JBS Summer offerings!

Check out the Justice Brandeis Summer offerings for the summer of 2014!

Joint Information Session for both Sociology programs next week!
Thursday, March 6, 2014
From 1:00-2:00 pm
Study Abroad Conference Room
Usdan 169

Why choose JBS this summer?

Are you interested in gaining work and research experience this summer while earning 12 academic credits in Sociology?  These two JBS programs may be for you!

Students say the JBS experience is unlike any they’ve found in a standard classroom setting. It offers an intensive, hands-on engagement in the field with first-hand exposure to issues related to social justice.  It’s a great way to earn 12 credits while getting work and research experience over the summer

PLEASE NOTE:  The final application deadline for all JBS programs is March 15. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so sign up now!

jbs-flyer-Breaking Boundaries- Immigration and Education_Page_1 JBS Civil Rights flyer_2014_Page_1

Event with Sister Helen Prejean


Dead Men Still Walking: A First Hand Account of Death Row by Death Penalty Activist Sister Helen Prejean
Thursday, February 6, 2014, 7p.m.
Levin Ballroom
What’s it like to be sentenced to death—for a crime you did not commit?
Sister Helen Prejean—perhaps the most famous Roman Catholic nun in the U.S.—knows better than most. A spiritual advisor to death row inmates for more than 25 years, she’s also America’s most famous advocate for ending the death penalty.
In 1982, Sister Helen unexpectedly became the spiritual adviser to death row inmate Patrick Sonnier, convicted of killing two teenagers, who had been sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana’s Angola State Prison. Witnessing his execution prompted her to write the bestselling Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States (Random House, 1993), which became a movie for which Susan Sarandon won the Oscar for playing Sister Helen—and sparking a nationwide debate over the death penalty’s injustice.
Sister Helen says that 80 percent of those on death row live in the ten Southern states that practiced slavery, and that 80 percent of those executed are poor people who kill white people. “When people of color get killed in this country, it doesn’t even hit the radar screen in district attorneys’ offices,” she says.
Sister Helen is an electrifying speaker, whose paired sense of humor and sense of moral urgency make it clear why her work has helped transform American attitudes and laws. Her gripping talk at Brandeis’s Spingold Theater in 2006 was standing room only. The rare opportunity to hear her, live and in person, is not to be missed. Please join us as Sister Helen talks about the true costs of death row.
Sponsored by the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, Peace and Coexistence Studies and Sociology Department
Contact person and email: Liz Eckley, lizm10@brandeis.edu, x63873

Brandeis celebrates MLK Legacy

A line snaked around the Shapiro Campus Center half an hour before the theater opened, as an eager community readied for an evening of motivational music, dance, poetry, and speeches – all celebrating the life and ideas of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The struggle for African American civil rights did not begin with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So why do we come together this evening to celebrate his life and legacy?” said Chad Williams, chair of the African and Afro-American Studies Department and host of the celebration. “Quite simply, because if any American deserves a national holiday, deserves to be recognized and honored for advancing the very idea of progress in this country’s long, contentious racial history, for compelling each and every one of us to be better human beings, it is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

The 9th-annual memorial, “For the Love of a Dream!” included performances by Emmy Award-winning Sean Fielder and the Boston Tap Company, Brandeis’ own Kaos Kids, songstress Erica Barnett, Brandeis Bridge Fellow Malakani Mak, motivational speaker Jermaine Hamilton and talks by the MLK Scholarship students who fundraised for five African American and five Jewish students to travel to Israel together, and the keynote team of Jane and Hubert Sapp.

The event occurred in the same space, the former Ford Hall, in which a group of about 70 African-American Brandeis students, galvanized by King’s assassination, occupied for 11 days in 1969, demanding improvements in the campus racial climate, enhancements in the educational experience of black students and creation of more opportunities for future black students to attend the university. One of their demands was for the administration to create 10 scholarships named for King, which continue to be important tools of educational opportunity.

From a rousing performance of Sam Cook’s “A Change is Gonna Come” to the emotional poetry of Bronte Velez to a dramatic reading King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, the theater reverberated with the hoots and hollers, snaps and applause of an engaged and inspired audience.

Williams noted his students often ask how African Americans were able to withstand so much throughout history. “They did it with love. They did it with song…Dance has always been an integral part of how African Americans expressed their dreams of equality,” Williams said, who was moved by the evening’s performances.

Hubert Sapp, who was a special assistant to King in the early 1960s, recalled his memories of King and his work on behalf of him.

He described his boss as brilliant and people-oriented, and shared how important King’s anti-war stance became to his organizations and to his eventual notoriety. He and Williams noted that while King was willing to compromise, he was very strategic. Before the board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which he headed, voted on their position on the Vietnam War, King told them he’d support their decision but in his capacity as a pastor, he’d continue to utilize any opportunity to speak out against it. The board voted unanimously to oppose the war.

Jane Sapp spoke to the youth in the audience, telling them to “Find that thing that you become so passionate about that you would be unwilling to compromise.

“I’m always excited when I have the opportunity to speak or sing or interact with young people,” Jane Sapp said. “We need you more than ever. We need your energy, your commitment, your voice.”

Source: Debra Flicman, BrandeisNOW



Brandeis Garden Week

Brandeis Garden Week, a week full of plants and volunteering, is ending today. Brandeis Garden Week is a campus-wide initiative to increase awareness of urban agriculture and garden education.
This past week, there have been indoor garden displays in the Shapiro Campus Center atrium, the Shapiro Science Center lobby, and Goldfarb Library. The displays were a successful hit for students, and they show that even in the cold weather, we can garden inside!
About a week and a half ago, there was a bike tour of Waltham gardens, ending at Waltham Fields Community Farm where there was a bicycle-powered cider press! The event was sponsored by DeisBikes and was a great opportunity for students to enjoy the fall weather and be outside.
Last Wednesday, students went to the Waltham Fields Community Farm to spend the morning working outside in the community.
Today is Brandeis Garden Week’s final event, which is a cooking event with Sodexo cosponsored by HSSP and Brandeis Pluralism Alliance. The event is free for the students who are meal plans and $10 otherwise. If you would like to attend, it is not too late! The event is from 4:30 to 6:00 pm and you can sign up here.
As Brandeis Garden Week is ending, we are reminded not only how important and healthy it is to have locally grown foods, but also how much fun it is!

Russia’s Arctic Oil Rig

The Russian government and the Greenpeace organization are arguing over the Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Arctic. The rig is owned by Gazprom, a Russian state-owned company. The base of the rig is so heavy that it cannot be moved, and it sits about 20 meters (66 feet) deep on a seabed.

The issue with the rig is not its structure. Instead, it is the possibility of a spill in the Arctic waters. Campaigners say that “the nature here is unique,” as the animals, such as polar bears, walruses, and narwhals, have nowhere else to go if there is a spill. The arctic ocean has two narrow entrances to the remaining oceans: one by Iceland and the other by Alaska. Therefore, there is little mixing with other seas, causing oil spills to stay in the Arctic. Also, an oil spill would be catastrophic because of the low temperatures in the north. In tropical waters, oil becomes absorbed readily by bacteria and other microorganisms. These microorganisms do not live in cold waters, so the oil would stay in the Arctic for about 100 years. Companies also do not have the technology to collect spilled oil under ice.

Gazprom claims that they have extremely safe measures intact. The rig is in shallow water, enabling the wellhead to be inside the rig. There is also a cut-off system  that offloads the oil into tanks. There are detections on the tanks to detect movement, and if there is too much movement by a factor such as ice, oil stops flowing. The company also claims that they could clean up a spill under the ice by using icebreakers. Two icebreakers are near the rig, which would enable skimmers to enter the water and clean oil if needed.

The safety measurements are not enough for Greenpeace activists, who repeatedly attempt to climb the rig in protest. By climbing the rig, the activists are creating risk to the rig’s possibility of spilling. Workers have even started to spray the rig with fire hoses while the activists attempt to climb up, but the activists claim that the use of inflatable boats and lightweight ropes deters them from being a threat.

This year, when 30 Greenpeace activists attempted to climb the rig, the FSB, Russia’s federal security service, pulled the activists off, pointed guns at them, and opened fire onto the water. The activists are now in jail with charges of “piracy as part of an organized group.” The Netherlands, where the Greenpeace ship that went to the Arctic is registered, is currently challenging the arrests with an argument of the “Convention of the Law of the Sea.”

View the full article here.

 Russia Oil Rig

The Black-Jew Dialogues

The Black-Jew Dialogues is coming to Brandeis!

What’s so funny about two US American marginalized groups that have slavery, the KKK, and chicken livers in common? 

That’s what you’ll find out in this extraordinary two-actor play on the history and absurdity of prejudice and racism and the power of tough conversations that push us closer to coexistence. The Black-Jew Dialogues combines fast-paced sketches, improvisations, multi-media, puppets and a game show to create a show that has gained praise across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. at universities, high schools, synagogues, and theaters.

Where: Lown Auditorium

When: November 14, 9:30 PM

Entrance is FREE!

View the trailer here. Hope to see you there!


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