Bioethics Blogs

What are we ready to risk? Academia, advocacy, and activism

Over the weekend, Fordham University Center for Ethics Education Postdoctoral Fellow and Program Administrator for the Adolescent Scientific Access Project Dr. Mimi Arbeit graduated from Tufts University with a Ph.D. in Child Study and Human Development, and served as the student speaker for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Doctoral Hooding Ceremony.

Entitled, “What are we ready to risk? Academia, advocacy, and activism,” Dr. Arbeit’s speech addressed the concept of solidarity and risk sharing, particularly in an academic context.

Below is the full text of the speech, which is also available on Dr. Arbeit’s blog, Sex Ed Transforms:

As the non-indictment verdict arrived, I was working on my dissertation. Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Michael Brown, will have no trial. The people of Ferguson protest: Black Lives Matter. They call for an end to business as usual, but my business as usual was just getting good. I wanted to write my dissertation and I really, really wanted this degree.

And I was tired. Business as usual is exhausting and there’s no energy left for protests and movement building and solidarity.

Abigail Ortiz taught me that solidarity means sharing risk. I ask myself what risks I am willing to share as a white person in solidarity with people of color: Am I willing to risk arrest? Injury? Reputation? Career?

The system is built to maintain itself.
In the first month of 2015, four black trans women were murdered. Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia. The intersectionality of oppression is life and death.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.