Asian American Studies

Civil Discourse and Social Change Awarded $100,000 Grant

July 6, 2020

Civil Discourse and Social Change (CDSC) was awarded a $100,000 California Civil Liberties Public Education Fund grant for 2020-2022. Civil Discourse and Social Change is a CSUN social justice initiative founded in the aftermath of CSUN student mobilizations for undocumented students and against fee hikes and the increasing neoliberalization of the public university during the Great Recession.  Since 2010 CDSC has hosted a course taught by Reverend James Lawson on non-violence and the Civil Rights Movement and organized social justice events across the CSUN campus, including in the last three years a social justice student research conference. To further these social justice initiatives, CDSC co-directors, Professors Jinah Kim (Communication Studies) and Clem Lai (Asian American Studies) worked with grantwriter, Manija Said, and three student interns, Hannah Adams, Jason Quan, and Vivial Ly to submit a grant proposal, entitled "World Remaking: Intergenerational Activism and Transformative Justice," to the California State Library for its Civil Liberties Public Education Fund grant in Spring 2020.


The California Civil Liberties Public Education Fund, (, was funded to increase public awareness about the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II, but more broadly, the grant focuses now on projects that examine the causes of civil rights violations and civil liberties injustices based on national origin, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. CDSC’s “World Remaking” project examines 1) the contemporary intergenerational activism and art of Japanese Americans that uses the incarceration experience to mobilize across racial and ethnic lines against family separation and immigrant detention at the US-Mexico border and in solidarity with Black Lives Matter; and 2) contemporary social justice and civil liberties issues in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities e.g. around detention and deportation, gentrification, vulnerability to the pandemic, and Black Lives.  Given the COVID pandemic, our program will be organized online via Zoom, and our planned events will focus on storytelling, performance, and public dialogue between different generations of Asian American and Pacific Islander and other racialized communities that focus on political mobilization, collective healing, and transformative justice.