UofA to host Black Life Matters Conference

Students in Professor Monica Casper's First-Year Honors Seminar, with their hand-made signs. These students are planning an action for the January conference.
Students in Professor Monica Casper's First-Year Honors Seminar, with their hand-made signs. These students are planning an action for the January conference.
Students in Professor Monica Casper’s First-Year Honors Seminar, with their hand-made signs. These students are planning an action for the January conference.

The Black Life Matters Conference is scheduled for January 15-17, at the University of Arizona in the Dunbar Center. Discussion will focus on “WHY Black life matters and WHAT can be done about sustained racialized state violence.”

The Black Lives Matter movement began in response to the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson Missouri, after Brown had stolen cigars and roughed up a clerk at a convenience store.

Organizers say a “Facebook conversation about Jordan Davis and the white space of white silence led to a brainstorm one morning in early 2014, which led to a lengthy email conversation among editors at The Feminist Wire, which led to our collective intention to host a conference at the University of Arizona.”

According to the conference website, the event will include the following lecturers:

• “Ian Ellasante is a transgender poet and artist of African, Choctaw, and European descent. Originally from Memphis, Ian studied Creative Writing and Sociology at the University of Memphis before moving to Tucson in 2007. He recently completed his M.A. at the University of Arizona, which culminated in a creative thesis of his poetry and an expository introduction entitled “Bridges Between Me: Liminality, Authenticity, and Re/integration in American Indian Literature.”

• “Hakima Abbas has been active in struggles for social justice for nearly two decades. As a researcher she has focused on strengthening and supporting movements for change in Africa. Hakima is a member of the Jang! collective that provides popular education tools, platforms, and accompaniment to activists working for radical transformation. She is the editor and author of various publications, is on the editorial collective of The Feminist Wire, and is a contributor to Al Jazeera online. She is currently Director of Programs at AWID and serves as a board member to Greenpeace Africa, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Eastern Africa and the African Sex Workers Alliance.”

• “Deborah L. Embry is President and CEO of the Tucson Urban League, Inc. As President and CEO, she overseas the TUL’s programmatic direction. Prior to joining TUL, Ms. Embry served as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships/Grant Facilitator at the City of Racine”

• “Christopher Arlen, a self-actualized gay man, is an adroit facilitator, activist, conflict resolutionist, and community advocate. He has worked with diverse communities in Tucson, several California cities, and Denver for the past 20 years. Arlen is the principal consultant and mediator for Christopher Arlen Nonprofit Consulting, Inc., as well as Arlen Dispute Resolution Services. He currently lives in Denver with his husband, Damon, and their dog Oliver.”

• “Monica J. Casper is Department Head and Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and affiliated faculty in the Africana Studies Program and the School of Sociology at the University of Arizona. She researches and writes about gender, race, health, bodies, sexuality, motherhood, reproductive politics, trauma, and disability.”

• “Charles H.F. Davis III is Director of Higher Education Research and Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education. He is also a doctoral candidate at the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona, where his research examines the use of digital media in contemporary student activism and social justice organizing.”

Michael Duncklee
Michael Duncklee

According to organizers, “Planned outcomes of the conference include a series of thematic policy papers as well as local, regional, and national action items and a ‘to do’ list of next steps. We envision this conference as part of an ongoing conversation about Black lives, and not as a beginning, an end, or the ‘last word.’ It is our hope and intention that participants bring with them the vital work they are already doing, and carry away tools and resources to continue to do that work in their own communities.”

No action was taken last year by anyone in the social justice movement at the University of Arizona when Tucson Police shot and killed a hard-of-hearing man. That man, Michael Dunklee was sleeping in an apartment from which his friends had been recently evicted. Police said that he woke up when they entered the darkened bedroom and was wielding a small stick when they shot him.

Protests did not follow the attack by a Tucson Police officer of a University of Arizona coed during a rowdy night of partying after the University’s basketball team in the March Madness tournament. The video of the officer clocking the coed and her hard landing as she fell backwards over a bench went viral.

Mann helmet cam

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  1. Foolish me. I had thought that this garbage would not penetrate to our neck of the desert.

    Now I have to keep an eagle eye on every Black person I encounter over the next several months, unless I already know them quite well – who knows which ones are the murderous whackos that will be inspired by the racist hate-mongering forum at the University?

  2. Sounds like a real who’s who of circus freaks. OOPHS! Sorry to all the real circus workers. The UA is certainly not a place I would send my grandson. They seems to be moving further & further left in Tucson with all the good jobs and money going to Maricopa County. Don’t blame them for leaving this cesspool.

  3. “Whatagain” makes the interesting point that the silent majority is being trampled by the likes of Al Sharpton and NBC.

  4. And certainly the life of Darren Wilson means nothing when it collides with the race war lit by Eric Holder and Barack Hussein Obama.

  5. Oh, please. All lives do NOT matter.

    Benghazi – Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty.

    Marine Sgt. Thamoressi.

    Fast & Furious – Agent Brian Terry.

  6. All human life matters unless they are criminal punk thugs like the ones that this BS is all about. Two were intent on killing a cop and in so committed “cop suicide” and the third resisted arrest and his own fat unhealthy body killed him NOT some fictitious “choke hold”. I am wondering why the RACIST sharpton has not been arrested for “inciting to riot”, tried, convicted and sentenced to prison for his crimes. Of course we all know the reason. He is Black.

  7. All lives matter.
    Now how about all the people pushing the black lives matter, do something about all the black on black murders.
    I remember when Michelle said Barrack could be shot at a gas station filling up his car. I thought she may be right, and it would probably be a black man that did it.

  8. Any person who is lawless, or disobeys the law, should be confronted by the police. Quit making up excuses for bad behavior.

  9. And so the year begins with continued racial rhetoric spewing out of the mouths of some of the most racist people in this country.

    In case these people forgot, or are completely ignorant, the facts of the Ferguson case are:

    -Mike Brown and his accomplice robbed a store (a felony); it’s all on video.
    -He and his accomplice were walking in the middle of the street when given a lawful order by a uniformed police officer to get out of the street so the officer could continue to drive.
    -He verbally assaulted the officer before physically assaulting the officer while in his patrol car. During the assault Brown attempted to grab the officer’s weapon. Officer was forced to fire his weapon.
    – He then ran off a short distance before the officer ordered him to stop. He then turned around and began to charge at the officer. The officer yelled multiple times to for him to stop and show his hands. Brown did not comply.
    -Having already used justified deadly force while in the patrol vehicle, and believing that Brown was possibly reaching for a weapon from his waist area, the officer was again forced to used justified deadly force to prevent Brown from attempting to overwhelm the officer and possibly reattempt to grab the officer’s weapon.
    -At no time did Brown raise his hands in the air and shout “Don’t shoot”.

    If black lives matter, which of course they do, instead of blaming the police for being forced to use deadly force or aggressive take-down tactics, why don’t the organizers concentrate on how to teach people of all races how to respect the laws, respect other people, respect property, respect law enforcement officers’ authority when given lawful orders. If there is an issue with how they are being treated during a confrontation with an officer, they should take their case to court for civil rights violations. I am certain that is people would just use common sense, and learn some R-E-S-P-E-C-T, incidents like Ferguson and NYC and others would happen.

    ALL LIVES MATTER! Black, white, brown, yellow, red, law enforcement, etc., etc., etc!

  10. What real good can come from this liberal cesspool? I thought they were busy with their national “be nice” program, after the shooting by Laughner at the Safeway in Tucson. Wasn’t it going to mandate good behavior?

  11. I didn’t realize the protest of police actions had become a ‘sexual preference issue’ and I find it interesting that in presentation of these speakers their sexual disorientation seems to be such an important part of whom they may be… or maybe not? How important it has become as to what one does with their sexual organs, or what one permits to be done to their alimentary tract – seems to be quite an influence on their brain power? for it to be so prominently proclaimed in their educational and background introduction – and just what is a ‘self actualized gay man’ – vs – a self actualized heterosexual man? Seems all these descriptions are like saying… oh and I slept at Holiday Inn Express last night… so their answers are better than ‘anyone else could possibly have’ – and this is higher education – a doctorate in digital media activism… guess one does not want to miss their calling. Richard H. you can have my seat sir – this sounds like a home sweet home meeting convention for you sir – enjoy! Should be quite the gay event… but only if you want it to be – you can make it be whatever you want it to be – and they’ll be serving plenty of that kool-aide to do whatever you want with… but whatever happens or whatever is said – I’m sure the outcome will be proclaimed exceptional of course.

  12. Wow, how far has this nation sunk. Though all lives matter but I guess some matter more than others. What a shame that the urban blacks have become the next race of slaves that the democratic party started in 1965. As a group that have been given more and done less with what they have been given. And now its everyone’s fault but theirs. Just ask Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, Barak Obama and the rest of the race baiters. How can that be??? They were given everything and nothing was asked in return. That’s usually the way it works.

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