A youth and mental health counselor from Chicago, Ill., joined Upper Iowa University faculty and students in leading the fifth annual Teach-In program on the Fayette campus Monday. In honor of the late civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. the annual UIU Teach-In presentations are dedicated to examining past and ongoing social justice issues.
In addition to serving as a youth counselor for Chicago’s “Becoming a Man” program, Antonio Thomas is a mental health counselor for Chicago Children’s Center for Behavioral Health. Prior to his presentation, “Blurred Lines: It’s More Than a Job,” Thomas noted, “My overall message is two parted. One, all kids, including at risk, just want positive relationships. Two, it takes more than a 9-to-5 job to heal a hurting community.”
Later, S. Mackenzie Glander-Dolo, Ph.D., UIU assistant professor of psychology, shared a brief history of peaceful demonstrations and King’s influence on speaking out on social injustice in a non-violent manner.
“Learning the nature of protest is a skill of responsible citizens. Peaceful protests introduced by Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr are a healthy way to socially express anger and frustration about a system or institution,” said Glander-Dolo, who later had those in attendance participate in a sit-in demonstration.
The remaining Teach-In topics led by UIU faculty and students included “A People’s History of the Civil Rights Movement,” “Martin’s Big Words,” “Garbage Wars: Environmental Justice & Environmental Racism,” and “Moral Courage.”