Degree Name

MA in Conflict Transformation

First Advisor

Janaki Natarajan

Second Advisor

Ken Williams


Community Is Survival

In New Orleans, all the grandmothers tell the story about the live oaks. Our roots don't grow deep into the swamp, but they grow wide – weaving, growing, and binding together with all of the surrounding trees, so that when the hurricane winds come, we will not fall. Together we can stand up against the strongest Gulf force winds (and the many faces of the Cradle to Prison Pipeline) – pushing, pulling, and leaning on one another when we need – and survive to see another day.

Live oaks also carry the story tradition of being a safe haven for stranded wanderers out in the storm, who without shelter of their own, can find refuge deep within the branches of the live oaks to survive through the dark night of a hurricane. Together we bind our roots and branches together, like the Seven Sisters, and as we build community deep within one another, we also build a structural safe haven for ourselves out on the edges of the community, lost, pushed from the big house, and otherwise alone through the storm. Community is survival.

Together we can weave our collective memories of resistance across our different communities, sharing our oral histories of freedom fighters and traditions of revolt and self-determination. Through this counter narrative we can recognize and name the patterns in the fabric that binds us together.


American Popular Culture | Interdisciplinary Arts and Media | Other Music | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education