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    Introduction

    Issues vs. Problems

    Explanation of Terms

    We believe that there is an important distinction between Issues and Problems.  

    Issues are broad topics that contain multiple smaller, specific concerns.  Education, for example, is an issue.  Homelessness or Hunger, LGBTQIA Rights, Racial Equity: these are all broad categories that we call Issues.  

    Problems are specific challenges within a larger issue area.  Problems often have clear geographic boundaries, and sometimes they refer to specific subpopulations.  

    For example, if the Issue is Education, perhaps the problem is Inadequate Teacher Pay in Colorado.  Or even more specifically, Inadequate Teacher Pay in School District 11.   

    We distinguish between issues and problems for a number of reasons.  

    1. We encourage students, staff, faculty, and community partners to co-create an understanding of what they will work on, and how they will do their work together. Moving from large, abstract issues to concrete problems often clarifies what we can do together - and how we might do it. This also allows individuals to share what they see as the specific problem to be addressed - but encourages group consensus on a problem they can tackle together.
    1. Secondly, identifying a specific problem often leads to very specific actions.  These actions can be mapped on to a timeline, and it's possible to later measure whether your actions were successful. 

    In short, articulating a clear problem allows groups to organize around a solution.

    To use the example of Inadequate Teacher Pay in School District 11, A group would need to determine:  

    • Why who makes decisions about teacher pay? 
    • What actions might be taken to influence these decision makers? 
    • Who will take these actions? 
    • When will these actions be taken? 
    • Were our actions successful? 

    The term "Issue" is a neutral one: our world, all nations, all states, all regions and cities have issues.

    We call the particular challenges we face "Problems" because it suggests we can solve them.

    In the CCE, we believe that we can work together to solve specific problems related to big issues and contribute to a more just and equitable world.

    Exploration

    Below are suggestions of readings, films, and other media sources that can serve as an introduction to the main issue-areas used for our CCE coalitions

    ** Kanopy Instructions: To watch a film on Kanopy, sign in using your CC ID information, and you will have access to a whole database of streaming films. (If you do not have a CC ID, you can log in to Kanopy using any public library card information.) Once logged in, click on the “Browse” tab at the top and filter the films according to your preferences. Documentaries about issues you care about and population(s) you want to work with or learn more about are great places to start. Otherwise, we have compiled some issue-based selections below. 

    Index:

    1. Racial Equity

    2. K-12 Education & Youth Organizing

    3. Gender & Sexuality

    4. Health & Accessibility

    5. Environment & Ecology

    6. Immigrant & Refugee Justice

    7. Criminal Justice

    8. Poverty & Inequity

    9. Political Advocacy


    Racial Equity

    Documentary Films

    Kanopy

    1. I Am Not Your Negro - James Baldwin and Race in America is a critically-acclaimed documentary about institutional racism in the U.S., through author and activist James Baldwin’s writings
    2. The documentary White Like Me - Race, Racism & White Privilege in America is also streaming on Kanopy; this one is narrated by a race educator and activist
    3. Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools compares the crucial inequities between how Black girls and non-black, though especially white, girls are treated by the public schools meant to support their growth, learning, and development, and articulates the case for why Black girls, as opposed to Black youth in general, need to be prioritized, talked about, and supported intentionally in order to truly support gender equality and racial justice movements. 
    Presentations, Panels, & Short Clips
    1. How to Build an Anti-Racist World talk with leading anti-racist author and Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University Ibram X. Kendi 
    2. The Path to Ending Systemic Racism in the US TED conversation with Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, Rashad Robinson, Dr. Bernice King, and Anthony D. Romero
    3. Purdue is hosting a Racial Justice series this year featuring experts from around the U.S., open to all! You can find more information about their upcoming events here.
    Podcast Episodes & Series
    1. 1619, a podcast series hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones from The New York Times, unravels the dark legacy of slavery in the U.S. from a historical and contemporary perspective
    2. The Good Ancestor Podcast, hosted by Layla F. Saad, bestselling author and anti-racism educator, features guest speakers and touches on a wide array of subjects around race, identity, leadership, and more
    3. Shine Brighter Together podcast series by educator Monique Melton
    4. White Lies podcast series from NPR, focused on journalistic efforts to find justice for the murder of Rev. James Reed in Selma, Alabama (a case study with implications for our our country’s history and present)
    5. Uncivil podcast series sharing the stories left out of history books from the time of the Civil War in the U.S. 
    6. “Notice the Rage; Notice the Silence” an individual podcast episode featuring therapist and trauma specialist Resmaa Menakem with the series “On Being” with Krista Tippett
    7. A podcast episode from Brené Brown with leading anti-racist author and Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist
    8. Nice White Parents, a 5-part podcast series that covers the history of a Brooklyn-based public school over the course of 60+ years, offers an in-depth, well analyzed story about the racial inequities that remain central in our U.S. public school system, and the ways we may begin to address these issues, together. With insightful discussion on modern-day school segregation and failed political and organizing efforts, and special attention to the role that middle-aged white parents play in the way our public schools run in the U.S., this podcast is certain to captivate your interest and catapult your involvement in education-based racial equity pursuits. 
    9. This Land is a podcast series covering “two crimes nearly two centuries apart” that have “provided the backbone to a 2020 Supreme Court decision” made recently, in July, determining the fate of five tribes and a huge amount of land in Wyoming. 
    10. The land is still here': A Black farmer's fight for his legacy during Covid-19 focuses on one farmer profiled in Kamau Bell’s United Shades of America
    11. Black in Appalachia podcast series: “Having long been in this region, Black Appalachians remain mostly invisible, while the dominant narratives of Appalachia depict an overwhelming, white cultural homogeneity...Through historical and contemporary stories of people, places and experiences, hosts Enkeshi El-Amin and Angela Dennis interrogate what it means to be Black in Appalachia, creating space where under-told stories can be heard and Black identity can be reclaimed.”
    12. Code Switch: “Race, in your Face”
    Websites, Databases & Newsletters 
    1. The Great Unlearn website featuring Rachel Cargle’s resources and work
    2. Anti-Racism Daily newsletter from Nicole Cardoza
    3. Article from the Associated Press: Native Americans Want to be Included in Race Talks
    4. First Peoples Worldwide: helpful database covering the history of the Indigenous Movement and overview of big goals for the Movement
    5. Native News Online website with up-to-date news articles covering Native American-related issues nationwide 


    K-12 Education/Youth Organizing

    Podcast Episodes & Series

    1. Nice White Parents, a 5-part podcast series that covers the history of a Brooklyn-based public school over the course of 60+ years, offers an in-depth, well analyzed story about the racial inequities that remain central in our U.S. public school system, and the ways we may begin to address these issues, together. With insightful discussion on modern-day school segregation and failed political and organizing efforts, and special attention to the role that middle-aged white parents play in the way our public schools run in the U.S., this podcast is certain to captivate your interest and catapult your involvement in education-based pursuits. 
    2. Making the Grade by Dr. Laurie Santos as a part of her podcast series called “The Happiness Lab” explores the idea that external motivators (like academic grades, candy rewards for kids, etc) are not actually helping us be successful
    3. "What will the new school year look like? Start with unequal” podcast episode from Kamau Bell’s United Shades of America

    Websites, Databases & Newsletters 

    • Youth Organizing
    1. Rise Get Out the Vote 2020 Organizing Database
    2. Emily J. Ozer, “Youth-Led Participatory Action Research,” In L. A. Jason & D. S. Glenwick (Eds.). (2016). Handbook of methodological approaches to community-based research: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    3. Campaign Plan Checklist
    • Public Achievement-Specific
    1. Public Achievement Core Concepts
    2. Public Achievement CCE Website
    3. PA video on project of  installing a stoplight


    Gender & Sexuality 

    Documentary Films

    Kanopy

    1. The Mask You Live In and Miss Representation are both movies that have been screened at Colorado College in years prior, and offer critical perspectives on gender socialization and inequality in the current U.S. culture.  These are quite popular documentaries.
    2. Anita: Speaking Truth to Power chronicles the journey of Anita Hill as she testified against Clarence Thomas’ conduct as a then Supreme Court nominee, with accusations of sexual harassment in the workplace.  As one of the first nationally televised events relating to topics of Gender-Based Violence, this congressional hearing catapulted the U.S. into a forced confrontation of unspoken truths about gendered power. 
    3. Living Thinkers: An Autobiography of Black Women in the Ivory Tower features the life histories and reflections from Black women working in higher education.  While sharing about their childhoods, time in grade school and college, and their current trials and tribulations in their university positions, these women’s collective stories represent a narrative that is less often heard, and offer a nuanced journey into racial history in the U.S. 
    4. Abortion has remained a contentious and pressing issue in American and global politics for many years, due to the moral, religious, and rights-based associated perspectives. Abortion: Stories Women Tell from HBO channels this debate through powerful storytelling from women both utilizing Hope Clinic’s services in Illinois, and fighting against them.

    Podcast Episodes & Series


    Health & Accessibility

    Presentations, Panels, & Short Clips

    1. “What Makes a Good Life?” Researcher Robert Waldinger discusses the importance of strong social connection in the making of a good life, as he explains findings from one of the longest running studies on human happiness in history. 
    2. Check out this list of 11 TED Talks relating to burnout from Business Insider.

    Podcast Episodes & Series

    1. In The Happiness Lab, Yale Professor Dr. Laurie Santos shares her latest research findings and stories related to human happiness, helping inform the way we approach our own lives.
    2. The mental health benefits of storytelling for health care workers” by Laurel Braitman, a TedTalk Daily podcast that talks about the importance of storytelling for stress-relief.
    3. “Maria Town: Disability Rights are LGBTQ+ Rights” is a podcast interview with an activist and community organizer focused on the intersection between the Disability Rights Movement & the LGBTQ+ Rights Movement.
    4. The land is still here': A Black farmer's fight for his legacy during Covid-19 focuses on one farmer profiled in Kamau Bell’s United Shades of America
    5. The United States' Pre-Existing Conditions: a podcast episode discussing the “sickness” of certain structures in the U.S.

    Websites, Databases & Newsletters 

    1. American Public Health Association has a list of relevant articles around the topic of intersections between systemic racism and public health disparities in the U.S.
    2. News story about a medical student creating a book to compare how rashes, diseases, etc show up on darker skin as opposed to white skin, which is the “norm” for teaching


    Environment & Ecology

    Documentary Films

    Kanopy

    1. Anthropocene: The Human Epoch - How Humans Have Impacted the Planet and Climate Refugees are both documentaries that focus on the relationship between social and environmental changes
    2. Tomorrow covers multiple global case studies revolving around the restoration of democracy and economies through grassroots efforts; a critic’s pick from the NY Times and a relevant watch during these times of COVID-19


    Immigrant & Refugee Justice

    Podcast Episodes & Series

    1. “The Undocumented Americans" podcast episode about Karla Cornejo Villavicencio’s new book focused on under-documented stories of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
    2. "How DACA Has Transformed The Lives Of Dreamers — And Their Communities” on the US Supreme Court’s decision to uphold DACA (the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals) Program

    Websites, Databases & Newsletters 

    1. Immigration Law
    2. Related News Articles from the Center for American Progress
    3. Immigration 101 from Immigration Impact
    4. Immigration ICE Explained; helpful article from a law office’s perspective


    Criminal Justice

    Documentary Films

    Netflix

    • “13th,” directed by Ava DuVernay, provides an in-depth look at how the the U.S. prison system operates

    Presentations, Panels, & Short Clips

    1. Listen to lawyer, activist, and founder/director of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson’s talk today for his thoughts on the power of reinforced identity and affirmation against injustice, relating to his work with individuals who are incarcerated and on death row. Check it out through this link.
    2. Not quite a Ted Talk, but this is a great short video narrated by John Legend about the effects of money bail as it relates to the US criminal justice system

    Podcast Episodes & Series

    1. The US is addicted to incarceration. Here's how to break the cycle” by Robin Steinberg and Manoush Zomorodi, a TedTalk Daily podcast that covers topics such as bail that are not as often understood or mentioned in the discourse around incarceration.
    2. The podcast series called “Justice in America” from The Appeal, featuring Josie Duffy Rice and Clint Smith III, “is a podcast for everyone interested in criminal justice reform—from those new to the criminal justice system to experts who want to know more.” The first episode? Called “Justice for the Rich, Money Bail,” this first episode talks about the major need for change when it comes to our money bail system in the U.S. 
    3. Police reform: The Case for Defunding the Police podcast episode from the New York Times “The Daily” series
    4. This Land is a podcast series covering “two crimes nearly two centuries apart” that have “provided the backbone to a 2020 Supreme Court decision” made recently, in July, determining the fate of five tribes and a huge amount of land in Wyoming. 
    5. “Confronting the American Way of Policing:” a podcast episode featuring Alex Vitale, a sociologist and police reform advocate
    6. 70 Million, a documentary podcast series focused on criminal justice reform

    Websites, Databases & Newsletters

    1. #EightCantWait Campaign covers 8 steps for police reform that are grounded in research to decrease police violence by 72%; alternatively, the #8ToAbolition Campaign argues that police abolition is the only path forward to reducing violence in our communities 
    2. National bill being drafted by House Democrats for police reform (also this article)
    3. An overview of why the movement is growing
    4. MPD 150, a Minneapolis-based organization looking to abolish police in the city and nation-wide


    Poverty & Inequity

    Documentary Films

    Kanopy

    • “Requiem for the American Dream,” featuring interviews with prominent scholar Noam Chomsky, provides a personalized and accessible introduction to U.S. policies and ideologies that have, and continue to, perpetuate economic inequity

    Netflix

    • If you have a Netflix subscription, the movie “Inequality for All” is an excellent starter for understanding the U.S. economic situation, especially relevant for the current time period.

    Podcast Episodes & Series

    • United Shades of America, featuring host Kamau Bell, focuses on storytelling related to many different communities across the nation and the challenges they face.


    Political Advocacy 

    Documentary Films

    Kanopy

    • Digital Disconnect is an hour-long documentary covering the emergence and  controversy of the internet as it relates to a participatory democracy, and the spread of information. The main theme? How the internet calls into question the clash between capitalism and democracy. 

    Netflix

    • “Knock Down the House,” a documentary streaming on Netflix, covers the story of Alexandria Ocasio-Ortez and three other women who ran for Congress in 2018. Get an inside look at what it takes to make a grassroots campaign successful in this day and age, and learn more about AOC’s personal journey of doing what she and others thought no one else wanted to: challenge the 14-year incumbent candidate of the time and refuse campaign money from big businesses.  

    Presentations, Panels, & Short Clips

    • “The Paradox of Choice,” according to Barry Schwartz, a professor and applied psychologist, relates to the idea that more incentives are not always better, especially in our era of bureaucracy. Watch through this link.

    Podcast Episodes & Series

    • Dolly Parton’s America is an NPR podcast series focused on the “story of a legend at the crossroads of America’s culture wars.”  
    • United Shades of America, featuring host Kamau Bell, focuses on storytelling related to many different communities across the nation and the challenges they face.

    Websites, Databases & Newsletters 

    1. Rise: Get Out the Vote 2020 Organizing Database
    2. “Understanding the Supreme Court’s Seismic Season” video from the Aspen Institute