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2022 Graduate Student Fellows Cohort

Keish Lozano

Keish Lozano
Juana Hernández y las Mujeres Tejiendo Sueños y Sabores de Paz:
Afro-Colombian Quilting Tradition as Activism and Healing

This project focuses on the activist Juana Ruíz Hernández as part of the organization Mujeres Tejiendo Sueños y Sabores de Paz (ASVIDAS) of the Afro-Colombian community in Mampuján, Bolívar. This women's collective formed following the displacement of the community as a result of a three-year period of violent warfare between the AUC and the FARC as they fought for control of the territory between the years of 1997 to 2000. By following founding member Juana Ruíz Hernández's work, the project will document ASVIDAS' collective actions as advocates and activists for the displaced people of Mampuján in the years following this violence and carrying through to their impact in the present day. The project seeks to frame the collective quilting practices of ASVIDAS as a specific Afro-Colombian, feminist, community-based response to violence, while also demonstrating how this form of activism can be referenced as an alternate mode of healing and storytelling for Latinx and Afro-Latinx peoples. The research will culminate in two parts: a paper documenting and analyzing Juana Ruíz Hernández and ASVIDAS' work, expanding into an examination of the process and purpose of quilting as a tool to rewrite narratives and respond to violence; and a handstitched quilt in the Mampuján tradition, created as an ongoing community project at DePaul.

Shamem Razack

Shameem Razack
Dr. Betty Shabazz and Clara Muhammad's Intellectual Contributions to
the Black Freedom Movement

This digital archive research project will expand on scholarship regarding the role of Black women and Black American Islam within the Black Freedom Movement in the United States. Through a comparative analysis of Dr. Betty Shabazz and Clara Muhammad, both Muslim women active as leaders in the Black Freedom Movement, the project will explore how Black Muslim women's intellectual contributions were influential and foundational within the Black Freedom Movement. In analyzing Shabazz and Muhammad's activism and retelling their narratives, the project articulates their political investments towards liberation as challenging anti-Blackness and anti-Muslim racism. The research project will engage the primary questions: 1.) How did Dr. Betty Shabazz and Clara Muhammad utilize education as a vehicle of social change? 2.) How are the intellectual contributions of Dr. Betty Shabazz and Clara Muhammad influential to the Black Freedom Movement and contemporary social movements? 3.) How are both women's intellectual contributions as educators and caregivers broadly connected to a legacy of Black Feminist praxis?

Rumi Rivera Lovato

Rumi Rivera-Lovato
Unsettling Graduate Social Work Education at DePaul University

This project uses student narratives to explore how graduate students in the Department of Social Work at DePaul University learn about settler colonialism. Settler colonialism refers to the structure through which Native peoples are removed in order to facilitate outsiders' access to territory. Therefore, settler colonialism is a driving force perpetuating white supremacy that targets Native peoples for discrimination and genocide. The Council on Social Work Education enforces nine Social Work competencies in their accreditation process, including “Engaging Diversity and Difference in Practice" and “Advance Human Rights in Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice." This project therefore argues that it is essential that the Department of Social Work at DePaul University include education around settler colonialism. Through a series of group interviews, approximately six currently enrolled students in the Department of Social Work discuss how the Master of Social Work program includes settler colonialism in curricula. Based on these narratives, potential strengths and gaps are identified in assessing the nature and scope of the Department's approach to education in this regard. Recommendations for change in curricula will be articulated. The primary researcher may, thereafter, advocate that the findings of this project be considered as the Department prepares to renew their accreditation through the Council on Social Work Education in 2023.

Paul Mireles

Paul Mireles
We Keep Us Safe: A Dialogue on the Extent to which Gang Culture
and Revolutionary Groups Culture Must Go to Protect Marginalized Folks.

The focus of this project is to understand the connection between civil rights movements in Chicago and Chicago street gangs in both the Brown and Black communities. Civil rights activism and street gangs may seem to be worlds apart, having no common ground, but they have a deep and rich history within Chicago. During the late 50s and 60s, street gangs in Chicago began to develop in Brown and Black urban communities throughout the city as a result of systemic issues, police brutality and racism. At the same time, civil rights movements in these communities were fighting the same struggle in different ways. During the 60s a Puerto Rican street gang known as the Young Lords went from a turf gang to a political movement, during the same time that Chairman Fred Hampton, Sr., of the Chicago Black Panthers was working with gangs in his community to form a political movement. While many people looked down on Brown and Black street gangs, leaders such as José “Cha Cha” Jiménez, Chairman of the Young Lords Organization and Fred Hampton Sr. realized that gangs were a direct response to the systemic failing​s of the American government.