Current Call

Spring/Summer 2024 Special Issue

LAJM Co-Editors: Raven L. Jones, Tanya Upthegrove Gregory, & Alexandra Sánchez
Special Guest Co-Editor: Ayah Issa

Fighting Genocide & Learning About Land: What Palestinians and Other Indigenous People Can Teach Us About Liberation

“An artist’s duty is to reflect the times! I choose to reflect the times and the situations in which I find myself; that to me is my duty. And at this crucial time in our lives when everything is so desperate; when every day is a matter of survival--I don’t think you can help but be involved. We will shape and mold this country, or it will not be molded and shaped at all anymore. How can you be an artist and not reflect the times?”

Nina Simone

In an interview addressing the importance of being responsive to societal ills and ongoing injustices, the late composer, pianist, singer, and civil rights activist, Nina Simone, born Eunice Kathleen Waymon, emboldened humanity to use their positionality to reflect the times. Simone’s consciousness and artistry centered racial and social discourses, resulting in protest anthems and albums, such as, “Mississippi Goddam” (1964), “Four Women,” (1966), and “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black,” (1969). In keeping with Simone’s radical musicianship and storytelling, as we continue to bear witness to the genocide occurring in Palestine, our shared commitment to (linguistic) justice (Baker-Bell, 2020), dismantling racism, and calling out colonizing cadence will not be silenced. As teaching and community artists, we will reflect the times in which we find ourselves. The times that bring us joy. The times that leave us experiencing sleepless nights, uncontrollable tears, and exhaustion. The times that require us to clapback. In continuing to reflect the times, we recognize Simone’s call to action acknowledges harms experienced in communities worldwide, which is not new. Even today, generations later, systemic inequities, displacement, and genocide impacts us all, whether we want to believe it or not! How are you extending Simone’s notion of reflecting the times? In what ways are you creating spaces to process both historic and present harm experienced in communities as part of an ongoing journey leading to healing and transformation? How are you valuing ‘sacred spaces’ in your community? What historic harms have compromised these spaces and the preservation of culture and identity?

Through this call for proposals and forthcoming special issue, we have invited Palestinian-American scholar, Ayah Issa, to join in our fight and quest for freedom-dreaming and liberation. Connected to this, we invite manuscripts that seek to move beyond land acknowledgments as signatures at the closing of emails. Facts. We are seeking prose, poetry, and positioning that dismantle oppressive language and literacy instruction and practices. We invite submissions that will highlight humanizing and social justice teaching and learning. We are seeking works that center antiracist pedagogies. Authors (teachers, instructors, artists, college educators, students, administrators, superintendents, community activists, etc.,) might consider one of the following questions:

    • How can English language arts be used to fight against genocide? How are you teaching your students to be critical consumers of media, especially in the context of the Palestinian genocide?

    • What ‘sacred spaces’ in your communities have been deeply impacted as a result of school closings, resident displacement, gentrification, and chronic (de)industrialization? In what ways has your community used language and literacy as a part of the collective healing process?

    • Do you know on whose ancestral land your school or organization resides? What is the history of this land? How does this history show up in your curriculum?

    • What level of awareness do your students and colleagues have of the #LandBack movement? How are you leveraging your role to bring awareness to Indigenous rights and justice?

    • How are you using art, poetry, and oral storytelling to promote Indigenous sovereignty and linguistic justice?

    • How are we honoring Native languages in our classrooms and giving students access to their home languages in the school setting?

    • In what ways have your perceptions of social justice been limited by ingrained and unconscious imperialist beliefs? How has this influenced your conversations with students, the topics you choose for professional development, and the ways you present yourselves in schooling, communities, etc.?

Submission Deadline: May 31, 2024