SOCIAL JUSTICE INITIATIVES AT TREE

Racial Justice

Community Involvement:  

Continuing the Work of Anti-Racism at TREE Academy

 

Calls to Action Within TREE Academy

  • Clubs & Organizations:

    • Consider joining the Black Student Alliance & Allies Elective at TREE

  • Discussions: 

    • Participate in ongoing discussions about BLM, racism, etc in your History, English, Life Skills, Student Government, and other classes!

    • Consider how Anti-Racism plays a role in our ongoing Social Justice Fridays

  • Donations: 

    • Donate an anti-racist book to the TREE Academy Community/Student Library. Here are some books that are being requested:

      • Between The World and Me

      • This Book is Anti-Racist Ghost Boys

      • The Hate U Give 

      • Stamped 

      • Piecing me together

      • Brown Girl Dreaming

  • Creative Expression:

    • Create a Black Lives Matter or Anti-Racist poster art to be exhibited in the TREE Student Art Gallery.

 

Calls to Action Beyond TREE Academy

  • Conversations at Home: 

    • Have important conversations with friends & family, just like our social justice presentation and breakout sessions

  • Support Black Owned Businesses! 

    • Support Black creators and businesses in your local community. For example, Yelp has compiled a list of Black owned restaurants in LA. Awesome and diverse choices!

    • Check out websites like etsy.com that have put together Black owned businesses that you can support. There is an amazing range of Black artists and creators that sell everything from self-care products to food, eco-friendly materials, art, woodwork, etc!

    • For makeup and beauty product lovers, check out this list of incredible Black owned brands: link here

    • Here are some other websites that help source products from Black owned businesses: 

  • Protests:

    • Consider participating in a protest (first time or ongoing!)

  • Petitions: 

    • Sign up for emails on change.org, learn about and sign petitions on various issues about Black, Indigenous, and People of Color’s experiences. There are petitions that range from raising awareness on people’s experiences with discrimination and injustice, to putting pressure on politicians to take actions that truly address equity and justice. 

  •  Social Media:

    • Diversify your feed, post and share resources that promote BLM education and resources to get involved in/contribute to. There are many organizations and individuals that have social media accounts to keep you informed and updated on BLM, racial justice/injustice. These people can range from non-profits, to artists and scholars.

      • BLM, Instagram @blklivesmatter

      • BLM Los Angeles, Instagram @blmlosangeles

      • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Instagram @naacp

      • Martin Luther King III, Twitter

      • No Whtie Saviors, Instagram @nowhitesaviors 

      • Sonya Renee Taylor (Author), Instagram @sonyareneetaylor

      • Black Excellence Collective (“Organizing hub for & by Black Trans/Queer young people”), Instagram @blackxcollective 

      • Anti-Racism Daily, Instagram @antiracismdaily

      • And more!

  • Donations: 

    • Look for organizations to donate your money (even if it’s $1) or your time:

      • Marsha P. Johnson Institute 

      • Compton Girls Club

  • Take Responsibility for Your Own Learning!

 

Women's Rights

Our intention in this important discussion was to educate and engage students in a meaningful dialogue about women’s rights and why they make a difference for everyone.

 

Our presentation was threefold: First, we provided definitions that we feel are important to understanding the breadth and depth of women’s rights. Second, we debunked common myths about feminism and showed how feminism is beneficial to all people. Third, we honed in on specific women’s rights issues with guidance from our women’s studies students. 

 

Women’s Rights

Feminism

Gender Identity

Sex

Intersectionality

Double Standards

Misogyny

Sexism

Rights that promote a position of legal, economic, and social equality of women with men.

The advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of equality of the sexes and gender

One’s internal, deeply held sense of gender. Some people identify completely with the gender they were assigned at birth (usually male or female), while others may identify with only a part of that gender, or not at all. Some people identify with another gender entirely. Unlike gender expression, gender identity is not visible to others.

At birth, infants are commonly assigned a sex. This is usually based on the appearance of their external anatomy and is often confused with gender. However, a person’s sex is actually a combination of bodily characteristics including chromosomes, hormones, internal and external reproductive organs, and secondary sex characteristics. As a result, there are many more sexes than just male and female, just like there are many more genders than just male and female, as well.

The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage in society.

A set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another example: application of more severe standards of sexual behavior to women than to men.

Hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women

Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on a person's sex or gender. Sexism can affect anyone, but it primarily affects women and girls. It has been linked to stereotypes and gender roles and may include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior to another.

 

Definitions

Misconceptions about Feminism

Additionally, we felt it necessary to explore common misconceptions in feminism that so often prevent people from identifying themselves as “feminists.” Here are our responses to these common misconceptions: 

 

1.  Feminism does NOT advocate granting more rights to women than to men. Feminism works to promote equality of the sexes and genders. 

 

2.  Feminism does NOT only benefit women.

a.  More women in the workforce have boosted the economy since WWII. 

b.  Women were key figures in the Civil Rights Movement promoting racial equality. 

c.  Feminism has challenged how women and men are represented in the media

d.  Feminism supports and encourages men to come forward about the abuses and trauma they have experienced, which have typically been associated with women

e.  Feminism allows everyone to be their most authentic selves

 

​​3.  Feminists need male feminists in this work. Thus, Feminists do NOT hate men or deny their gender and sex identity-related experiences too. The work that has been done, and needs to continue, requires male feminists.​

 

Women's Rights Issues

Finally, we laid out several women’s rights issues still impacting women in 2021. With guidance from our women’s studies students, we focused on the following topics in small group discussions: 

A.  Gender Pay Gap & Sexism in the Workplace

B.  Beauty Expectations & Norms in Society and Online

C.  Abortion & Reproductive Health

D.  Female Intersectionality 

E.  Period Poverty & Menstruation Myths and Stigmas

F.  Women in Politics

G.  Women in Different Cultures 

On behalf of the Social Justice Team, women's studies, and all of us at TREE, thank you for your ongoing support.

 
 

What does LGBTQIA+ stand for?

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (Genderqueer), Intersexed, Agender, Asexual and Ally community.

 

  • Gay: Term used in some cultural settings to represent male-identified who are attracted to males in a romantic and/or emotional sense. 

 

  • Lesbian: Term used in some cultural settings to represent female-identified who are attracted to females in a romantic and/or emotional sense. 

 

  • Bisexual: A person emotionally and/or physically attracted to males/men and females/women.

 

  • Transgender: A person who lives as a member of a gender other than that expected based on anatomical sex. Sexual orientation varies and is not dependent on gender identity.

 

  • Queer: An umbrella term which embraces a matrix of sexual preferences, orientations, and habits of the not-exclusively-heterosexual-and-monogamous majority.

 

  • Intersexed: Individuals born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones or genitals that do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies.

 

  • Agender: Individuals who do not identify themselves as having a particular gender.

 

  • Ally Community: Someone who confronts heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, heterosexual and gender straight privilege in themselves and others; has a concern for the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex people; and a belief that heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are social justice issues.

 

Homophobia and Transphobia

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

 

ARTICLE 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood.

ARTICLE 7: All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

 

However, homophobia and transphobia are still rooted in our society.

 

Homophobia is the fear, hatred, discomfort with, or mistrust of people who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual, or any person who doesn’t identify themselves with the traditional sexual orientation.

 

Transphobia is the fear, hatred, disbelief, or mistrust of people who are transgender, thought to be transgender, or whose gender expression doesn’t conform to traditional gender roles. ​

What are the physiological impacts of homophobia and transphobia?

  • According to the Planned Parenthood organization, in addition to several psychological studies, those individuals who suffer homophobia and/or transphobia (to a greater or lesser extent), can be gravely impactful both psychologically and physically. 

 

Some of the psychological consequences include:

  • Depression

  • Isolation

  • Fear

  • Feelings of hopelessness

  • Anxiety

  • Eating disorders

  • Low self-esteem

  • Addictions

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Inappropriate language

 

Some words are so rooted in our daily lexicon that we use them without knowing they are offensive and can make other people feel uncomfortable, hurt and/or humiliated. The use of certain words are in fact homophobic/transphobic acts. 

 

Awareness of everyone's sexual orientation and gender identity is incredibly important when interacting with individuals. We never know if someone (who may even belong to our circle of friends) is being affected indirectly or directly by our comments, and thus, awareness is important to best support each other. Also, people who themselves do not identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community sometimes have friends, family and beloved ones who do identify as LGBTQIA+. These people can feel very hurt if someone uses incorrect terminology or inappropriate words.

 

Individuals who feel part of the community have reported having experienced traumas that can have grave consequences such as the ones listed before (depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts).

 

Pronouns

What are pronouns?

 

We use a pronoun instead of a noun when referring to someone instead of saying their name. Ex. He, She, They…

 

Why do pronouns matter:

 

In English (as in some other languages), some pronouns (he/she) refer to a person’s gender. For queer, gender non-conforming, non-binary, and transgender people, these pronouns may not fit. Using the incorrect pronoun can create discomfort, and cause stress, anxiety, and low self-esteem...

For some transgender youth, being referred to with the incorrect pronoun can increase feelings of depression and suicide.

 

Having trouble understanding why this would upset someone? Think about your pronoun (he/she/they). Imagine someone calling you the one you don’t think of yourself as. Now, imagine them doing it over and over and over again - even after you’ve corrected them. It may not feel so good.

 

What to do if you make a mistake and use the incorrect pronoun?

It's okay, we all make mistakes! The best thing you can do is apologize, correct yourself for next time, and move on quickly. If you make a mistake in front of a group of people, you may want to apologize to the person in private later on. Then, use the correct pronoun next time.

 

Two-Spirit People

Some Native American/Alaskan communities have traditionally assumed the idea that some of their members are “TWO SPIRIT” people.

 

Some of these communities understand Two-Spirit people as a person who combines both men and women activities, traditionally assigned to one of those genders.

 

However, in most of the communities, these people are not considered men nor women. They have an alternative gender status. In some Native American tribes, they considered a fourth gender status.

 

Two-Spirit people held a meaningful place in the sacred hoop. In many tribes, Two Spirits were balance keepers. Thought to be the “dusk” between the male morning and the female evening.

 

It is important to understand this is not a new-age movement from the 21st century. This is an identity that has been inherent in several Native American tribes throughout history.

 

What is queer visibility?

Queer visibility is a social movement that advocates for the normalization of sexual diversity and fights for the right to be yourself and be proud of it.

Why is queer visibility important?

  • Queer visibility is meaningful and important. It helps stop sexual stereotypes and clichés that the LGBTQIA+ community endures. For instance, the cliché of a gay man who is feminine and frivolous.

  • Queer visibility also embraces diversity and respect for other peoples’ identities and orientations.

 

Famous people who gave visibility to the LGBTQIA+ community include:

 

  • Ellen Degeneres, who came out as a gay woman in 1997, one of the pioneers for the Coming Out Movement. She opened the door for other women to express their identity and sexual orientations freely.

 

  • Pete Buttigieg, who is the first openly gay major party candidate for President; and the first openly gay Cabinet Member.

 

 

  • Tammy Baldwin, the first lesbian and first out member of the LGBT community to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

 

  • Lucy Hicks Anderson, a transgender activist who was a pioneer for marriage equality in the 20th century.

 

What can we as individuals, and as a community, do to stop discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people?

  • One starting point is to create awareness. It is our duty to help people understand how this is a real issue and how behind the LGBTQIA acronym are people who have the right to be themselves without being discriminated against, judged or insulted.

 

  • TREE Academy has created a GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) where LGBTQIA+ members and allies can attend and have conversations in a supportive and encouraging environment. Everyone is invited to be part of this.

 

  • Getting rid of prejudice. It is important to accept that every individual has their own identity and sexuality which is both personal and unique.

 

  • Same-sex marriage is legal in only 29 countries worldwide, which represents less than 15% of the world.  Same-sex sexual activity is a crime in 70 countries. In at least 7 of these countries, being gay is punishable by death. Therefore, it is critical to demand governments and the United Nations to provide legal protection for those people who are being tortured, incarcerated and executed because of their sexual orientation.

 

Think cReate Engage Empower

CONTACT

Please contact us for more information, or to arrange a tour.

TREE Academy

8628 Holloway Drive

West Hollywood, CA 90069​​

​​Tel: 424.204.5165​

© 2020 Academy for the Creative Arts, New Technology and Social Justice

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