Amy Bhatt Featured in PBS Seattle Documentary About the 1965 Immigration Act

Amy BhattIn a short documentary produced by KCTS, the PBS affiliate in Seattle, examining the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act and its impact on the Pacific Northwest and the rest of the country’s population, Amy Bhatt described the economic environment that early immigrants in the Northwest encountered.

“The Pacific Northwest has a very unique place in American history, because it did offer many of these early South Asians a way to both situate themselves and become economically productive very early on,” Bhatt said in the documentary. “Now, this was also a period in time when we saw a lot of restriction of immigration from Asia.”

Bhatt, an assistant professor of gender and women’s studies, also described the aftermath of the Immigration Act in the documentary: “There was a great deal of opposition to this act in 1965, and, in fact, when it was passed, Lyndon B. Johnson, in a very famous speech, says that this is a moment that we’re opening the doors but it’s not going to fundamentally change the fabric of American society. We know now that that was pretty radically wrong, and instead what we see is that the United States fundamentally does change as a result of this.”

Bhatt is author of Roots and Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific NorthwestRead more about her work on the gender and women’s studies website.

Amy Bhatt, Gender and Women’s Studies, Discusses Her Research on Immigrant Tech Communities in the Seattle Times

Amy BhattIn an in-depth Seattle Times story about the difficulty in finding employment that women in immigrant tech communities experience, Amy Bhatt, an assistant professor of gender and women’s studies, was quoted in the article and provided perspective on many of the harsh realities that women in such communities encounter.

“It’s very challenging for many of the women who come here as spouses,” said Bhatt, who did her Ph.D. research at the University of Washington on high-tech immigrant communities in the Seattle area. “They are a highly educated group of women, trained in fields like engineering and computer science, coming to what they think is the land of opportunity and equality. They come here and they’re relegated to the status of being a housewife. For some, there’s real anxiety and depression.”

Bhatt researches global studies of gender, families and social reproduction, contemporary and historical ethnic formation, and globalization and transnational migration. She is co-author of Roots and Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific Northwest

Kate Drabinski, Gender and Women’s Studies, Reacts to Target Phasing Out Gender-based Signs in Stores on ABC 2 Baltimore

Target recently announced it is moving away from using gender-based signs in its stores such as removing signs featuring suggestions for boys and girls in certain sections and in toy aisles, removing reference to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of shelves.

Kate DrabinskiKate Drabinski, a lecturer of gender and women’s studies, was interviewed by ABC 2 TV in Baltimore about her thoughts on the decision.

“It’s kind of sad that it’s such a bold move, but it’s a really bold move especially given how gendered things for kids really are,” she said during a recorded segment that aired on the 11 p.m. newscast on August 10.

Drabinski said gender rules are learned early, such as advertising and society telling girls things for them are pink and purple, while boys’ items are blue. She said she hopes Target’s decision will spur action and conversation on a much larger scale.

“What I hope happens is that this jump starts a conversation about how gender is built into all things that we buy and how we might change that.”

Watch the full segment “Target phasing out some gender-based signs in stores” on ABC 2 TV.

Kate Drabinski, Gender and Women’s Studies, Writes About Preserving Baltimore’s LGBTQ History in City Paper

During Pride Week, Kate Drabinski, a lecturer of gender and women’s studies, wrote a column in City Paper about the work being done to document and preserve Baltimore’s LGBTQ history.

Kate DrabinskiIn her article, Drabinski described the work of several local activists who are conducting research and publishing articles and books related to LGBTQ history in Baltimore, including Louis Hughes, Louise Kelley, Jodi Kelber, April Householder, and Betsy Nix. Drabinski wrote that as gay bars have been closing in Baltimore, the public history work being done should be reflected in contemporary conversations.

“Yes, we may be saying goodbye to the Hippo this year, but we are not saying goodbye to the histories that supported that bar, or the harder histories that come along with it as the LGBTQ movement has struggled with its own racism, sexism, and classism. It’s different now, but how it got to be that way is the result of a whole lot of work that must be remembered and taken forward in contemporary organizing. And that is work that should be celebrated this Pride season,” Drabinski shared.

Read “Recording the Rainbow Revolution: As gay bars in Baltimore shut their doors, activists work to document LGBTQ history” in City Paper.

Kate Drabinski, Gender and Women’s Studies, Discusses Public Representation of the Civil War in Md. on WYPR

Kate DrabinskiKate Drabinski, lecturer of gender and women’s studies, was a guest on WYPR’s Maryland Morning on July 10 to discuss how slavery and the Civil War is represented in public spaces in Maryland. Drabinski was joined by Karsonya (Kaye) Wise Whitehead ’09, Ph.D. LLC, an assistant professor in the department of communication at Loyola University-Maryland.

The discussion helped listeners think about how the history of slavery is conveyed in Maryland memorials and parks as Gov. Larry Hogan has decided to stop issuing license plates with the Confederate symbol and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is appointing a task force to review the city’s Confederate monuments and other historical sites.

The conversation covered a wide range of issues, including thinking about symbols of the Civil War in the context of present day America. “We are long past slavery, but we are still working through the issues of the relationship between freedom and slavery, between white Americans and black Americans, and these different periods of history. We’re still fighting over the meaning of the war,” Drabinski said.

To listen to the complete discussion, click here.

Kate Drabinski, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Kimberly Moffitt, American Studies, on The Marc Steiner Show

Kate DrabinskiFollowing a series of stories in City Paper about The Wire, WEAA’s The Marc Steiner Show held a panel discussion on June 9 to examine the television show and its representation of Baltimore. Kate Drabinski, lecturer of gender and women’s studies, was a guest on the program and discussed the importance of watching the show with a critical mind.

“Part of me worries that The Wire is so good in terms of drama that people think watching the show means that they understand the depth of what’s happening in Baltimore and the complexities of the histories here and the complexity of the lives that are lived here,” Drabinski said.

Kimberly MoffittIn a separate program on June 4, Kimberly Moffitt, an associate professor of American studies, was a guest host for a segment on budget cuts and restructuring at Baltimore City Schools in response to the announcement that 159 staff positions were eliminated. Moffitt facilitated a discussion with Dr. Roni Ellington, associate professor of mathematics education at Morgan State University; Bobbi Macdonald, executive director of the City Neighbors Foundation; and Jimmy Gittings, president of Public School Administrators and Supervisors Association (PSASA), AFSA Local 25, who began his career with BCPS in 1971.

On June 16, Moffitt was co-host for an in-depth, two-hour segment on education in Baltimore including discussions about layoffs, the school budget, community schools, and alternatives to the current school system.

To listen to the segments in their entirety, click below:
Wrestling with the Wire
Baltimore City Schools: What Will be the Impact of Budget Cuts and Restructuring at North Avenue?
Education in Baltimore: Two-Hour Special

UMBC Faculty Provide Perspective and Reflect on Recent Events in Baltimore

In response to recent events that have transpired in Baltimore over the last several days, several UMBC faculty have engaged in thoughtful reflection and dialogue in the news around the complex challenges facing the Baltimore community. The substantive commentaries come from different viewpoints and add various perspectives to the ongoing conversation of the past week’s events.

John Rennie ShortIn The Conversation, School of Public Policy Professor John Rennie Short wrote about three background factors that should be considered when asking why the violence and riots took place in response to the death of one young man: the momentum of the police brutality narrative, the lack of trust between police and minority black populations, and the stifled economic opportunities and limited social mobility of many inner-city residents. “This country needs to address structural issues of poverty and economic opportunity as well as immediate concerns of how we make the streets safer for all our citizens,” Short wrote.

Kate DrabinskiKate Drabinski, lecturer of gender and women’s studies, wrote about decades of disinvestment in Baltimore and uneven development that have disadvantaged largely low-income communities. “One of the dangers of seeing the riot as an event is precisely this danger of losing historical perspective about the ways the neighborhoods burning on television are the very ones that have been cut off from the growth of the city’s downtown core,” she wrote. Drabinski was also featured in a Bicycling Magazine article about her observations of Monday’s events.

Kimberly MoffittKimberly Moffitt, an associate professor of American studies, examined Baltimore City Schools and the important element of focusing on the mental health needs and frustrations of many students. “Now we are faced with the next generation of marginalized youth who demand to be heard, even as they are seen as counterproductive by those who continue to ignore their physical, academic, and psychological needs to be successful in an educational setting,” Moffitt explained. She also participated in a roundtable discussion on Southern California Public Radio about her thoughts on this issue.

Rita TurnerRita Turner, a lecturer of American studies, wrote an article for The Conversation that focused on environmental health issues: “Environmental injustice may seem like a secondary issue in the face of massive police brutality, poverty, and civil uprising, and I don’t suggest that it should preempt conversations about other forms of systemic racism. But as we talk about the devaluing of black lives and black bodies that has taken place in Baltimore and across the country and the world, we cannot ignore the ways that this manifests in a subtle and constant disregard for the health of marginalized communities,” she wrote.

Sue-Goodney-Lea__2013-239x300In a Baltimore Sun op-ed, Suzanne Lea, an adjunct professor of sociology, wrote about an in-depth study she conducted with her students to examine trends in police deadly force incidents that have occurred in the Baltimore/DC area over the last 25 years. The column outlined five key findings from the research, including the vast majority of incidents occurred early in an officer’s career. “Too often, without a video, police officers are exonerated via internal investigations based on rules that prioritize officers’ accounts. Let’s start collecting the data we need to track and systematically examine such incidents and use it to challenge and improve upon our policing until it fully reflects the integrity of our American ideal of equality under the law,” Lea wrote.

Amy BhattIn the Huffington PostAmy Bhatt, an assistant professor of gender and women’s studies, examined the question “what does it mean to be safe?” In her article, Bhatt discussed her experience living in the Federal Hill neighborhood and provided a closer look at discussions of property, race, and resources in light of recent events. “When we talk about safety, we need to look beyond our neighborhoods and ask how we decide who stays safe and who does not,” she wrote.

Tom SchallerIn his column in the Baltimore Sun, Thomas Schaller, professor and chair of political science, discussed the impact of inequality on the past week’s events. “Rather, the fact of social protest is prima facie evidence of political disgruntlement, and of an extant imbalance between those who wield power and those subjected to it. When these inequities persist and have no other form of expression, there will be unrest. And in this case, those suffering from Baltimore’s power imbalances are disproportionately black.”

Chris CorbettChristopher Corbett, professor of the practice of English, wrote a column in Reuters in which he discussed his observations and experience living in Baltimore for 35 years after moving from Maine. In his article, “Baltimore’s truth in Freddie Gray’s life and death,” Corbett examined the history and current state of many of the city’s neighborhoods in the context of the events of the last several days.

Jana Kopelentova Rehak, a visiting professor of anthropology, recently published an article on her applied anthropology collaborative project in Baltimore in partnership with Habitat for Humanity to address urban inequality, poverty, and health in relation to housing.

To read the complete news coverage, click below:

Baltimore riots: the fire this time and the fire last time and the time between (The Conversation)
Why Baltimore burns for Freddie Gray (Baltimore Sun)
Baltimore’s truth in Freddie Gray’s life and death (Reuters)
Baltimore cyclist catches riots in action (Bicycling Magazine)
Keeping ‘Us’ Safe in Baltimore (Huffington Post) 
Freddie Gray: death by legal intervention (Baltimore Sun)
The slow poisoning of Freddie Gray and the hidden violence against black communities (The Conversation)
Baltimore could become key election issue (The Philadelphia Tribune)
Black and young in Baltimore: a roundtable discussion (KPCC Radio)
With little choice, O’Malley defends Baltimore tenure (Washington Post)
Mayor Martin O’Malley Versus Governor Martin O’Malley (Governing)
Riots invoked as lobbying tool (Baltimore Sun)
Media coverage and politics (Midday with Dan Rodricks) 
Practicing urban anthropology in Baltimore