Ricardo Levins Morales

Ricardo Levins Morales

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Unit One/Allen Hall Guest-in-Residence:February 11–16

Ricardo Levins Morales describes himself as a “healer and trickster organizer disguised as an artist.” He was born into the anti-colonial movement in his native Puerto Rico and was drawn into activism in Chicago when his family moved there in 1967. His activism has included support work for the Black Panthers and Young Lords, as well as participating in or acting in solidarity with farmers, environmental, labor, racial justice, and peace movements. He co-founded the Northland Poster Collective, which for thirty years produced posters, t-shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers designed to organize, educate, and motivate. Increasingly he has come to see his art and organizing practices as a means to address individual, collective, and historical trauma. He leads workshops on trauma and resilience and provides training on creative organizing, social justice strategy, and sustainable activism.

All events take place at Allen Hall, 1005 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana. Free parking is available in the parking garage across the street.

Sunday, February 11 

7–8 p.m. Making Prints and Making Tracks: Being a Rebel Artist (South Rec Room)

Ricardo Levins Morales has a lifetime of making art in communities and social movements, starting as an immigrant kid in Chicago in a time of mass protest. Moving, eventually, to Minneapolis, he spent years in an artist collective making art for social change, work that he still carries on from a storefront studio. Come hear about Ricardo’s life and work spanning some of the most important social movements of our time.

Monday, February 12

7 p.m. — A Powerful Medicine: Using Art for Social Change (South Rec Room)
Art is a powerful practice, capable of raising or lowering tensions, making allies, exposing secrets, awakening memories, and changing minds. Using examples from Ricardo Levins Morales’ own art and experience we'll get a taste of how art can affect people’s lives in a multitude of ways.

Tuesday, February 13

7 p.m. — Activist Challenges (when life gives you dilemmas, make dilemmanade) (South Rec Room)
This discussion/training will take on the dilemmas, challenges, and questions that arise in activist work: the tension between urgency and patience or between confrontation and dialog, the complexities of organizing across differences or facing toxic behaviors within activist work. Whatever you're dealing with, chances are good that something like it has happened before. We'll share some real dilemmas and look at ways to address them.

9 p.m. — Tea Time  (guest apartment)

Come hang out and chat with Ricardo 

Wednesday, February 14 

4 p.m. — Tea Time  (guest apartment)


Come hang out and chat with Ricardo 

7 p.m. — Trauma, Resilience and Justice (South Rec Room)

Trauma impacts all of us to varying degrees and in seemingly contradictory ways. It always damages our sense of boundaries and can make us hyper-vigilant (always ready to feel threatened) or hypo-vigilant (never feeling threatened even by real dangers). Trauma can be healed, however, and we will break down some of the ways it can impact our experience of life, and offer strategies we can use to escape its shadow.

Thursday, February 15 

5–7 p.m. — Artist Reception and Talk (University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St, C)

7 p.m. — Hope and Despair (and did I Mention Hope?) (South Rec Room)

Making the world better requires hope. In fact, hope is what allows an animal to leave their burrow each day in search of food. But political polarization, resurgent racism, climate change, and economic uncertainty can make hope a challenge. We'll take a look at where despair comes from, how it acts on us, and how it tricks us into thinking that all is lost. Despair is more of an illness than an emotion, and treating it as such can help us regain a sense of power and possibility.

Friday, February 16 


noon–1 p.m. — Friday Forum (University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St, C)