In this week’s episode, David and Josh interview Melanie Johnson, Director of Multicultural Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington. Melanie has been working in diversity and inclusion since 2012 and has worked at several universities such as Southern Methodist University (SMU), Tulane University, Tarleton State University, before settling down at UTA.

Melanie brings her unique perspective as a biracial German and black woman navigating diversity and inclusion work. She talks about her experience with organizing Black Lives Matter protests, working with anti-discrimination movements in Dallas, building social justice curriculum, and more!

Below are organizations that are mentioned in this podcast where you can continue to take strategic action for social change:

  • Mothers Against Police Brutality – a Dallas-based organization that seeks to redesign the system that protects trigger-happy police officers from ever facing murder charges. Founder Collette Flanagan’s son was killed by a Dallas police officer who was never punished for his actions. MAPB ultimately hopes to restore trust between police and the citizens they serve; it calls for greater civil rights, policy reform and police accountability.
  • Innocence Project of Texas – a nonprofit human service organization that provides legal and investigation assistance to low-income Texas citizens who were convicted of crimes they did not commit. They work to gain their freedom and exonerate them. Innocence Project of Texas also advocates for the adoption of laws to improve (reform) the criminal justice system and prevent wrongful convictions
  • Dallas For Change – a coalition showcasing and inspiring community outreach, volunteerism, and activism with the hope that individual acts will effect collective change
  • Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) – a national nonprofit organization of black youth activists working to create justice and freedom for all. Although it was originally founded in Chicago in 2013, it’s since opened a Dallas chapter. Donations to BYP100 will support the organization’s daily work as well as provide bail funds, legal support and mutual aid for black activists.
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) – the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. Their mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

Time Stamps:

  • 3:06 Who is Melanie Johnson?
  • 7:00 Living German and Black
  • 13:16 The Savior Complex at Tulane University
  • 18:22 Social Justice Curriculum
  • 25:58 No Kung Fu!
  • 33:34 The Power of Social Media
  • 36:28 Taking Strategic Action
  • 46:18 The Future of the Movement
  • 52:20 Defund the Police?
  • 62:20 What Can We Do Now?

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