Tobias Jimenez spent his childhood in the type of settlement that he and his colleague Sean Anderson are now striving to improve.
The structures “have no electricity,” Jimenez says. “None have potable water. They’re not connected to the sewer. It’s not sanitary.”
Jimenez (’17 Arch., ’19 M.Arch.) was born in Pasco but moved to Colima, Mexico, with his parents as an infant. They raised him in an informal settlement— “like a favela,” he explains—on the city’s outskirts. “You’re focusing on surviving. You’re spending most of your time and energy trying to meet your basic needs. Living there is one of the reasons I decided to … » More …
Hunting and rodeoing, playing football and singing in the school choir. For Charles Hudson ’84, growing up in the ’60s and ’70s on the Ft. Berthold Indian Reservation in rural North Dakota also meant listening to stories from his Hidatsa mother and white rancher father. One of them was about a huge flood — and it wasn’t a myth.
Six years before Hudson was born, construction of the Garrison Dam submerged 550,000 acres of Hidatsa, Mandan, and Arikara (the Three Affiliated Tribes) land, resulting in Lake Sakakawea and forcing hundreds of families to flee, including Hudson’s. The tragedy only inspired his parents to triumph over it.
… » More …
Dozens of witnesses, including a police officer, saw Walter McMillian at a church fish fry when a young woman was killed in nearby Monroeville, Alabama in 1986.
Police later arrested the self-employed African-American tree trimmer anyway. A nearly all-white jury convicted him and a judge sent him to death row. That’s where Bryan Stevenson, a Harvard-educated lawyer, met McMillian.
Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, battled a hostile criminal justice system to uncover improperly concealed evidence that led to McMillian’s exoneration in 1993.
But the frightening way McMillian was so quickly condemned raises broader questions about America’s criminal justice system, which incarcerates more … » More …
Ronald F. Marshall ’71
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013
What is today the West Seattle Food Bank started as a shoestring operation in an abandoned public school building. A pair of retired grocers from South Dakota had taken on responsibility for distributing government commodities like cheese and peanut butter to needy community members.
Thirty years later, the food bank owns its own building, serves an average of 750 families a week, … » More …
“As a form of social punishment, homelessness is far sterner in many respects than sentences handed out in court for most criminal offenses,” writes Desiree Hellegers, an associate professor of English and founding co-director of the Center for Social and Environmental Justice at WSU Vancouver, in her introduction. In presenting the individual stories of 15 women in Seattle collected over two decades, Hellegers offers a … » More …
In the middle of the last century, a Tennessee preacher-turned-sociologist, Tolbert H. Kennedy, found a relatively untapped pool of doctoral students among the nation’s black college graduates. Between 1944 and 1965, when Washington State University barely had a few dozen black students, he and fellow ex-preacher Wallis Beasley helped produce more black doctors of sociology than all but two schools, the University of Chicago and Ohio State.
Among them was a young man who went from the hardscrabble coal country of western Pennsylvania to graduate first in his class at Wilberforce, the oldest black college in the country, and get a master’s degree at Bowling … » More …
David Simon, creator of gritty urban HBO drama The Wire, received the William Julius Wilson Award for the Advancement of Social Justice in September 2011. The award is named after eminent Harvard sociologist and Washington State University alumnus William Julius Wilson ’66 PhD.
When accepting the award at WSU, Simon spoke about building a just and equitable society, and the difficulties in achieving that goal.
You can read more about Simon’s visit to campus in “The Wire: Urban drama, gritty reality, and Soc 496 ‘textbook’”
Time: 1 hr. 57 min.
Note: The video contains expletives.
Video courtesy KWSU