2021 Teach-In: October 28 and 29
In a nation beset by inequality, racism, a pandemic, and a variety of other challenges, how do we become better citizens? How do we generate actions to address race relations—not just at Emerson, but in this country and around the world? Join us as we explore ways to combine leadership, critical thinking, culture, and activism, and share ideas about using courage and knowledge to change the world.
The 2021 Fall Teach-In on Race will be a virtual two-day event on October 28 and 29. The theme of this year's Teach-In on Race is "Creating Community." It will feature “Drawing Social Justice—How Your Art Can Help Change the World,” a keynote address by Tak Toyoshima, creator of the comic strip Secret Asian Man. Panels with students, faculty, and special guests will follow to encourage meaningful discussion around issues of race and racism on campus and beyond.*
Panel topics include:
- Anti-Asian hate: It’s wrong and it’s racist. Why is that so hard to understand?
- What exactly is Critical Race Theory? Why is it controversial? Is it really taught in schools?
- How do artists address race and identity in their work? What are the advantages and/or disadvantages? What audiences do they hope to reach?
- Does everyone deserve access to education? How might we reimagine justice?
*The keynote address will be available to the public and will be recorded. Panel discussions are reserved especially for the Emerson community.
Tak Toyoshima is the artist/creator of the comic strip Secret Asian Man. Starting as a two-page monthly in a Boston-based arts magazine, Secret Asian Man became a weekly comic strip for the next six years. In the fall of 2006, Secret Asian Man was scouted by United Features Syndicate (Peanuts, Dilbert, and Boondocks) and developed to launch in July of 2007 as the first Asian American comic strip since the days of Bruce Lee and Charlie Chan. Toyoshima has worked on many comic art related projects and publications in support of marginalized communities, including: Secret Identities: An Asian American Superhero Anthology; New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei; APB: Artists Against Police Brutality; and, most recently, Kwok, a self-published short story fundraiser to assist Asian seniors in the wake of the surge of anti-Asian violence. He also teaches a weekly comics and sequential arts class to middle school aged kids in Massachusetts' south shore area. Toyoshima was born and raised in New York City's Tribeca on the borders of SoHo, Chinatown, and Little Italy. This breeding ground for creativity and multi-cultural experiences provided a solid foundation for him to become the confused artist he is today.
Schedule of Events
Thursday, October 28
- 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST | Panel 1: Stop The Violence: Combating Anti-Asian Hate | It’s wrong and it’s racist. Why is that so hard to understand?
- 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST | Panel 2: Critical Race Theory: Tell Us More | What exactly is Critical Race Theory? Why is it controversial? Is it really taught in schools?
- 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST | Panel 3: Race on Stage and Screen | How do theater and film artists address race in their work? What are the advantages and/or disadvantages? What audiences do they hope to reach?
Friday, October 29
- 9:30 a.m. EST | Acknowledgments; SkinTones; Interim President of Emerson College, Bill Gilligan; Introducer; Tak Toyoshima
- 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. EST | Keynote Address: Drawing Social Justice — How Your Art Can Help Change the World by Tak Toyoshima, creator and illustrator of the Secret Asian Man comic strip
- 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. EST | The POWER You Hold: A student-led panel discussing different methods of collective organizing and accountability, followed by an open audience forum detailing what people want to see from us and the school
- 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST | Panel 4: Social Justice, Archives, and Elders with the Elma Lewis Center | Radical Archiving As Black Feminist Time Travel | Conversations with veteran Black community organizers, mutual aid workers, social justice and civil rights activists. What has changed? What work still needs to be done?
- 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST | Panel 5: Race in Storytelling and Art | How do authors and visual artists address race in their work? What are the advantages and/or disadvantages? What audiences do they hope to reach?
- 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST | Panel 6: Teaching and Learning as a Human Right: College in Prison in Massachusetts | Does everyone deserve access to education? Why? Why not? What is prison for? How might we reimagine justice?
If you are an alum and would like to attend the Teach-In, please RSVP here.
About the Teach-In
The Teach-In is an annual academic and creative event, sponsored by Academic Affairs and the President's Office in coordination with the Social Justice Center. Co-sponsors include the Emerson Prison Initiative, the Elma Lewis Center, and the Marlboro Institute.
This event is designed to engage the community in active learning about race and racism. Within this framework and addressing the goals below, each year a theme will be selected and interrogated by members of the campus community through scholarship and creative works.
- To enhance student, faculty, and staff understanding of race, particularly in the U.S., both historically and currently, through participation;
- To build capacity on campus for communicating about matters of race, ethnicity, and identity;
- To enhance a campus climate that supports students, faculty, and staff of color;
- To help the Emerson community engage around issues of race and racism and generate actions that address race relations on this campus and beyond.