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Justice for Who? A Conversation for the Just City Assembly at Harvard

  • Harvard Graduate School of Design (map)


“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness,––an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.” – W. E. B DuBois

The second discussion of the Just City Assembly flows from the previous and seeks to determine if our definition and pursuit of justice must be tied to any particular demographic or geography at any particular moment in time. We also want to surface the ways in which we isolate ourselves into singular identities that can often set up a narrative of “winners and losers” and therefore stall the work of change.

What would happen if we recognized our own intersectional identities as a way to find common ground with those whom we perceive to be different. Again, through personal reflections, participants will be asked to critically examine if our pursuit of more just outcomes is “for all” or for specific people and places; how and when do we make the distinction; and can this work avoid deepening marginalization, exclusion and privilege.

“I don’t want to be included. Instead, I want to question who created the standard in the first place.

After a lifetime of embodying difference, I have no desire to be equal. I want to deconstruct the structural power of a system that marked me out as different. I don’t wish to be assimilated into the status quo. I want to be liberated from all the negative assumptions that my characteristics bring. The same onus is not on me to change. Instead it’s the world around me..” 

― Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race