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Viral Justice: How We Grow the World We Want

Ruha Benjamin, African American Studies; Nicole Fleetwood, New York University

Thu, 10/27 · 7:00 pm8:30 pm · Princeton Public Library and Livestream

Labyrinth Books; Princeton Public Library; Department of African American Studies; Humanities Council

Long before the pandemic, Ruha Benjamin was doing groundbreaking research on race, technology, and justice, focusing on big, structural changes. But the twin plagues of COVID-19 and anti-Black police violence inspired her to rethink the importance of small, individual actions. Part memoir, part manifesto, Viral Justice is a sweeping and deeply personal exploration of how we can transform society through the choices we make every day.

Join us at the Library or check back soon for a link to register for the livestream.

Vividly recounting her personal experiences and those of her family, Benjamin shows how seemingly minor decisions and habits could spread virally and have exponentially positive effects. She recounts her father’s premature death, illuminating the devastating impact of the chronic stress of racism, but she also introduces us to community organizers who are fostering mutual aid and collective healing. Through her brother’s experience with the criminal justice system, we see the trauma caused by policing practices and mass imprisonment, but we also witness family members finding strength as they come together to demand justice for their loved ones. And while her own challenges as a young mother reveal the vast inequities of our healthcare system, Benjamin also describes how the support of doulas and midwives can keep Black mothers and babies alive and well.

Born of a stubborn hopefulness, Viral Justice offers a passionate, inspiring, and practical vision of how small changes can add up to large ones, transforming our relationships and communities and helping us build a more just and joyful world.

Ruha Benjamin is an internationally recognized writer, speaker, and professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she is the founding director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab. She is the award-winning author of Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code and editor of Captivating Technology, among many other publications. Nicole Fleetwood Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU. She is a writer, curator, and art critic. Her books are Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration; On Racial Icons: Blackness and the Public Imagination; and Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness.

This event is part of Labyrinth and the Public Library’s joint programming and is cosponsored by Princeton University’s African American Studies Department and Humanities Council.

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