Mass Media Legitimizes State Violence Against Marginalized Groups

This timely session featuring Bryan Adamson focused on protesting and the Black community, including a look at how media legitimizes state violence.



Modern Native American Visibility & Decolonization

Jeremy Bendik-Keymer, Bruce Kafer and Cynthia Connolly join us for a critical conversation around modern Native American visibility and decolonization.




Democracy and Social Justice in Hard Times

Karen Beckwith discusses the political system and social justice in hard times.


  • "Democracy in Chains" by Nancy MacLean
  • "Dark Money" by Jane Mayer



Immigration and the 2020 Election

This session with John Flores and Fatima Rahman focuses on immigration and the 2020 election.



Due to health and safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, SJI has transitioned to offering programming virtually, for this event and for all programming for the foreseeable future.