Summer of ’16 was heated with discussions on race, class, and social justice. With everything going on in our country, especially with unarmed police shootings, racial tension, and political frustration.
Justin C. Cohen’s post, Advice for White Folks in the Wake of the Police Murder of a Black Person, crossed my timeline when I needed to read it most – and it was EVERYTHING. A modest push of advice for (White) people on how to deal and interact, and even ally, with Black people grieving over the nonsense and craziness around the issues, Cohen’s work was incredibly succinct, heartfelt, and honest without the pandering and tapdancing for attention. And I loved every word – and needed to speak with him directly.
A little about Justin:
“My mom was a public school teacher, my grandfather was a superintendent, my father runs a tutoring business, and I married a PhD of Italian literature. I went to public schools from kindergarten until twelfth grade. In 2011, our Thanksgiving dinner erupted into a serious argument about a writing rubric.
I’m also a writer and recovering nonprofit executive. My work has appeared in theNew York Times, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Education Week. I recently was a writer in residence at the Carey Institute for the Global Good, and I’m a fellow of the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems. Until 2015 I was president of Boston-based education nonprofit Mass Insight Education, where we helped cities and states around this country rethink how to serve their most vulnerable children and communities. Before that I worked in the DC public schools and was on the education policy committee for President Obama’s 2008 campaign. I have the privilege of serving as board chairman for Students for Education Reform and spent five years as academic committee chair for the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools.”
Justin and I discussed:
- White privilege – and why it leaves people blind to social injustice
- Unseen hierarchies and social shifts made with simple decisions such as Starbucks
- Listening as a spiritual practice and experience for all parties involved
- How kicking myself into life helped me become more open-minded and inclusive
- Economic and class disparity as an intersection of injustice in current society
It’s hilarious to listen to me in the beginning. I was so… clipped and curt. I was scared of this conversation. Of what I would say and whether it would be progressive, open-minded, and interesting enough. But Justin made it so easy to communicate that I forgot my fears and just let go. He’s amazing to speak with and I hope this conversation is simply one of many in our nation’s work toward change.
CONNECT WITH Justin
CONNECT WITH LAURYN
Lauryn’s Instagram: @lauryndoll
Lauryn Doll is the Bombshell Brand strategist and copywriter. She’s intensely focused on helping professional brands develop a sensual and feminine edge for a deliberate dose of sex appeal that provides tease without sleaze