CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The Black Lives Matter movement has challenged US society to recognize police violence against Blacks, as well as systemic racism in our courts, schools, businesses, and cultural institutions. Four centuries of violence and systemic oppression demand exposure, action, and change.
A virtual public forum organized by the Zoravik Activist Collective on July 20 will explore the Black and Armenian experience, including a shared history of subjugation, violence, exclusion, and denial. But whereas, once arrived in the US, Armenians were eventually allowed to fully engage as members of this society because of their “white” race, due to a sequence of oppressive systems (slavery, Jim Crow, and the post-Civil Rights neo-racist order), the race line has consistently prevented this for Blacks.
Recognizing that Armenians have a singular vantage point from which to witness anti-Black racism in our adopted home, panelists will focus on what the Black Lives Matter movement can and should mean for white Armenians and others in the US today, and will advise on how to take responsibility and action.
The panelists include Dr. Richard Reddick, Dr. Aram Goudsouzian, Kohar Avakian, Levon Brunson, Anaïs DerSimonian, and Carene Mekertichyan. The forum will be moderated by Dr. Henry Theriault and Dr. Laure Astourian.
Richard Reddick, Ph.D. is Associate Dean for Equity, Community Engagement, and Outreach in The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education, Richard Reddick is responsible for equity and inclusion-related initiatives supporting faculty, staff, and students in the college and serves as one of the college’s Title IX liaisons and chair of the college’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Reddick is author, co-author, and co-editor of numerous books, peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and opinion pieces. His main areas of research interest are the lives of Black academics, including their approach to work-life balance, service, teaching, and research responsibilities, and their experiences mentoring students. Additionally, Reddick maintains scholarly interests in diversity in higher education, African American families, and educational policy. Reddick’s scholarship has been featured by NPR, the BBC, the Associated Press, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Reddick also serves on the editorial boards of Urban Education and the Journal of Higher Education.
Aram Goudsouzian is Professor of History at the University of Memphis. A historian of the twentieth-century United States with a particular focus on race, politics, and culture, he is the author of five books, including Down to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Against Fear (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2014); King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution (University of California Press, 2010); and Sidney Poitier: Man, Actor, Icon (University of North Carolina Press, 2004).