Making a Lasting Impact on Friedman

by Julie Kurtz, Friedman Justice League

“Some years ago, a group of students essentially stormed my office… and… I listened to them. I changed my curriculum.”

Dr. Timothy Griffin is among several Friedman faculty who have changed their courses at the urging of Friedman Justice League (FJL). Influencing curriculum is just one of several project goals and events FJL looks forward to this year – with your help.

What is Friedman Justice League? FJL began in 2011 with the vision to diversify our community and encourage Friedman to better address issues of discrimination and oppression in its teachings, research, programs, and its role as a national and international leader in the food system and nutrition. We believe the food we eat is never more important that the people who grow, harvest, ship, process, prepare, and serve that food.

What has Friedman Justice League done? Since its inception, FJL has had a notable impact on Friedman by influencing Friedman’s 10-year Strategic Plan, course curriculums, administration, and bringing important (often overlooked) perspectives and speakers to campus for events and seminars.

What will Friedman Justice League do this year? It depends on the passions of FJL participants (which means you!). We anticipate bringing more diversity and themes of social justice into coursework and school events. We also hope to help the school revise the food sourcing on campus, beginning with Friedman’s catering guidelines. The food our campus consumes should reflect our social and environmental values and expertise as well as our nutrition values and expertise!

How can you learn more?

  1. To start, you can sign up for FJL’s email list here, that way you’ll hear about upcoming events and meetings.
  1. Join us Wednesday September 20th @6:00pm at 1 Kneeland St (Tufts Dental School), room 1514. For FJL’s first event of the year, we are co-sponsoring a book tour presentation of Food First’s newly published Land Justice: Reimagining Land, Food and the Commons. The authors will be presenting and leading an interactive discussion! More details here.
  2. Keep an eye on our Facebook page, and post articles, events and reflections there!

 

Advertisements

Turning a Moment into a Movement

by Sam Hoeffler

Donald Trump is the president of the United States. Now what? Join the movement.

As a protester at Trump’s inauguration in D.C. on Friday January 20th, I met many people who did not identify as activists. I encountered people who had never in their lives been motivated to make signs and march in protest. It was inspiring to see so many people in the streets on Friday, and an estimated 3.3 million people across the country marched on Saturday too. Yet in the afterglow of one of the largest demonstrations in national history, we mustn’t forget our reason for protesting: the rise of nationalism and fear mongering that brought Trump to office.

Trump is poised to push our country off a metaphorical ledge, where we would fall into cronyism, oligarchy, denial of science, restraint of the press, and deeper social inequality and unrest. We the people are the only thing holding the country back from that ledge and what lies below. We the people, standing with linked arms and clasped hands, must inch the country back to solid ground. We need to rediscover and reclaim a solid ground where we can come together and fight for the rights of all Americans to live full, healthy lives.

We need to transition from this historic moment of protest to a unified movement that demands change. The moment becomes a movement when we do not simply hold our elected officials back from running the country off a ledge, but when we begin to take action and shape this country with our own hands. We must look downward, at our own feet, at our own hands, at our own communities, and get organized.

The leaders of the Women’s March on Washington are making our transition into the movement easier. They’re offering us a clear way to get engaged, calling for people to take part in 10 Actions in 100 Days. The Friedman Justice League will be facilitating each of the ten collective actions proposed by the Women’s March on Washington organizers. The first action has been published, and it is a call for postcard- and letter-writing to elected officials.

Let’s let our politicians know that we are not going back to sleep. We have been pulled to the streets, and we want to be a part of the positive change that can come after such an outpouring of activism, advocacy, hope, and protest. All Friedman community members—students, staff, and faculty—are welcome to take part in a postcard-writing event this week. FJL will provide the supplies, and even information on certain topics and addresses of elected officials.

This event is a first step in turning this moment into a movement. See you there!

WHEN: Wednesday, February 1st (11:15-12:15) and Thursday February 2nd (12:30-1:15)

WHERE: Jaharis café

WHAT: FJL will have a table with all necessary supplies for postcards and letters

CONTACT: samantha.hoeffler@tufts.edu, caitlin.joseph@tufts.edu

The Friedman Justice League’s Response to the Strategic Plan Launch

by The Friedman Justice League

The Friedman Justice League (FJL) assesses how the recent unveiling of the Friedman School’s Strategic Plan aligns with its own goals and vision for the future, and offers input on how the plan can be effectively implemented. FJL’s internal goals are also expressed, and all Friedman students are welcomed to engage with these efforts, as they please!

Introduction

People of color and low-income people are more likely to experience the injustices perpetrated on both the production and consumption ends of the food system. Having broad racial and class representation in the Friedman School is key to producing alumni who can effectively navigate these issues throughout their careers. Therefore, Friedman Justice League (FJL) student group is eager to promote more diversified representation in our school community.

Last fall, FJL members gathered to conduct a visioning process, through which the group agreed on clear goals for engaging in the school’s Strategic Planning process. Our members served on several working groups and collaborated with other students, staff, and faculty to foster active engagement throughout the School. This planning process and our engagement with the administration over the past many years have led to numerous promising outcomes, including positive relationships with supportive members of the administration and increased opportunities to engage with faculty about curriculum improvements. Two FJL members sit on the Friedman School Diversity Task Force, and FJL members also helped plan the recent diversity and inclusion training at the Boston Health Science campus.

During the Strategic Plan Launch on November 15, we heard from President Monaco, Provost Harris, and Dean Mozaffarian about the Friedman School’s plan for advancing its mission “from cell to society.” Many of our members were present to listen, take notes, and pose questions. As a student organization committed to improving our School’s ability to address issues of discrimination and oppression within the food system, we paid particularly close attention to the  Strategic Plan goals that coincide with our own:

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-4-26-45-pm

Recognition

We acknowledge that the Strategic Plan includes many goals that align and overlap with some of our personal and group values, and are particularly supportive of Goals II, V, X, and XI, which we advocated for within the working groups. FJL specifically encourages the Friedman School to infuse these values in all of its goals by raising consciousness about justice and equity through its curricula and public impact actions. Dean Mozaffarian emphasized the role students played during the planning process in driving social justice priorities to the surface, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the plan. We look forward to continuing our engagement with the Strategic Plan, as we monitor and support the implementation of these goals.

Furthermore, we are optimistic about the progress that is currently being made within Friedman’s Diversity Task Force, which has been working to establish a formal School structure to actualize the Strategic Plan goals related to diversity, inclusion, and social justice. The Task Force is comprised of the Academic Dean of Education, the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs*, the Associate Director of Admissions, one faculty member, one staff member, and two current FJL members.  The Diversity Task Force has already begun to generate innovative approaches for more targeted recruitment of students with diverse socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. We look forward to continuing to work alongside the Task Force to recruit, support, and retain future leaders from historically oppressed groups in our society.

Promising Progress, Poised for Action

In the Strategic Plan’s introductory video, the Dean states: “We will also emphasize and integrate principles of social justice, inclusion, and diversity into every facet of what we do.” We applaud the incorporation of this broad commitment. However, the discussion during the launch focused primarily on advancing this commitment through increased integration of diversity and justice issues into the curriculum.

We are also interested in hearing more about the School’s specific plans to address the lack of diversity in the composition of our school, and we hope to see increased representation of communities of color and diverse socioeconomic backgrounds in the future. Dean Mozaffarian mentioned the importance of Friedman alumni to the advancement of our School’s values. Like our current students, our School’s alumni are primarily white. World-class leadership from our students and alumni will require that our student body and faculty be composed of people whose lived experiences provide a complex understanding of the successes and challenges of our food system. The Dean’s continued discussion of diversity both in promotional materials and during the launch is promising, and we hope that the School’s commitment to this goal becomes clearer in the near future.

Opportunities for Improvement

The translation of these goals and objectives into measurable improvement is the next step in ensuring a more diverse and well-equipped student body, network of alumni, and faculty. It is important that the School’s efforts to advance diversity and inclusion be rooted in humility. To effect real change, the School must fully and genuinely recognize its starting point in its goal of “expand[ing] and diversify[ing] our student body to train future leaders in nutrition science, policy, and practice” (Goal X). In this vein, it is important that the School accurately present the racial and ethnic demographic data of its current student body, which will serve as an accurate baseline for monitoring future progress. We did not feel that such a presentation was provided during the launch. For example, the graduation photo on Friedman by the Numbers (Page 16 of the Strategic Plan), is suggestive of greater demographic diversity than the current composition of the School. Data on the School’s racial and ethnic makeup exist but were not provided as part of Friedman by the Numbers. These data are presented on the Tufts University Diversity Dashboard, and the numbers paint a very different picture than the image chosen for the Strategic Plan’s promotion. Given that these data are available, we are disappointed that they were not presented alongside the other relevant data about our school’s current composition. It is critically important that the School take an honest accounting of its starting composition and avoid celebrating a diverse makeup that is not yet a reality.

Responsibility & Transparency

All members of the Friedman community share responsibility in the creation of a just and inclusive learning and working environment at the School, and we recognize that this is an important and dynamic moment in the School’s history. With regard to the diversity and inclusion-related goals in the plan, we see both great potential for our school to become a social justice leader, and we also recognize the great challenges that lie ahead.

Given the complexity of addressing systems of oppression through institutional action, we would like to know how the administration plans to delegate responsibility for the implementation of these goals, and are curious about how it will engage the Friedman community in the process of setting qualitative and quantitative metrics for advancing the aims of the Strategic Plan. We recognize that this work is difficult. Significant gains will require the focused and sustained engagement of skillful individuals working within the School’s own system. As such, we advocate for the hiring of at least one dedicated professional capable of advancing the diversity and inclusion-related goals. Schools on the Boston Health Sciences Campus have similar models, in which a designated administrator is focused on such issues. Dr. Joyce Sackey, for example, is the Dean of Multicultural Affairs at the School of Medicine.

We also support the creation of more streamlined, accessible, and transparent communication networks between the administration and the broader student body during the implementation process. One example that the School could emulate comes from our neighbor, Northeastern University (NEU). NEU recently demonstrated both humility and transparency while engaging their community broadly during the University’s recent diversity and inclusion action planning process. We think Friedman would benefit from creating a similar forum for students, staff, and faculty to discuss the process of operationalizing the Strategic Plan’s goals moving forward. Countless other examples of innovative anti-racism actions by higher education institutions exist, and we look forward to seeing which method Friedman adopts as we work to help the School advance its goals.

FJL’s 2016-17 Vision

In October, the Friedman Justice League (FJL) conducted its own visioning process to set priorities for the year. Members shared their personal visions for justice in the world as well as their ideas on the role of the Friedman School and FJL in realizing these visions. The discussion was distilled into three key outcomes:

  1. A plan for internal and external priorities that includes a focus on labor in the food system, examined through educational activities, advocacy campaigns, and curriculum enhancement;
  1. A commitment to engagement with the student body in a more inclusive manner, in an effort to develop broader coalitions around our goal of integrating social justice into all spheres at Friedman; and
  1. A strategic framework for FJL’s programming and activism expressed by the diagram below:
fjlConclusion

In alignment with our own visioning process, FJL remains committed to working with the administration to build on the momentum and traction we have generated together toward social justice and diversity. We remain steadfast in our determination to hold school decision-makers accountable for the goals set forth in the plan. The School’s renewed commitment to innovation, public impact, and social justice are now more important in light of the current political climate, and Friedman is well positioned to make a significant impact within our community and beyond. Now is the time to transform these words into actions, and FJL stands at the ready to support the School in ensuring that its laudable goals around diversity, inclusion, and social justice become its practice.

*Correction, December 6, 2016: An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed the title of one of the Diversity Task Force members. Matthew Hast used to be the Associate Director of Student Affairs, but is now the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. The article above has been corrected for this error. – Editors

The Friedman Justice League seeks to make our community more diverse and find ways to allow the Friedman community to better address issues of discrimination and oppression in its teachings, research, and programs. To get involved with our discussions, events, and campaigns learn more here or email caitlin.joseph@tufts.edu to be added to the listserv.

 

Indigenous Peoples’ Day at Friedman

by Rebecca Harnik

This fall at Friedman, the Columbus Day Holiday will officially be renamed to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Though many students in the United States have historically celebrated Columbus Day to commemorate the discovery of the Americas, the name change recognizes that colonization went hand in hand with violence and genocide. The Friedman School’s adoption of Indigenous Peoples’ Day takes a stand against centuries of oppression, racism, and discrimination faced by Indigenous People.

Friedman is just the second school at Tufts University to make this switch, following the lead of the Tufts School of Arts and Sciences and Engineering (AS&E), where the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate championed the effort.

After the resolution was rejected by AS&E faculty in 2015, the TCU Senate launched an extensive campaign of petitioning, Facebook outreach, photo booths, hashtagging #‎IPDatTufts, letter-writing, and the promotion of a heartfelt YouTube video to spread the message of the holiday’s significance. The AS&E student body and faculty were won over in 2016 by the students’ dedication and organizing work, and voted in favor of establishing Indigenous Peoples’ Day with a 60 to 1 faculty vote on the resolution.

Undergraduate TCU Senate representative Anna Del Castillo ’18 was among the leadership for the campaign at AS&E. She emphasized the importance of the new name in an email conversation, calling the day “a time to celebrate indigenous voices and educate the community on important issues facing indigenous people [globally]… and to examine how we can play a role in reversing negative actions.”

Holidays honoring Indigenous Peoples have been celebrated sporadically by cities and states across the US for several decades, but 2014 and 2015 saw a sudden surge of cities and states dismissing Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Several colleges and universities have recently made the transition nationally; in almost every case championed by their respective student bodies. Regionally, Brown University formally adopted Indigenous People’s Day in February of 2016.

Here at Friedman, the administration has been highly supportive of the change. The Friedman Justice League is working with Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Matt Hast to make the transition clear and understandable. Friedman will be formally announcing the new holiday and its significance this fall, and will be joining forces with AS&E on the Tufts campus to celebrate the holiday on October 10, 2016.

At Tufts, the change has not yet been initiated on the full campus. Del Castillo of the TCU explained that President Monaco has stated that individual schools will need to consider the switch on their own until there is enough support to demonstrate that a Tufts-wide change is merited. The Friedman Justice League is currently in conversation with other schools on the Boston campus and is hopeful that Friedman’s early adoption of the holiday will support other schools to do so – and that this will help Tufts join soon as a whole University.

To follow the progress and celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day at Tufts, you can connect on Facebook; or email Benya Kraus, Diversity and Community Affairs Officer at the TCU Senate, at Benya.kraus@tufts.edu. On the Boston campus, the Friedman Justice league will be leading engagement efforts: FriedmanJusticeLeague@gmail.com

Rebecca Harnik is a second-year student in the Agriculture, Food and Environment program. She is concerned with issues of social equity, community health, and ecological sustainability in the food system. 

Friedman Explores Foodways

by Sarah Chang

From February 22-26, 2015 the Friedman Justice League (FJL) sponsored a week of storytelling, discussion, and reflection on issues of food justice in the world, country, and Friedman campus. FJL organized a weeklong interactive bulletin for Friedman students to contribute experiences and reflections on their experiences with food. It was named “Digging Deeper: Foodways” and prompted students each day with a new theme. The themes and reflections are recorded anonymously below.

wordcloud

Digging Deeper: Foodways

Foodways – (def.) The cultural, social and economic practices relating to the production and consumption of food. Foodways often refers to the intersection of food in culture, traditions, and history. (Wikipedia)

Instructions: In a few brief sentences, share your experience or thoughts with regard to each prompt.

Monday: Bounty – Celebration Meals

Describe a celebratory meal that is important to your family, culture, and/or religious upbringing.

“Lunch after church on Saturday (yes, Saturday). We often would have a potluck in someone’s home and after the dinner we’d pick at leftovers and dessert. I’d sit under the table and listen to the adults talk, work on a drawing or read a book. My belly so full.”

“Cheerio Dinner. In my family we marked special days by not cooking. Instead we eat cereal – (always Cheerios) and sit on top of the counters letting our feet dangle and hanging out. It feels fun, informal, and special. We do this a lot on birthdays, holidays and on random, unexpected nights probably because my parents just didn’t feel like cooking because they were just feeling tired and/or lazy. Ha! As a kid it was awesome!”

“International Thanksgiving. My family hosts Thanksgiving each year and our tradition has been to host many of my parents’ international students/colleagues. It produced a huge bounty of people and food from different traditions.”

“Yom Kippur Breakfast is always monumental. After 25 hours of fasting on what is considered the holiest day of the Jewish year the piles of salads, bagels, schmear, pickled fish, babka, and cookies is truly overwhelming in the best way.”

“’Pasni’ for the infant. At 6 months of age, the child in the family is introduced to the rice eating ceremony called ‘Pasni.’ Here, there are various religious practices and many relatives join in to the occasion. ‘Pasni’ is a significant day for many families in Nepal.”

Tuesday: Hunger – The Reality of Scarcity

Describe an experience of food insecurity, hunger, or a time of want.

“After I was accepted to nutrition school, I learned that my grandma actually went to college for nutrition in the 1930s! In college, however, she spent all her savings on tuition and couldn’t afford to eat – she lost a lot of weight. In her junior year, she was told that she couldn’t become a nutrition major because she couldn’t care for herself. She was so ashamed by her situation that she never told her supervisor that she was going hungry – and she had to switch careers.”

“My first extended stay from home, I was shocked at how the loss of my dad’s cooking made me feel uneasy. I was in a foreign country, surrounded by their food customs, and couldn’t articulate my wants and needs for white rice, fish, and steamed vegetables. I didn’t want to be impolite but knew that I needed a reminder of home.”

“Hunger observed. I used to believe that if you were really hungry you should be willing to eat anything. Then I began working in a Midwestern food bank. Muslims and Hindus were hungry. Vegans and vegetarians were hungry. Hunger doesn’t distinguish from allergy or disease. Each of these people deserved the dignity of choice.”

Wednesday: Interactions with Inclusion and Otherness

Describe an experience when you were marked as an outsider or insider because of what you did (or didn’t) eat (for dietary, religious, economic, cultural, other reasons).

“Dog food. I have distinct memories of eating Chinese snacks at school and being made fun of or ostracized by other students. I remember one student asking me if I was eating dog food. ‘More for me,’ I’d think.”

“Vegetarian. Back in the 90s when I became a vegetarian it was a lot less popular and common. A very typical response to me was ‘do you really thing you’re making a difference?’ It was pretty irritating to justify my personal choice. Luckily, this no longer happens.”

“My family is Caribbean. I grew up in a part of the West Coast that had very few people of color. I was sometimes embarrassed that my family ate such flavorful and fragrant food that was foreign to my peers. But then I realized that it was part of my identity, and not just some other thing that made me different. I’ve learned to be proud.”

Thursday: Trying Something New

Appreciating and accepting a new experience with food.

“I have a couple friends from Mexico who I’ve spent many a night cooking with. Once they had a bag of crickets with chili spice shipped to them from Mexico. They were eating them like popcorn! I tried a couple with my eyes closed. They were actually quite tasty, but I couldn’t quite get over the idea of eating whole crickets! Chirp, chirp.”

“Wisconsin-themed party/food. Recently, I had a chance to experience Wisconsin-themed food (or food common to Wisconsin). There were a variety of cheese, sausages, sauerkraut, cookies, salad, and drinks. The food was very satisfying.”

“Tea leaves. I recently tried Burmese cuisine for the first time. I was totally open to the new flavors but was a tad reluctant at the thought of a fermented tealeaf salad. Fermented tealeaves? Maybe not for me. But when I tried it I found myself totally enamored with the flavors and textures. I love it!”

Friday: Reflections

What does Foodways mean to you?

“Foodways means recognizing and honoring traditions and experiences of food – one’s food roots. The smell of mom’s kitchen and the garden in grandpa’s yard and the restaurant where we celebrate our family.”

“Food roots, I like that! I think foodways can also be lens by which we can express ourselves, our cultures and traditions, our life experience and worldview. It can include ways in which perceptions of our food experience can weaken or strengthen our sense of self.”

Sarah Chang is a second-year MS/MPH student studying sustainable food policy and health equity. She enjoys crispy rice, slurpy noodles, and long runs on the beachfront path.

Visions for a Just and Equitable Nutrition School

by The Friedman Justice League

This is an exciting time in the history of the Friedman School. Dean Mozaffarian has undertaken a school-wide strategic planning process, open to all levels of the school body. Albeit executed under a tight time frame, staff, faculty, and students are being given the unique opportunity to consider in-depth what makes Friedman great and how we can continue to make it even better.

Stirred by our school’s time of reflection and planning, the Friedman Justice League (FJL) has crafted a vision for justice at the Friedman School. As detailed in our mission statement, we are a student organization that seeks to make our community more diverse and inclusive, and to find ways for the Friedman community to better address issues of discrimination and oppression in its teachings, research, and programs. We convened in November to build a shared vision of a nutrition school that embodies these principles.

Discrimination and oppression are at the root of many food system challenges, domestically and globally. The Friedman School must understand these vital issues and provide leadership as they pertain to nutrition and food systems. Methodical action will help Friedman progress as an institution at the cutting edge of research and in the training of future leaders. To this aim, justice, equity, diversity, and cultural appreciation should be central to the school’s strategic planning process. In addition, long-term growth will require personal reflection, open dialogue, sustained action, and inclusive community building. We are pleased to present the results of our conversation and look forward to working together with the entire Friedman community to advance this vision.

Investment in and commitment to justice. Real change requires investment and commitment from all levels of leadership. Progress will rely on transparent and open dialogue that encourages all voices to be heard. Financial investment will also be integral to support these goals, including prioritizing equity and diversity education and training, accessing resources for effective diverse recruitment, and building community partnerships.

Cultural humility and openness. We seek more welcoming social spaces to promote dialogue and community. Recent events at the University of Missouri, Harvard University, Yale University, and others illustrate that racism is still present in higher education. We implore our own institution to take an active role in being anti-racist, starting with the humble acknowledgement that there is still work to be done. To build an open and inclusive environment within the Friedman campus, all students, faculty, and administrators must be trained in cultural competency, cultural humility, and social equity. Proper training will position us as better practitioners and representatives of the field of nutrition in our current and future work.

A diverse student body, faculty, and administration. Our working definition of diversity encompasses race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, ability, gender, sexual orientation, age, religious beliefs, and country of origin. To continue being a leader in our field, the Friedman School must be representative of the society we are a part of and work within, both domestically and globally. Institutions across the country are making bold promises around diversity and inclusion, serving as appropriate models from which to learn. For example, Brown University made the commitment to double its proportion of underrepresented minority faculty by 2025 through creation of a new postdoctoral fellowship program and a new young scholars program. It is our expectation that the Friedman School will make a similar commitment to the diversification of our student body, faculty, and administration.

Build justice into our curriculum. We see a gap in the course offerings that are centered on social justice frameworks and diverse cultural perspectives. The FJL diversity sub-committee is working with faculty to enhance teachings on justice in the classroom. We applaud those professors who already address these topics in their courses. We also recognize that this is an ongoing process, through which we hope to see more diverse guest lecturers, additional teaching modules to syllabi on key justice topics, and the inclusion of culture and diversity-related examples or readings to coursework. Changes can take many shapes and forms, but may include:

  • More nuanced race and class analyses
  • Emphasis on food justice and environmental justice
  • Stronger focus on human rights at all levels of the food system
  • More coverage of animal rights and cruelty
  • Emphasis on cultural influences of food and nutrition
  • Greater understanding and acknowledgement of structural racism in the U.S. food system

External partnerships that are diverse, inclusive, and community-oriented. As students and future professionals, we seek more exposure to community-based participatory research methods and projects that involve community interaction. Increased local partnerships would allow us to leverage our institutional strength and work with communities our school directly affects, such as Boston’s Chinatown. For example, Jumbo’s Kitchen partners with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Inc. to educate students at Josiah Quincy Elementary School about basic cooking, nutrition, and health. We look forward to more opportunities to learn from individuals and communities directly so that we may apply our classroom knowledge.

Additional external partnerships could assist with the recruitment of a more diverse student body, staff, and faculty. For example, establishing formal and informal collaborations with state-based undergraduate institutions and strengthening relationships with colleges and universities serving underrepresented minority groups (e.g., Historically Black Colleges and Universities) would assist with these efforts. Fostering relationships with local graduate schools that have well-established enrichment programs with Boston’s middle and high schools (e.g., Harvard School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion) would also be a worthwhile strategy to include underrepresented students in allied health professions such as those within the nutrition field.

FJL is thrilled that the Friedman School is undertaking a school-wide strategic planning process, and several of our members are currently serving on Investigative Working Groups (IWGs) to support this process. We hope that our working vision for justice at Friedman can supplement the school-wide process that continues to make Friedman great. FJL shares many similar goals with the IWGs, such as building upon our external partnerships, improving work-life balance and diversity, increasing the public impact of research from cell to society, improving the educational experience of students, and ultimately creating a cultural shift and transformational change within the Friedman community. We believe FJL adds value to the conversation by ensuring that a justice framework and issues of diversity and inclusion are considered fully. The Friedman School’s progress and continued public impact on nutrition and food in our increasingly diverse nation and globalized world depends on it.

Signed,

Sarah Andrus, MS, FPAN 2016

Madeline Bennett, MS, FPAN 2017

Stacy Blondin, PhD, FPAN 2016

Rebecca Boehm, PhD, AFE 2016

Alison Brown, PhD, FPAN 2017

Sarah Chang, MS/MPH, AFE 2016

Rebecca Harnik, MS, AFE 2016

Sam Hoeffler, MS, AFE 2017

Mehreen Ismail, PhD, FPAN

Caitlin Joseph, MS, AFE 2017

Micaela Karlsen, PhD, NEPI 2017

Kathleen Nay, MS/MA, AFE/UEP 2018

Megan Lehnerd, PhD, AFE

Caitlin Matthews, MS/MA, AFE/UEP 2017

Danielle Ngo, MS/MA, AFE/UEP 2017

Nathaniel Rosenblum MS/MALD, AFE 2016

Rebecca Rottapel, MS/MPH, AFE 2016

John VanderHeide, MS/MA, AFE/UEP 2018

The Friedman Justice League encourages this conversation to continue among the broader Friedman community. We are compiling signatures for this vision, which will be used to contribute to the Friedman School’s strategic planning process. Please add your name if you believe this vision adequately reflects your views and would like to share your support, by December 11: http://tinyurl.com/fjlvisions2015.

Boston’s Chinatown: Fight For Its Life

by Alison Brown and Abigail Harper

With the rapid construction of luxury high-rises amidst the newly built Whole Foods Market, Boston’s historic Chinatown is fighting for its life, according to a recent Boston Globe article.  In the thick of these evolving changes, the Friedman Justice League is making a push for the Friedman School to support local Asian businesses and gain a better appreciation of the culture in which the school is situated.

Ask any student who began taking classes prior to 2012, and they can tell you about the rapid changes that have happened since then. Between the pristine doorman-manned condos developed on Kneeland and Washington to the Whole Foods on Harrison, the changes are well underway and pervading local lifestyle. People often joke that the development of a Whole Foods (aka “Whole Paycheck”) in a once dilapidated neighborhood is a telltale sign of gentrification, and Chinatown will likely follow suit.

2010_Chinatown_Boston_5019274106

By Mike Babiarz

The average annual income for a family in Chinatown is the lowest of any Boston neighborhood at roughly $14,000, and these developments will lead to rising rent prices, pushing out the working immigrant families that have made Chinatown their home. According to Andrew Leong, professor at University of Massachusetts Boston, and evidenced by those well traveled throughout the United States’ urban landscape, this shift follows a national trend: “Working immigrants are being pushed out of downtown neighborhoods close to work and public transportation, while students, doctors, and others move in.”

These most recent developments are not the first to threaten historic Chinatown. When I-93 and the Massachusetts Turnpike initially cut through, roughly 1,200 units of housing were demolished, and the expansion of Tufts University and Tufts Medical Center additionally took over one-third of the land area in Chinatown. As described in the Boston Globe article, however, there is a scramble to preserve the historic Chinatown of Boston. Home to about 4,400 residents, 77% of which are classified as Asian according to the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Boston’s Chinatown is one of the largest in the United States.

Organizations such as Chinatown Land Trust are in the process of trying to buy row houses on Hudson Street to set aside for working class families in an effort to prevent rent spikes and maintain current residents. Boston’s housing chief and director of the Department of Neighborhood Development Sheila Dillon is also in the fight to save row houses in the organization’s commitment to preserve the historic Chinatown neighborhood.

While some could argue the placement of the Tufts Health Science campus does not help stem the tide of gentrification, the Friedman Justice League (FJL) believes Tufts has a role to play in supporting the community it is a part of. Between 1990 and 2010, the percentage of college and post-graduate students taking up residency in Boston has increased from five percent to nearly one quarter.

The FJL is working to include a tour of Chinatown as a permanent component of New Student Orientation, in which incoming Friedman students can be introduced to Chinatown’s rich history and culture and become aware of the local businesses to support. In previous years, the Chinatown tour has been offered through the FJL as an extracurricular activity for students through the Asian Community Development Corporation. Currently, members of the FJL are working with administration to examine the feasibility and student interest of such a tour, which is why your opinion is important!

To provide your input on the idea of the integration of a Chinatown tour into New Student Orientation please complete the brief survey.

The Friedman Justice League is composed of students in both masters and doctoral programs at Friedman.  We seek to make our community more diverse and find ways to allow the Friedman community to better address issues of discrimination and oppression in its teachings, research, and programs.  To find out more, visit our blog.