From the enslavement period to contemporary times, many African Americans have mobilized to formulate social justice movements that demand the rights of full citizenship which the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution guarantee. In Justice and Grassroots Struggles, Loretta Capeheart and Dragan Milovanovic quote Doug McAdam’s argument that “[s]ocial movements are an expression of a desire for justice that has gone unmet. When those concerned for social justice, including equality, need, and/or desert, find that their demands are not considered or seriously addressed by the political structures in place, they will often turn to social mobilization in an attempt to be heard and/or attain justice” (160). In their attempts to be heard, various African American social movement organizations, such as Black Lives Matter, have devised “ideological and political interventions” that demand the abolition of racist, sexist, and classist practices in this country that impact the viability of Black people and communities most directly.
The student reflections in this section highlight social justice initiatives that strive to empower various community constituents in Carlisle in the areas of racial and economic justice. In particular, their projects address issue of power and privilege, the importance of mentoring Black male youth, the economic empowerment of Black women, and the employment challenges that African Americans who have been released from prisons face.