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Feb 14, 2023

"Maybe the purpose of being here, wherever we are, is to increase the durability and occasions of love among and between peoples." --June Jordan

June Jordan's Legacy of Solidarity & Love

To fulfill a humanities requirement at UC Berkeley, Sriram Shamasunder wandered into, "Poetry for the People," a course conceived and taught by the late poet-activist June Jordan. He had no way of knowing then, what a profound impact Jordan would have on the trajectory of his life. Shamasunder writes," June was both tender and fierce. At first, she was mostly someone I admired at a distance in the classroom. This changed during my last few weeks at UC Berkeley, when we studied Arab and Arab American poetry. A disagreement between Jewish students defending Zionism and those supporting Palestinian liberation grew from a murmur to a rumble over the course of the semester. In one of our last classes, a teaching assistant publicly accused Junein front of a class of 250 to 300of failing to stand up on behalf of Palestinian people. She didnt show up for class the following week. The weekend after, I went over to her house in North Berkeley. She was surprised to see me, but she let me in..." This moving tribute opens a window on June Jordan's remarkable legacy, and the friendship she forged towards the end of her life, with a young doctor just beginning his own journey.

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Do something to increase the love where you are today. For more inspiration, read June Jordan's poem, dedicated to Sriram Shamasunder here, "It's Hard to Keep a Clean Shirt Clean." More ...



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