By Carley Crain
On Tuesday night over Zoom the Springfield College community welcomed sociologist, author and activist Eve Ewing, who specializes in urban policy and contemporary racism in America. Ewing has devoted her entire career to social justice and has created multiple professional identities. Ewing focused her Zoom lecture on her writing and sociology work.
The evening started with a short introduction from professor Katherine Dugan and then Ewing moved into her career. Ewing explained that she was a public school teacher and worked with middle school aged students in the early stages of her career. She quickly learned that it’s okay to have multiple professional identities, and decided she wanted to pursue writing and sociology.
She decided to combine her interests of sociology, research and writing into creating unique comics. Her comics focus on adolescents and social issues in Chicago, since that is the city she calls home. She has also found that her comics tend to have predominantly young characters, as her career wouldn’t have taken off if she did not start out in public education.
“As a Black woman within academia I am very aware all the time that the academic spaces are not really made for me. My path has been forged by many people who have come before me who were determined to do their work in a way that felt good and accountable,” explained Ewing.
Ewing has also taken a great interest in the recent closings of many public schools in Chicago. All of these schools had a majority of Black students and teachers, which is very rare today. She expressed how concerning these closings are for the city of Chicago and how personal this is for her, since Ewing knows how hard Black children have it in Chicago.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Parents, teachers and community members were not just protesting school closures, but they were protesting the relationship between the way the schools are treated and the broader agenda of Black displacement in the city.”
Moving forward, Ewing wants to continue to use her platform as a writer and as a researcher to educate others about social justice issues in a way that is easy to understand, since many are still unknowledgeable about modern racism.
Ewing also explained the importance of our voices and active listening in regard to change.
“Social change and transformation requires a lot of different types of people. Listening is political. It is not randomly distributed in our society. Everybody’s voice doesn’t count as the same.”
The evening ended with a 20 minute question and answer session with the audience, as Ewing’s bubbly and cheery personality echoed throughout the entire night. Students expressed their interest in her comics and how creative she is.
Photo Courtesy Springfield College