Vanderbilt Divinity Community,
The Divinity School has always been a school of prophets and scholars, and also, disruptors. We are always looking for a way to challenge the injustices in the world, which is why it is no surprise that Vanderbilt Divinity School alumna Anthea Butler has created the Scholar Strike, set to take place Tuesday, September 8th – Wednesday, September 9th. For those who are not aware the Scholar Strike is both an action and a teach-in being led by faculty at a myriad of universities. Birthed out of the actions of professional athletes, this action intends to address the grave injustices faced by people of color in the United States by educating and prompting action. The teach-in will be broadcasted on YouTube and we plan to host a watch party on the VDS Community Facebook page.
We recognize that some of you may plan to not attend classes on these days. Please make sure you are aware of the attendance policy for each class and inform your professor(s) that you will not be in attendance. You are responsible for all work missed. If there are actions you are planning to participate in and would like to share with the VDS community, please let us know.
We also recognize this option may not be feasible or preferable for everyone. Being a school full of social activists, we wanted to ensure that those who are interested in this action are aware of the multitude of options available that extend beyond these two days. Below is a list of just some of the upcoming opportunities to engage in the deep work needed in this moment. Our deep gratitude to our fabulous VDS staff (speaking of essential workers!) for their leadership – up front and behind the scenes – in crafting these opportunities. Please join us in committing to attend as many as you are able.
We are aware that many of you will feel torn between supporting the strike and holding class – especially classes that meet just once/week. Some of you may choose to strike, and we will respect that decision, as the concerns motivating the strike are indeed integral to theological education at VDS. But we also invite faculty to think creatively about how they might honor the intent of the teach-in in your classes next week, as the goals and content of your courses allow. We also ask you to work with any students compelled by conscience to participate in the strike to make up the work they will miss – again, as the goals, content, and policies of your courses allow.
Teach-in schedule forthcoming.
Every Friday in September: Trouble the Water: Conversations to Disrupt Racism film and discussion
September 11th – Episode 2: “Whiteness”
September 18th – Episode 3: “Racial Identity”
September 25th – Episode 4: “Intersectionality and Disruption”
Tuesday, September 8: Society in Conflict: Public Health and Education – a conversation about public health and education
Wednesday, September 9: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity – an author talk with Robert P. Jones, CEO and founder of Public Religion Research Institute
Thursday, September 10: 45th Annual Antoinette Brown Lecture: White Supremacy and the Legacy of Faith delivered by The Very Reverend Kelly Brown Douglas
Sunday, September 27: Community Conversations on Policing with Christophe Ringer. Registration information coming soon.
We encourage all of you to stay educated and involved in the world around you. There are always new things to learn and work to be done inside and outside of the classroom.
In Struggle & Solidarity,
VDS Student Government Association President
VDS Student Government Association Vice President
Below are some tips on how to use social and digital media strategies to participate:
- Please use the hashtag #ScholarStrike on all of your posts of the two-day action!
- Tweet Threads on Racism, police violence, social justice, and highlighting victims of police shootings are welcomed, and encouraged, using the hashtag #Scholarstrike. Don’t forget: Be succinct and direct. Facts are great, polemic is not.
- Don’t engage the trolls. You will get some. If you are attacked online, especially by Campus Reform or Turning Point, let Anthea know ASAP. Immediately block anyone with that moniker in their twitter or FB bio. If you don’t block, these folks will be able to access anyone mentioned in the tweets or replies, as well as everyone you follow or who follows you. This is how they do targeted harassment.
- Be sure to promote campus events with the hashtag as well.
- We will do some live updates during the day on periscope, FB and YouTube, as well as short engagement posts on Instagram.
- Please tag your posts and if you would like for us to post up for you, we will be looking at our email account periodically during the day.
- We will be posting from 10 am to 4-5 pm (Eastern Time) each day of the action, but please feel free to keep things going afterwards.
For those of you who have written and said “I don’t know what to do, I want some help” We are a clearing house. We organized the event, and we hope that this makes you reach out to folks on your campus who do this work, to partner and learn with them. We are not able to do programming for you, but what we will be doing after the two-day action is to post up materials that will help you to be able to become more aware!