Charis welcomes Leigh Patel in conversation with Jalessah T. Jackson and karen marshall for a celebration of No Study Without Struggle: Confronting Settler Colonialism in Higher Education. No Study Without Struggle examines how student protest against structural inequalities on campus pushes academic institutions to reckon with their legacy built on slavery and stolen Indigenous lands. This event is in partnership with the Decolonial Feminist Collective, scholar-organizers across disciplines utilizing internationalist and decolonial approaches in political education, movement, and solidarity-building. This event is co-sponsored by Rethink, based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Rethink's mission is to support youth of color in becoming thoughtful and capable leaders through the process of critically rethinking our educational experiences and taking action to create transformative systemic change.
Using campus social justice movements as an entry point, Leigh Patel shows how the struggles in higher education often directly challenged the tension between narratives of education as a pathway to improvement and the structural reality of settler colonialism that creates and protects wealth for a select few. Through original research and interviews with activists and organizers from Black Lives Matter, The Black Panther Party, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Combahee River Collective, and the Young Lords, Patel argues that the struggle on campuses reflects a starting point for higher education to confront settler strategies. She reveals how blurring the histories of slavery and Indigenous removal only traps us in history and perpetuates race, class, and gender inequalities. By acknowledging and challenging settler colonialism, Patel outlines the importance of understanding the relationship between the struggle and study and how this understanding is vital for societal improvement.
Leigh Patel's work is based in the knowledge that as long as oppression has existed so have freedom struggles. She is a community-based researcher as well as an eldercare provider, educator, writer, and cultural worker. Prior to being employed as a professor, she was a middle school language arts teacher, a journalist, and a state-level policymaker. She is also a proud national board member of Education for Liberation, a nonprofit that focuses on supporting low-income people, particularly youth of color, to understand and challenge the injustices their communities face.
Patel's writing ranges from short essays for public outlets, such as Beacon Broadside, NPR, The Conversation, and The Feminist Wire, academic research articles, and writing for wide audiences. Her latest book, There is No Study Without Struggle: Confronting Settler Colonialism in Higher Education connects the distinct yet deeply connected intertwined forms of oppression while also shedding light on the crucial nature of political education for social transformation. Her walk-on song is “Can I Kick It” by ATCQ. You can follow her on Twitter @lipatel.
Jalessah T. Jackson is a (m)other, educator-organizer, abolitionist, and interdisciplinary cultural worker whose work is grounded in a people-centered approach to human rights theory and practice, a lens that uses Black feminist intersectional analysis to anchor its social justice demands. As the Director of Community Engagement at Feminist Women’s Health Center, they lead the development of the Center’s comprehensive vision, strategy, implementation, and evaluation plan for community engagement, education, organizing, and leadership development programs and initiatives.
Jalessah is an experienced educator teaching in both community-based and higher education settings. They have taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Public Health and Social Sciences, African and African Diaspora Studies, and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies.
In April 2020, She founded the Decolonial Feminist Collective (DFC), a project that seeks to produce new forms of knowledge as well as elevate, center, and amplify cultural epistemologies, experiences, and knowledges.
Across all of Jalessah’s experiences in the classroom and in community, her work exemplifies the interrelationship between pedagogy, scholarship, and political engagement, and her daily work has been with/in communities who are marginalized through systems of oppression.
karen marshall is an educator, organizer, and coach (of the basketball variety) who currently serves as the Executive Director of Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools (Rethink). While karen was schooled in many institutions – primary through graduate school - her greatest and most important education, came from her family – a close-knit group of ordinary black people, migratory by force, who over time have cultivated the art and science of survivance.
karen’s leadership and professional experience extends over 15 years as she has progressed from smaller organizations and projects to large-scale operations. through it all, she embodies an understanding of leadership as practice and responsibility – and not a matter of position. she has taught middle school, high school, undergraduate, and graduate-level courses both domestically and abroad and has extensive experience working at grassroots levels with individuals and communities seeking transformative change.
karen marshall is committed to the fullest development of working-class people’s power and their collective agency to transform the systems that shape their conditions as hyper exploited. As the Executive Director of Rethink in New Orleans, karen works to make the tradition of radical Black youth organizing relevant in these times, integrating culture, political analysis and development, base building, leadership development, collective action, and intergenerational community building. Rethink has become a community hub for the emergence of a new generation of New Orleans leaders committed to a lifetime of struggle for liberation.
This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage
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Examines how student protest against structural inequalities on campus pushes academic institutions to reckon with their legacy built on slavery and stolen Indigenous lands