Summer SAVY 2016 (Session 3, Day 1) – Fantasies of Change
We began our class today to the strains of a recording of “We Shall Overcome” from the March on Washington of the Civil Rights Movement. Why were people able to sing “deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome” that day? Because they’d found others who agreed with their vision of the world as it ought to be, who saw the same issues, and who were willing to come together and act to try to create change. Our first session together was all about understanding what’s at the heart of collective action: the injustice, issue, problem, or grievance that we want to work to change. After reading an excerpt from The Giver that helps to illustrate how sometimes, seeing the injustice in the world takes a shift in our perspective, we were able to act on that knowledge, assisting with the Vanderbilt University Accessibility Mapping Project (link below) in four different buildings on campus. Students discovered how difficult it can be to access campus buildings, classrooms, bathrooms, and more if you have a disability, and contributed to the project’s goal of creating a map that helps to reveal campus accessibility and where it needs improvement. We concluded the day by building our community contract (reminders for how to create a welcoming space for ideas during our time together) and, importantly, by identifying those issues which most motivate us as a class. Tomorrow students will receive their group assignment to begin building their collective action portfolio, and we’ll begin to identify collective action goals and think about our action contexts.
Here are our guiding questions for the class:
· What is collective action?
· Why choose collective action? To what end?
· What makes a change agent?
· How do we make change together?
· How do we identify successful change?
Links of Interest:
Accessibility Mapping Video (viewed in class): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Chta29jjXQ
Longer video about the same project: http://healthland.time.com/2013/10/14/wheelchair-inaccessible-the-story-behind-an-app-that-maps-obstacles-for-the-disabled/
Vanderbilt Map-A-Thon information: http://www.nashvillescene.com/pitw/archives/2016/04/07/vanderbilt-students-faculty-map-accessibility-on-campus
Homelessness was a topic mentioned several times during class today. Here are some ways that different collective actions in Nashville are involved in working to prevent and alleviate homelessness.