When We Win
When We Win
May 7, 2020
There are some days when it seems as if hope is all we have to quench our thirst for justice.
However few and far between, the wins are a reminder, in the words of Audre Lorde, that our silence will never protect us.
So here’s to wins, however they come!
UIC’s Graduate Employees Organization spoke up and won additional sick leave related to COVID-19 and summer housing for international students, and influenced the expansion of paid summer internship opportunities available to graduate students.
Ida B. Wells was awarded a Pulitzer posthumously (ninety years after her death) for her role in documenting the racist practice of lynching of African Americans and creating a tradition of investigative reporting that informs collective efforts to seek redress and justice. Her work and spirit embody Black feminist traditions of truth-telling, and many people have agitated for greater recognition of her work and her life for years. Here in Chicago, a street was named after her in 2019. UIC has also created the Ida B. Wells Scholarship Fund to which anyone can donate. New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who goes by the handle “Ida Bae Wells,” also won a Pulitzer for her role in the 1619 Project. Nikole and the project have been subjected to harsh criticism and attacks by many White historians and public personalities. The parallels between the treatment of the two women, the ironic ways in which social change manifests in a society whose institutions are shaped by white supremacy and heteropatriarchy–all are laid bare in her tweet:
I’ve been trying to come up with sentences worthy of summing up how it felt to be awarded @PulitzerPrizes the same day as Ida B. Wells for a project I led on the legacy of slavery for the @nytimes, a newspaper that in 1894 called Wells a “slanderous and nasty-minded mulattress.”
Black women wielding “the master’s tools” can use those to tell uncomfortable truths about the very systems and structures that will punish them for speaking up. It is for all of us to hear all those who speak up–whether they use megaphones, petitions, song, tweets, or news articles–and become inspired to seek out the hidden stories of injustice that can nurture movements and instigate change.
What are the individual and collective wins that you want to celebrate as we end this semester? Share them with us!
Here are a few things happening in UIC’s virtual world that keep you connected to community and celebrate individual and collective wins:
Lavender Graduation’s keynote speaker will be Sam Kirk! Check here for updates.
The interdisciplinary programs of African American Studies, Latin American & Latino Studies, Gender & Women’s Studies, and Global Asian Studies will be having a celebration of new graduates on the morning of May 10. Check their Facebook pages for more information.
A town hall on African American Students and COVID-19 was held online on Wednesday, May 6 (the video and follow-up resources will be shared on the Office of Diversity’s website).
We have been through a lot together over these past few weeks. Please take care of yourselves.
In love and solidarity,