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Please explore links below to learn more about the St. Peter's University "Encuentros" event, which was sponsored by the 2019 APA CODAPAR Project.

Encuentros: Civic Engagement and the Obligation of the University in Times of Crisis

The work is always collective... those who were foundational in building the space.

Jennifer Ayala, Professor of Education and Director of The Center for Undocumented
Students, Saint Peter’s University
Michelle Fine, Professor of Critical Psychology and Urban Education
The Graduate Center, CUNY
Co-founder of The Public Science Project
Andrea Juarez Mendoza, Urban Education
The Graduate Center CUNY
Juan Carlos Garcia Rivera, Critical Psychology
The Graduate Center CUNY
Sam Finesurrey, faculty at Guttman Community College, CUNY
Anne Galletta, Professor Educational Studies, Cleveland State University

We have collaborated for months across high schools, community college, four-year college and Masters programs, working on issues of immigration-educational-racial (in)justice. Our network stretches cross various “faith” based institutions (Jesuit as well as public institutions that believe deeply in what is possible, and have “faith” in the power of education for justice) and our local communities and movements. Our goals – to provoke a conversation about the response-ability of universities and to engage students (particularly but not only students of color, immigrant and those who have been denied recognition and justice) as scholars and activists in another moment of national crisis, to consider “What is the Obligation of the University in Moments of National Crisis?”

We have settled on four answers provisionally, even as each of our institutions ventures forth on
many other initiatives:

1. Curricula: In courses, and extra-curricular gatherings, on campus and off, this work has
contributed to curriculum building, so we can teach the history and complexity, the

debates/dialogues/wounds and dreams/of the current moment with respect to educational-
immigrant-racial justice.

2. Pedagogy and Civic Awareness: at each institution, we have built in oral history as
pedagogy to animate civic awareness, honor the knowledges that students of color and
immigrant and first generation students are already bringing to the academy and to bear

witness by developing in our students a critical consciousness and intellectual appetite to
know more/stand alongside/accompany those most impacted by structural violence locally
and globally.
3. Skills, Relations and Reflections: to develop a diverse generation of oral historians, at
each institution, who are gathering narratives of struggle and desire, across various freedom
movements, excavating their own and their families’/communities wisdom, learning to
interview, transcribe, archive and democratize the production and circulation of
knowledge/sacred stories.
4. The “Good Enough” Academy as Sanctuary: understanding Winnicott’s appreciation of
“good enough mothering” we aspire toward the “good enough academy” where there is a
deep institutional soulful commitment – perhaps a “faith” - to open the academy as a space
for fragile solidarities, difficult conversations, democratic knowledge production, sanctuary
and healing.

With the support of BToP and CODAPAR, braided with our individual and collective biographies as educators and researchers, we have all developed curriculum and pedagogy organized around oral histories as bearing witness, with and about allies and elders from Jersey City/Hudson County, immigrant elders from throughout NYC, “retornados” – those who have been returned/deported to El Salvador, the mothers and children we met in
detention camps, and elder activists from Freedom Day 1964 in Cleveland Ohio.
We (faculty and students) presented/performed these accounts of “bearing witness and insisting on response-ability” at Saint Peter’s University on September 26, 2019 and will be presenting these works at various professional, university and community gatherings – including at the National Women’s Studies Association, Oral History Association, Pathologies of Capitalism conference in Costa Rica, in the local library in Cleveland, in state legislatures and in settings with activists, policy makers and young people across our networks. Our work is situated in the soil already tilled by Antonio Gramsci, who scribbled in his Italian prison cell, 100 years ago, about the “morbid symptoms” that “appear everywhere” in crisis; in the passions of Oscar Romero and Ignacio Martín-Baró who understood, as Salvadoran activists- researchers-priests-martyrs that research on and by the people can challenge dominant lies, and with the soul-warming and inspiring words of the late Chicana feminist queer poet Gloria Anzaldua who understood all struggle as a borderland, where structural violence, blood and pain float beside and mix with love, laughter, resistance and where radical possibilities are borne.

CODAPAR 2019 Sub-Project: Encuentros

Civic Engagement and the Obligation of the University in Times of Crisis

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