Organizing for Community Power

Sharon Roberson on institutional racism and her invitation to Chancellor Heard’s home

Sharon Roberson shares what she’s most proud of from her time in West Tennessee, explaining how it cultivated greater depth to her critical understanding of institutional racism and the ensuing drive to educate others on the matter.   Full footage of Sharon Roberson’s 2018 oral history interview.

Sharon Roberson on systemic racism: then and now

Sharon Roberson reflects on her witness and personal experience of racism together with our ongoing culture of racism today, highlights the widespread mistrust of Medicaid expansion and Obamacare common among many people (largely due to politically-driven misinformation and propaganda), and harps on the need for a return to civility and basic human decency in politics …

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On the anti-establishment origins of the Coalition and Center for Health Services

Sharon Roberson and Margaret Ecker discuss how Vanderbilt University no longer has a Student Health Coalition or Center for Health Services, in part due to an unspecified anger more characteristic of the 1960s and 1970s student generation, on top of the more often “shiny” and “required” nature of volunteer and/or activist work today.   Full …

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West TN summers and their impact on Sharon Roberson’s career arc

Sharon Roberson shares how her experience with the Center for Health Services informed her professional pursuits, particularly as it relates to combatting the mentality she’d witnessed among many people in West Tennessee–that being the impetus not to “rock the boat” but, rather, accept the status quo.   Full footage of Sharon Roberson’s 2018 oral history …

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Differences between West and East TN core injustices and approach to community organizing

Sharon Roberson describes community organizing work over time and the growing tension that transpired among Vanderbilt students from one summer to the next, particularly in light of apartheid in South Africa and the ongoing domestic fight for civil rights. Many students sought to transition from healthcare to more expansive, basic racial justice issues. Roberson notes …

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Appealing to community leaders, the health fair model, and rights and benefits counseling in West TN

Sharon Roberson describes the student-led approach to community organizing in West Tennessee, such as appealing to established community leaders (namely, ministers from local churches). She also details the health fair model and rights and benefits counseling, both of which were central to their activist work in the region.   Full footage of Sharon Roberson’s 2018 …

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