Books, Books, and Books: A Social Justice Reading List

Nikita Srivastava (’19)

Throughout my time working with the Center for Race, Gender and Social Justice, I’ve been exposed to amazing concepts that reflect on issues affecting our society.

I personally love researching for fun, but not everyone shares that love … or the same views I do. If you want to engage your mind, then I recommend the following books:

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Dean Verna Williams and Michelle Obama (image from Cincinnati.com)

Becoming by Michelle Obama

In her memoir, the former First Lady takes us on a journey to the White House. Mrs. Obama debunks many false rumors by sharing her life story. She elegantly describes every hurdle, obstacle, failure, mistake, and success she has encountered thus far. And, while describing her White House years, Mrs. Obama gives special thanks to our very own Interim Dean, Verna L. Williams. Check it out!

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The Hamilton County Domestic Violence Summit: Collaborating for Safer Communities

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Guest Contributor: Professor Kristin Kalsem

Intimate partner abuse is a priority issue for the University of Cincinnati College of Law’s Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice.  Its Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic has served more than 1400 survivors and its research and work with community partners has resulted in more than 375 judges and magistrates being trained on best practices in these cases.

Intimate partner abuse is a fact of life in too many homes.  The statistics are staggering.  Domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive more than 20,000 calls on a typical day.  Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime and one in three female murder victims are killed by intimate partners. The cost of domestic violence to the U.S. economy is between $5.8 and $12.6 billion each year.  (Stats provided by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence).  In Ohio, between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, there were ninety-one domestic-violence related fatalities.   In 22 percent of those cases, children were involved at the scene and in more than 46 percent of the cases, the victim had ended or was in the process of ending the relationship.  (Ohio stats provided by the Ohio Domestic Violence Network.)

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Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation: The Dangerous New Narrative.

Nikita Srivastava (’19)

The_Boy_Who_Cried_Wolf_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_19994We’re all told at some point the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. A young boy would repeatedly and continuously cry wolf when no wolf was present. His village would panic and run to his rescue but found the boy with no wolf. The villagers always ran to his rescue when no wolf was present. Eventually, the villagers collectively decided that when the boy cried wolf, they would not come to the boy’s rescue. One day, the boy saw a wolf. Scared and alone, he cried wolf – no one showed up. The boy died, eaten by a wolf.

The moral of the story: don’t lie or you’ll die. Women were treated like the boy who cried wolf. When women scream “sexual assault,” they were met with disbelief.  However, after the confirmation hearing for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, that narrative changed significantly. Women are no longer met with disbelief, but rather ignorance of their experience. John Oliver said it best on his show Last Week Tonight: “it is not that women aren’t believed, [society] simply does not care.” The narrative now changed to not caring about a woman’s harassment/abuse/assault. Ultimately, this dangerous new narrative will cause more harm to women. By not caring, society will accept that women face sexual harassment, or have been assaulted, but won’t take action against it. By taking this stance, we are basically saying to women, “hey, you got harassed/assaulted/abused? Well, you’re going have to deal with that because you’re a woman. No one is going to help you. Your abuser won’t get punished or reprimanded for it.”

Continue reading “Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation: The Dangerous New Narrative.”

The Real Problem With Snitches: How Snitch Testimony Leads to Wrongful Convictions

The Karl and Wayne Story

Nikita Srivastava (’19)

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Karl Willis

Honest, kind, and passionate. These are only a few words I can use to describe Karl Willis and Wayne Braddy. Karl is a spiritual man who started a mentoring program called “Leave the Streets Behind.” The goal of this program is to help misguided young adults become healthy and productive citizens. Wayne, on the other hand, is a creative man who performs live music whenever he gets the chance. Both of these men jump at any opportunities to expand their education and help others. Karl and Wayne are warm, humble men who care about their families and communities. They share their joy with their loved ones; they want to help others; but, more importantly, they care about making a difference in their community. Where are they today?

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Wayne Braddy

Karl is currently housed at Allen Correctional Institution in Lima, Ohio, and Wayne is housed at North Central Correctional Complex in Marion, Ohio. Both are serving 23 years to life sentence for a murder they did not commit.

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Litigating Sexual Harassment Cases

Guest Contributor: Sandra F. Sperino

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Professor Sandra Sperino. Image from UC Law’s Website.

The #metoo movement has increased the focus on sexual harassment cases and how courts analyze them. One way to increase the reach of harassment law is hidden in plain sight: the text of Title VII itself.

Title VII, the federal law that prohibits harassment based on race, sex, and other protected traits, has two main provisions.  Under Title VII’s first provision, it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to do the following:

(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

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The Sex Talk: Campus Sexual Assault Project

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Image from Cincinnati Enquirer

Starting Sunday August 5, Kate Murphy and Meg Vogel’s project called The Sex Talk video series will be published by The Cincinnati Enquirer and USA Today. The video series focuses on the conversation that is not happening about campus sexual assault.

The Sex Talk comprises of ten videos that look at the epidemic of campus sexual assault in a new way by creating an honest digital conversation with people who are on the front lines and different sides of the issue.

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Gays, Bans, and Unions: The Supreme Court’s Eventful Summer

Nikita Srivastava (’19)

2018.06.04_SCOTUS_Rally,_Masterpiece_Cake_Case,_Washington,_DC_USA_02750_(41662234545)The Summer of 2018 gave Americans unpredictable weather, new celebrity romances, and, of course, a lot of Supreme Court decisions. After months of waiting, the Supreme Court released three opinions that will greatly effect American History. These are the major cases that caught American’s attention: Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Trump v, Hawaii, and Janus v. American Federation of State County, and Municipal Employees.

The Supreme Court of the United States in Masterpiece v. Colorado ruled 7-2 in favor of the Colorado Baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. However, the Court made a narrow decision leaving room open for a larger question: whether businesses can discriminate against gay individuals based on the rights protected in the First Amendment.

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