Cultural Strategies for Environmental Justice
Visiting Hip-Hop Artist Will See
January 21-25, 2019
Will See is a hip-hop artist, poet-MC, environmental justice (EJ) activist, and cultural worker from Detroit. He brings attention to issues of environment, race and class through his art and activism. He worked as Co-Director of the East Michigan Environmental Action Council and served as a local coordinator for the 2010 US Social Forum among other activist projects in Detroit and across the region. He presently collaborates with the national Climate Justice Alliance. Will recently finished touring with the Earthwork Music Collective and co-convening the national Black 2 Just Transition Assembly and Training. His solo hip-hop CD The Basics includes EJ anthems such as “Water Power” and “Take tha House Back.” His second project is a spiritual mixtape called SOL SWGGR. In his third project, #Detroitdiplomat, he “brings Detroit to the world and brings the world to the D.”
From January 21-25, 2019, UCI Community Resilience Projects and co-sponsors welcomed Will See as a visiting artist to share his work and methods with UCI students, faculty, staff, and community collaborators. Will’s visit incorporated environmental justice into our campus’ MLK week activities. On January 23, our campus also hosted Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the Iraqi-American pediatrician whose research uncovered the lead poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s drinking water supply. Will’s visit provided a synergistic community perspective from neighboring Detroit about their fight for community access to clean water and other public goods such as affordable housing, food sovereignty, and community-driven climate resilience. Combined, the two concurrent campus visits from Michigan spoke to issues at the core of several UCI collaborations with surrounding communities working for environmental justice. As African-American Studies Professor Tiffany Willoughby-Herard reflects:
Will’s organizing through art and music across the country is keyed into a vision for a healed planet and reflects what Dr. King’s legacy has empowered us to do. Will See’s focus on environmental justice results from Detroit and Flint communities’ desire to deal with and transform a set of conditions that ought not to be the baseline of our vision of the Beloved Community.
Please join us. Events are free, accessible, and open to the public. If you are coming from off campus, please consider public transportation; UCI has pay parking. The schedule is subject to change and will be updated here regularly. Scroll down for additional event descriptions and be sure to RSVP.
Tues., Jan. 22, 8-9:30 pm Performance (Dance Studio 120)
Wed., Jan. 23, 3:45-4:45 pm EJ Discussion with Students (GSRC)
Thurs., Jan. 24, 5-6:30 pm Spoken Word Workshop (HG 1030)
Fri., Jan. 25, 6-9 pm Santa Ana Performative Exchange
Join us on Tuesday, January 22, 8-9:30 pm, for a campus performance by poet MC Will See and DJ Shammy Dee, joined by special guests. The performance takes place in Dance Studio 120, which is located within the UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts. Light refreshments will be provided. The performance is free, accessible and open to the public. If coming to UCI from off-campus, please consider taking public transportation; UCI has pay parking.
- Dance Studio 120 is on the corner of West Peltason Drive and Mesa Road, across from the Bren Events Center.
From the Humanities Bridge:
- Cross the bridge from Humanities Gateway into the Claire Trevor School of Arts
- Slight left passing the Claire Trevor Theater, box office, and bathrooms
- Turn left down the stairs,
- Turn left into the dark brown building, Robert Cohen Theater
From the Anteatery:
- Turn right passing Playa Tower, towards West Peltason Drive
- Turn left onto West Peltason Drive
- Turn left towards Robert Cohen theater across from the Bren Events Center.
For full directions, click here.
On Wednesday, January 23, 3:45-4:45 pm, the UCI Global Sustainability Resource Center (GSRC) will host a discussion for students with Will See and additional special guests on environmental justice. All students welcome. If you would like to attend this discussion and are not a student, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest. GSRC is located on the fourth floor of Student Center South, G464.
Join us on Thursday, January 24, from 5:00-6:15 pm, for a spoken word workshop on cultural strategies for environmental justice with Will See and special guests. The workshop is scheduled to take place in Room 1030 in the Humanities Gateway on the UCI campus. Light refreshments will be served. The workshop is free, accessible, and open to the public. If coming to UCI from off campus, please consider taking public transportation; UCI has pay parking.
Join us on Friday, January 25, 6-9 pm, for a performative exchange on environmental justice at the Makara Center for the Arts in Santa Ana, California. The performative exchange will feature poet MC Will See, DJ Shammy Dee, and many additional artists. Line up TBA. Light refreshments will be served. The performative exchange is free, accessible, and open to the public. The host committee for this event is convened by Orange County Environmental Justice.
Related Videos and Readings
New Video: Water Power by Will See
East Michigan Environmental Action Council on Just Transition
See also: Detroit Interviews: Charity Hicks on environmental racism in Detroit and Will See’s Take Tha House Back music video
- William Copeland, From Climate Oppression to 21st-Century Leadership: What Will the New Black Economy Look Like?Huffington Post (Feb. 2, 2015, 10:35 am), https://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-copeland/from-climate-oppression-t_b_6594692.html
- William Copeland & Dorthea Thomas, From Promised Land to Sacrifice Zone, Black Activism: Building a National Black Liberation Assembly Blog (Nov. 5, 2017), https://www.blackactivism.org/single-post/2017/11/06/Detroit—From-“Promised-Land”-to-“Sacrifice-Zone”
- East Michigan Environmental Action Council, Black 2 Just Transition: A Recap, Climate Justice Alliance Blog (Nov. 21, 2018), https://climatejusticealliance.org/black-2-just-transition-recap/
Visiting Artist Snapshots
Interview with KUCI’s Black Talk Radio
Interview with KUCI’s Campus Skinny
Interact with Will See during his campus visit through the following anticipated activities:
- Campus Performance
- Spoken Word Workshop on Cultural Strategies for Environmental Justice
- Environmental Justice Discussion with Students
- Performative Exchange in Santa Ana
The schedule is posted to the left.
UCI host committee (to date): Navjyot Gill, Esmeralda Hic, Alana LeBron, Manny Preciado, Abigail Reyes, Karen Valladares, Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, Salvador Zarate
UCI Co-sponsors (to date): Community Resilience Projects; Africana Institute for Creation, Recognition, and Elevation; Campus Climate Council; Cross-Cultural Center; Department of African American Studies; Department of Chicano/Latino Studies; Department of Criminology, Law, and Society; Department of Dance; DREAM Center; FRESH Hub; Global Sustainability Resource Center; Illuminations; MFA Program in Poetry; Program in Global Cultures; Wellness, Health, and Counseling
Community Co-sponsor (to date): Orange County Environmental Justice