Angela Davis, UC Santa Cruz professor and political activist, obtained the Marie Fielder Medal for Social Transformation at a digital occasion on Jan. 14 held by Fielding Graduate College in partnership with Therapeutic Justice Santa Barbara and The Fund for Santa Barbara.
The occasion, titled “A Neighborhood Dialog with an Icon: How America Can Change,” marked the fifth awarding of the Marie Fielder Medal, with Davis becoming a member of the likes of Walter Bumphus, Gary Orfield, and Patricia Gurin — all leaders in training and social work — in addition to civil rights and labor activist Dolores Huerta.
Fielding Graduate College President Katrina Rogers opened the occasion, describing the early mission of Fielding Graduate College.
“We have been based by college 48 years in the past to be a spot the place graduate training could possibly be designed for individuals who had been shut out of conventional graduate training at the moment, significantly ladies and folks of shade,” Rogers mentioned.
Throughout her introduction, she counseled Davis for her life’s dedication to social change and preventing for racial, financial and gender justice.
“Professor Davis has championed for social justice and campaigned for her lifetime, significantly with the jail industrial complicated which has grown for the reason that Nineteen Eighties with the emergence of the personal jail trade,” Rogers mentioned.
Davis was born in Birmingham, Alabama to folks who have been energetic neighborhood organizers. She picketed towards racial segregation as a youngster; afterward, she earned her doctorate in philosophy at Humboldt College of Berlin and gained recognition as a radical feminist.
She additionally based Crucial Resistance, a nonprofit advocating for an finish to mass incarceration and the dismantling of the prison-industrial complicated, in 1997.
Along with her work as a scholar and activist, Davis has revealed a number of books together with “Are Prisons Out of date?” in 2003, “Freedom is a Fixed Wrestle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Motion” in 2015 and “Abolition. Feminism. Now.” in 2022.
The medal was first awarded in 2016 following the institution of the Marie Fielder Middle for Democracy, Management and Training at Fielding, each named after founding college member Marie Fielder.
In keeping with Orlando Taylor, director of the Marie Fielder Middle and distinguished advisor to President Rogers, Fielder contributed to the efforts of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Whitney Younger, and labored with the Black Panther Social gathering in addition to served as an advisor to the Los Angeles Police Division on race relations.
The medal honors activists like Fielder who’ve made notable accomplishments towards attaining racial fairness.
“The annual awarding of this medal is probably the middle’s annual signature initiative,” Taylor mentioned. “It acknowledges a person for a lifetime of sustained advocacy, actions and achievements dedicated to supporting entry, fairness, range and inclusion of all folks in communities of their quest for achievement and success of their aspirations.”
Davis accepted the award by first thanking the college and the companions of the occasion.
“I wished to specific my gratitude for this main honor you could have bestowed on me … I can solely hope that my very own contributions are worthy of the Marie Fielder Medal for Social Transformation.”
She then proceeded to acknowledge the prominence of traditionally marginalized communities in actions preventing towards racism, classism, sexism, ecological destruction, neocolonialism and different social actions.
“Social change emanates from the actions and contributions and collective commitments of huge numbers of people who find themselves not the ‘nice males’ who till comparatively not too long ago have been considered the makers of historical past,” Davis mentioned. “There may be clearly no social transformation with out the form of training for which Marie Fielder was a proponent and the form of pedagogy she represented in her personal work.”
Following her assertion, Miriam Dance, director of theater at The Riviera Ridge College and Bishop Garcia Diego Excessive College in Santa Barbara, carried out a tune accompanied by native musicians John and Nansie Douglas. Dance mentioned she she wrote the piece the day after George Floyd’s homicide, describing it as a “tune of ache, tune of sorrow and tune that simply asks the query, ‘When will we matter?’”
“What number of extra brothers, numerous names? What number of extra Black deaths on this plain? What number of extra instances will they only stroll away?” Dance mentioned whereas singing.
“Will you simply allow us to be? Respect our proper to breathe. Will you simply allow us to reside? Sufficient is sufficient; you’ll pay for sins. Stand up, we ain’t taking no extra. Tribe up, no extra blood on the ground. We gon’ bust by the doorways for sisters and brothers who can’t converse no extra,” she sang on.
The occasion then transitioned into an interactive section, throughout which Davis responded to questions posed by Simone Akila, co-founder of Juneteenth Santa Barbara in addition to Therapeutic Justice Santa Barbara, and Marcos Vargas, govt director of the Fund for Santa Barbara.
In dialog about working collectively towards jail abolition, Davis spoke about her involvement within the motion and the way she deems the reorganization of society as vital for significant reform to happen.
“The query shouldn’t be, ‘How can we eliminate prisons?’ The query is, ‘How can we think about a future wherein we now not must depend on these establishments of violence and repression, on police and prisons.’ However in fact, that’s additionally associated to healthcare; it’s additionally associated to training; it’s associated to all of the establishments in society,” Davis mentioned.