Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Moving forward...

One of the main objectives of this class has been to give you some ideas for how to apply sociology to your own life. I hope that you will be influenced by our class and at times I hope you will return to this blog to look again at the ideas that we discussed in class. Just like the ringing of the bell, you are constantly changing, growing and developing. There will be times when you experience more development than others and there will be times of your life when you are more open to learning the lessons of our class.

Here is the Desiderata which is a great poem summarizing much of what we learned in class.

Here is the history of the Desiderata which explains the connection to Adlai Stevenson.

Here is the book This Book Is Not Required which we read from during our last lesson:

Finally, I hope that learning about the influence of society on the individual (sociological imagination) has helped you to see how you have been influenced by the world. And hopefully in seeing this, you can really understand who you are, love who you are and be forgiving of yourself. And then, you can begin to nurture the person you want to become and nurture loving relationships in your life. Here is a Ted Talk from Brene Brown that highlights the importance of letting ourselves be vulnerable and this vulnerability allows us to feel both love and pain. But in being open to these emotions, it allows love to grow in us if we have the mindset that we are worthy of love.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Bryan Stevenson and Just Mercy

At NCSS 2016 in Washington DC I had the amazing opportunity to see Mr. Bryan Stevenson speak and to meet him afterwards.

Stevenson is a Harvard Law School graduate who founded the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery Alabama.  From the EJI website, their mission is:
The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
The vulnerable people who Stevenson and the EJI help include low-income, minority, and children.   Stevenson became famous for his book called Just Mercy.  The book details Mr. Stevenson's journey from Law student to founding the EJI and the numerous cases which he has worked on.  It is a very powerful narrative that strongly makes the case that inequality in the United States is persistent among the most vulnerable groups in our society.

For Sociology, the book can be used to teach myriad concepts.  But the book might also be useful in other class like:  government, US history, law, criminal justice.

Here is a teaching guide:  http://www.randomhousebooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/justmercy_studyguidev7_Final.pdf

Here is a review from the New Yorker.

Here is a review from the New York Times.

Here is Mr. Stevenson's Ted Talk.

At NCSS, Mr Stevenson spoke about 5 things that people need to do in order to create change in the world:

1. Be compassionate.
2. Get proximate.
3. Change the narrative.
4.  Stay hopeful.
5.  Be willing to be uncomfortable.

Here is Mr. Stevenson talking about staying hopeful: