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So Welcome! I'm Nate Angell from Hypothesis as I'm sure you know by now because you've listened to me too many times at too many different sessions. And I'm super honored today to have with us here some fellow Coloradans. I was actually born and bred in Colorado and it's a state near and dear to my heart and our special speakers today are also Coloradans and so I welcome that.
Just by way of an introduction I want to mention that I first met Professor Manuel Luis Espinosa in Denver. Just when he came to give a very short talk at another event and it was an amazing experience for me because later when I edited that video of his talk and uploaded it to YouTube, I actually was brought to tears by the beauty of what he said, so no pressure!
No pressure today Professor Espinosa, but...No  none at all! ...but I could get kind of emotional and so I'm hoping that comes here today. So with that personal note I just wanted to introduce our guests more formally. So Professor Manuel Luis Espinosa is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Denver and is part of a collaborative effort
called the Right2Learn Dignity Lab there and he and and his co-speaker will be telling us a lot more about that as we move on. And then he's joined today by Frida Silva who is a graduate, actually, of the same institution, University of Colorado Denver, and has also worked extensively with the Right2Learn Dignity Lab and is a Senior Research Associate there.
And so they're going to talk a little bit about the ways that they have used social annotation in order to do their very important work at the Right2Learn Dignity Lab and I don't want to give away the whole story so I'm going to let them do that and to get us started I'm going to pass the baton over to Professor Espinosa. Thank you Nate, I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
Hello everyone i wish i could be there in the same place  with you but we're here in the same virtual place   um i am the the current director of the right  to learn dignity lab and i just feel my heart   tells me to always name everybody who's in the  right to learn dignity lab so you'll have to   bear with me here and we just go by the dignity  lab for short so uh we have tanya soto valenzuela   who is the incoming director come november of  the of the dignity lab which will make me the  
intergalactic ambassador for life and I'll be living aboard the mothership from Parliament we   have mandy wong tamara lungai maria carina sanchez  velasco valencia ciro arles howard diego ulibari   raquel stacy isaac adria padilla chavez lima  ali sharla agnoletti soraya latif taylor smith  
veronique moa katie rhys gonzalez and spencer  childress and together we'll be paid in full   everyone so i'm gonna share my screen here for a  second because i in order to tell the story that   we want to tell today i have to take you back in  time just a bit um to 1953 so this is a document   that i procured from the library of congress and  i was at the library of congress searching for  
um primary documents related to the brown v board  of education case right brown v board of education   one now this particular document is from 1953  the summer of 1953 approximately 78 68 years ago   and so there was something curious that happened  in 1953 brown v board of education number one as   you know it's it's a landmark case here in united  in united in the united states and american  
jurisprudence and what what's happening there is  what's odd that's happening there is that it's not   adjudicated in the first term that it that it  gets presented to the supreme court they have   a period of re-argument right which is something  like again this is a break really from the typical   so there's a re-argument phase in june of 1953 the  case is adjudicated in 1954. now what's happening  
in june 1953 is that the supreme court of the  united states has given homework to the naacp   legal defense fund and the anti-segregation  folks right and and the pro-segregation states   and their homework has to do with the history  intent and meaning of the 14th amendment of   the united states constitution right this is big  so both sides get their scholarly team together  
and the naacp legal defense fund gets howard  j graham one of the preeminent scholars of the   14th amendment in the united states and he is in  charge of marshaling all these forces almost 200   scholars in trying to understand what the 14th  amendment is about right what its intent was and   whether it's whether it's broad reach extends and  touches what happens in public schools at the time  
so now if you see here right that there's there's  um up here up at top right howard j graham   puts together a three-page document on  work to do and here you see just in four   quick sentences what it is that he wants people to  do he wants them to check newspapers biographies   to survey historical material and so on and then  he gets to more specific instructions he says  
take down verbatim any statement concerning  interpretation of law right now that's where it   begins right there's something beautiful  here at work about intellectual craft   right which is where we're going to begin the  today's talk let me take you to the next page   further instructions more detailed search  congressional debates for the 39th congress  
and he wants people to look for these terms civil  rights civil equality social equality then he says   quote exactly again and then there's more material  here related to again this thing that he calls   related terms and he's telling everyone be sure  in all your notes to indicate clearly right here   the full reference what was said the person who  said it where they said it what was said right  
this i think folks like it has to be to my mind at  least you know it should be growing you know uh uh   clearly uh and apparent that  this is like what hypothesis look   look like before hypothesis right but  let me give you the more stark picture   what it really really what really would  look like within the naacp working group that's where all that  information was supposed to go on  
on five by seven note cards right  that's what it was supposed to do   so here at the very top that's the subject school  segregation here to the left the page 708 709   where the source the congressional globe which  is the transcripts of the 89th congress right   and here in brackets and the brackets like this  is how far this is how advanced it is right
it's not even typed in it's penciled in the  brackets right and the brackets are to indicate   who the author was and what on what  and who what when they were speaking   and on what page you could find that  particular reference the four dots   that is paraphrasing anything below these three  stars that's what's that is what's supposed to be   verbatim right so that's what an annotation  looks like in 1953 on five by seven cards  
right now there's another reason that i am  bringing attention to this right here's the   final two sentences in that three-page document  by howard j graham who has this incredible task   again of marshalling all the intellectual force  of the naacp legal defense fund in order to aid   in the re-argument he says these instructions  must be detailed so that there will be no  
likelihood of misunderstanding of notes taken  the brief must be accurate for obvious reasons   right it's the obvious reasons part that i want  to focus on here because what's obvious to them   with is not going to be obvious to future  generations remember i found this document   in in the naacp archives within the  library of congress in the madison library  
and as you're going through them right it's the  smell that hits you the smell of the documents   themselves and then at some point you look up and  i looked at my finger my finger at my fingertips   and it was the yellow dust the yellow dust of  these documents and it is slowly disintegrating   right but here we have something here preserved  for us for the future and that was going to aid us  
the right to learn dignity lab in doing and  creating our own dignity handbook which i'll   talk about here shortly but it's these obvious  reasons that really really has me intrigued   what's obvious to them is not obvious to us but  there's a connection between this way that they   were annotating this intellectual craft and  these obvious reasons which included of course   social advocacy right because what was  at stake well what was at stake for the  
naacp and for the entire country is that if  they lose this case jim crow continues right   racial segregation in the united states continues  to be a legal constitutional way to pursue   the ideal of equality right so that's what was  at stake here for the naacp now i'm going to   stop sharing my screen and say a little bit more  about the our our handbook now again so we copied  
for a few weeks this methodology we knew it  was going to be a long road but it was thorough   right it was thorough so we started it and how did  it work it worked spectacularly well and it was   so slow it was incredibly slow we used to spend  probably the first half hour of our of our dignity   lab meetings just getting people caught up on who  had which which note card and who had the no and  
what people put down on it and trying to refresh  their memories from the from the meeting before   and then i get an email from a very very very good  colleague my dear brother professor remy clear   who says manuela got something for you and  whenever he's told me in the past years that he   has something for me i know it's going to be good  and what did he have for us in 2017 and early 2017   hypothesis hypothesis which becomes for us this  wonderful mediational tool which allows us to do  
everything that the note card did but much quicker  without losing any of the thoroughness without   losing any of our process which is a process that  really values consensus and the values listening   and the values taking our time because we needed  to get it right for what we had in mind we needed   to get it right let me talk to you about what we  had in mind so this dignity handbook right why why  
create one what was the need so in 2017 so this  this clarity right of purpose that we carry around   so confidently today was really fuzzy for us and  i've likened it you know that that early sense of   clarity and purpose that we had i've likened  it to those first images that came back from   the hubble telescope right that they were  they were fascinating but they were fuzzy  
and then and the hubble itself was in need of  corrective vision right was in need of glasses   so what we thought in 2017 was what we were  growing to understand in no small portion to every   member of course of the right to learn dignity lab  makes their valuable contribution sometimes i can   point out the specific contributions that people  make so my research associate my senior research   associate frida silva is one of the people she's  the one who asked profe where is all this going  
right what's the purpose of doing all this work  so for us we knew in 2017 that the education   clause of the colorado constitution was in need  of amendment right so that's that's something that   many people have known what was different in that  room at that time is that we thought the ones to   do it were going to be us it needed to be us right  but before doing that we had to engage in a really  
concentrated in a really extensive period of  study regarding dignity in american jurisprudence   the word the concept the ideal the practice of  dignity in american jurisprudence and just and   thus american public life right so now let me  talk about the handbook figuratively and then   tangibly right so either way the the handbook was  born out of frustration with the way that dignity  
was talked about in american jurisprudence so what  we were noticing is that when it was talked about   it was left undefined or underexplained right here  you have this here you have this graphic graphic   representation this powerful word one of the more  powerful words in the human language and in in   in the language of law and it was being used  more as a finishing chess move a rhetorical chess  
move in order to win an argument but not much  was said in terms of its understanding right   so this thing called dignity which indexes the  inherent quality a very of every human being right   i can't tell you exactly where it's at in the  body but i can tell you though right i can   tell you that it's that it's in every human being  that we carry it around and that it's inalienable  
right that it's inherent in us dignity the  inherent quality and then this contingent   experience and sense the experience and sense do  not have to happen in public life in social life   at all so we had this powerful word that was  going under explained and under defined right   so for us what we needed to do was engage in this  long period of study in order to further our own  
understanding this is about intellectual craft  in order and then so that we can also anticipate   the kinds of ways that we would have to help the  public to understand what it is that we were doing   now one hope was that for that this handbook  would be of use right to parents to teachers   to students to practitioners of the law most  specifically though to us right because in order  
to make an argument that you are going to amend a  constitution there's something implicit there for   us that we had to make really really explicit you  need to know way more than the opposition you need   to know way more about the opposition about than  in regards to the history in regards to the shape   of the co of the concept itself in regards to its  meanings and its functions right now more tangibly  
the handbook the analytic goals of the handbook  were to identify and understand the content   criteria of dignity and its equivalent  expressions now when i say content i'm   talking about the practical guidance it provides  right and when i'm talking about criteria   i'm talking about the reasons that an author  gives within a legal text within a legal document  
as to why they summoned this word forth right so  we needed to understand that here was our hunch   that even if you didn't even if you didn't see the  word that there was something so pervasive and so   powerful about dignity that you'd still be able  to detect the dignity impulse in people's words   right maybe not in the words of the justices maybe  not in the words of judges but certainly in the  
words of the lead plaintiffs in any supreme court  case that has something to do with dignity you'd   be able to understand what it is that provoked  this dignity argument and gave rise to it right   so where did we search we searched in two landmark  cases tennessee versus lane a 2004 supreme court   case dealing with disabled rights the rights of  the disabled this is the terms of the time right  
the rights of the disabled and the obligations of  the government in making sure that those folks had   access to everything that it meant to be a citizen  right and we also had another case lobato versus   colorado a case that had everything to do with the  constitutionality of the public school financing   system in our state now in that case you didn't  find the word dignity at all not in the amicus  
briefs not in the initial complaint not in the  various opinions by the judges but you did find   it right it's equivalent expression in the way  that the lead plaintiffs the students themselves   and their parents and teachers talked about what  it meant what the value of education means to   the human being what the what education means to  the human person that's where you could find it  
so how did we create this this this dignity  handbook which is still in formation it's one   of those things that like it seems to not end  uh you can you can think that you're done being   thorough and then you look around another  month later and you've learned a lot more   well we did it slowly we did it carefully we  did it plottingly and we did it together in   these things that you know that i've come to call  annotation ensembles right so we had two kinds  
of together face to face and online and so when  you're talking about the digital versions of these   cases we're talking about more than 2000 pages  2000 pages that we had to upload to the cloud   and pair with hypothesis so that we can read and  annotate the various complaints amicus briefs   arguments everything right hypothesis as you know  allowed us to read together without being in the  
same place together and even when we were together  hypothesis served as the historian of our thinking   the art the archival sort of you know the archival  custodian of what it is that we were thinking   so let me share my screen again and give you  a quick a quick bird's eye view of all the   annotation that we did okay now here's here's a  a snapshot from a a analytic learning software  
a learning analytics software that was created by  francisco perez called crowd layers and it gives   us a sense right it gives us a kind of a history  of what it is our act our annotation activity was   with respect to these cases and so you'll see  here in this snapshot right that we had 1231   annotations across probably at the time which was  a across the time we were a 12 to 13 member group  
nine participants in the actual activity  of annotating 52 documents 204 threads   113 days excruciating long days right and 118 tags  and then here of course you have this beautiful   stuff that you could also look up the various  threads of the of the consolidations themselves  
now we had a couple phases and and frida will  talk way more about what it is that was happening   in the consolidation and and the consolidation  phases and also the initial phase of annotation so   now these ensembles um you know  if you wanted to understand   what it is that was happening in the dignity  lab you do very well you go very far in studying  
how these ensembles work what did they do  well they read together they wrote together   they talked together they listened right they  collaborated we were what we were trying to do   was become of one mind but a special kind of mind  right a mind that was constituted biologically   a mind that was not necessary to be in total  agreement what was necessary though was to work  
through and identify the points of disagreement  to see if there was some way we could come out   with a working consensus right that process i  think was really really important for us so as   i hand it to frida silva here in a second i want  to prepare you and i want to tell you that that   feel free first of all to take down notes  and ask questions about the following terms  
not limiting not limiting you to only these terms  but these are specialized terms that i think you'd   be you'd be you'd be well served in asking more  about consolidation of course extract which is a   kind of shorthand for an analytic and perspective  perceptive action uh magnify and stencil   so make sure you feel free to ask frida or i  about any of those terms but before i hand it to  
her i just want to i have to make a note that it  seems like to me frida has something on her mind   right and i want to know what it is that she's  thinking of what are you thinking of frida   y'all i'm thinking of a master plan okay so hello  everyone it's so nice to be here with you all   today to talk about um the work that we do my name  is frida i'm one of r2l senior research associates  
and before i dive in and show you what our  annotation process looks like the methods that we   used um i want you guys to imagine real quick so  i want you to all imagine a group of researchers   you can imagine us say we are paleontologists  out somewhere desolate excavating for fossils   but the tools we have inherited  aren't really serving us anymore  
so what do we do we create our own tools our own  processes our own methods collectively to excavate   for our fossils in other words many times how  research is conducted especially in the social   sciences or in the humanities is often confined  to certain methods and processes that aren't   that isn't really getting us to where we want to  be and where we want to explore so what do we do  
in that case we create our own methods and our own  processes that will assist us in better uncovering   the work we wish to do and that is what i will  be talking to you in this portion of the lecture   i will discuss how we constructed and used our  own methods and symbolic and digital tools and   how we used that method and those tools  in our annotation process on hypothesis  
that helped us bridge the intersection of our  intellectual craft with social advocacy advocacy   to create our dignity handbook and as i mentioned  earlier we begin our research for the word dignity   it's content criteria equivalent expression in  the u.s supreme court case lane versus tennessee   and i will be guiding you through our annotation  process in that court case document on hypothesis  
so now i will begin by sharing my screen so um  there are two phases in our annotation process   that we now name consensus and consolidation  both of which had their own symbolic tools   for pinpointing the term dignity what it is and  what it means in the lane versus tennessee case in the first phase we use the extract and  magnify tool this means we extracted the  
term dignity into three parts its content its  criteria and its possible equivalent expressions   so once we extracted and identified dignity in the  document we then magnified the excerpt so to speak   like kind of when you were a kid using a  magnifying glass going through like fine print or   there's something like small right  so we read closely i would make an  
annotation as to what category of dignity in the  document it fell into so once someone identified   in the documents what might stand as content  versus criteria they would make their annotation   and an art and an r2l member would jump in and  would either critique the initial annotation   or would support it and thus gathering consensus  um so now these parts of dignity were not rigid  
as we ourselves in this first annotation phase  we're really trying to understand what constituted   content versus criteria and thus parts did overlap  and because of this in order to help us focus on   the excerpts we were annotating we needed at least  four of our members to weigh in on the initial   annotation and if all members were in support were  in consensus we had agreement over what category  
of dignity the excerpt fell into but let me show  you kind of what this looks like so i know you   are all very familiar with hypothesis um this is  just a screenshot right now that you're seeing um   of lane versus tennessee document it's a writ of  cert sir terrari i don't know how to pronounce   that word real well um but basically it means it  seeks judicial review of a decision of a lower  
court in this case the u.s court of appeals for  the sixth circuit so through these documents we   highlighted the excerpts that communicated  dignity to us and then we annotated them and   one of the annotations that i will show you is  called annotation 8.1 um and it lies in this   document it lies under a section called  title 2 of the ada or sorry the ada  
is beginning to allow persons with disabilities to  participate in public life and a lit and it lives   in a subsection d called public transportation  um so right here um here is an initial   uh an initial annotation my colleague mandy wong  makes um but first like i just want to show you   all this note card right it looks like let me  go back it looks like this note card um and i  
thought that was really um cool the hypothesis  before hypothesis no card um but going back what   here my uh my colleague has highlighted is an  excerpt that reads living independently and with   dignity means opportunity to participate fully in  every activity of daily life in this annotation  
she states bingo she has identified an excerpt  that might be dignity's criteria and content now what you are seeing here is actually  an organized chart of our annotations   um in that specific thread that dr remy collier  actually created and organized for us um so here   is this view so you could better follow this rich  discussion um my colleague and finding partner  
dania valenzuela is actually the first person to  respond to mandy and support the annotation and   because she is the first person person she labels  her annotation with the following hashtag tag   consensus one signifying her support and that she  is the first person to weigh in on the sanitation   um adds his two cents he supports the annotation  and labels his um comment under tag consensus too  
and so forth that's how it kind of goes um and  now i will walk you through this rich discussion   i won't read the full text that we um are full  comments but just certain sections that are worth   mentioning um so we started this annotation  with mandy she has highlighted the excerpt   that she believes falls under content and  criteria dania supports her annotation puts her  
argument forth and states um here in the yellow  section she says the sentence literally says   dignity means opportunity to participate fully  in every activity of daily life which i believe   adds to a definition of dignity put forth  advocates of rights and dignity to the courts   now profe responds to tanya and mandy and says  i add my vote of yes in the near future we will  
have to work out the question of whether full  participation and meaningful participation are   synonymous or interchangeable with dignity  itself so profit agrees but with a twist or   a new angle to consider with these two notions of  full participation and meaningful participation or   full participation yeah meaningful participation  so now my co my colleague arlis howard she's the  
third person to respond and she states i do  feel there is a difference between being able   to meaningfully participate and having full  participation i feel the latter means that   one is able to participate in those things  that are small or looked at as unimportant   like the passage lists farther down going to  movies dinner baseball game et cetera whereas   meaningful participation to me means the ability  to participate in voting core access et cetera  
here arlessa elaborates on professor's  point and she extends the text to make   the distinction between meaningful  participation and participate fully   our colleague raquel isaac is the last person  to annotate and she concludes with this   i don't think that full participation  and meaningful participation are the same   meaningful participation means going to school  and getting a dignified education not just   getting to go to school raquel clarifies on our  list's distinction and beautifully concludes and  
ties this annotation together to be an example  of dignity content not criteria so this right   here this thread that um i just like paraphrase  is the anatomy of an annotation in phase one   and here you see us utilize the digital hypothesis  tool as like a home base for us and for our deep  
thinking our investigating and leveraging the tags  as tools to magnify dignity um in this court case   into either criteria content equivalent expression  and again to um reiterate rafa's point earlier   um the thought process behind these annotations  for many of us was very excruciating and at times   a little bit painful and pinpointing if  the excerpt fell into content or criteria  
and even replying to one another wasn't a process  that we took lightly this rich discussion was a   product of us reading what our colleagues had  you know typed up pondering reading in between   the lines building on top of each other as  demonstrated by you know the switch thread   so that is what phase one annotation process  looks like now i will show you what annotation uh  
phase two looks like so here in this second  phase we really focus on refining our   anderson our own understanding of dignity it's  content criteria and equivalent expression   by consolidating the annotations in the first  phase with a more elaborate symbolic tool   one that we place on top of our annotation  discussions to help us craft more precise  
understanding of dignity and you might ask you  know why why is it a stencil um and the way i like   to think of it it's kind of like those stencils  right um that you buy at walmart or target and you   layer it on top of another sheet of paper  and you use your utensil your pencil   to trace and actually make um drawings precisely  rather than just a free trial you're having  
more precision on something more exact something  more refined so that's why we call it a stencil   and this this stencil helps us be precise in  constructing our um definition of dignity so   moving forward here again this is another  screenshot um of what the second phase looks like   but we will highlight each section again in an  organized chart um just for presenting purposes so  
here this is what the stencil looks like i will  now be walking you through each of these sections   highlighted in light blue still using annotation  8.1 as an example of an annotation from the   first phase that we saw a potential to  be refined through consolidation efforts   this second round review was actually  led by my colleague maria santis velasco   and i will be i will begin with a section called  changes at the top so here with changes we looked  
at the highlighted portion from the consensus  phase and identified if that highlighted portion   needed to be extended or shortened to fully  embody what was being proposed whether the   content criteria or equivalent expression in this  instance compared to what we had in the first   phase so if we kind of look back over here right  here um the phase out uh the highlighted portion  
was this part or that second  highlighted yellow portion it was just   that um but now in the in our second phase we  have the whole section um that was highlighted   so we wanted to extend basically to that  section and that was a change that was made now we have um now we go into primary category  that second section and here we label the excerpt  
by the part of dignity it falls into so in this  case it was dignity content now with the third   section bit summary the text that follows is  actually an abstract of all the discussion   that led up into that point um so here i'm gonna  kind of read a little bit about the excerpt and  
that exit just um trying to explain this but  yeah it's basically all the thread discussion   in annotation 8.1 we are just summarizing what  that discussion really was and how it led us to   identifying how it led to dignity content so this  is what it reads one of the few places where the   word dignity is brought into play in this case  more importantly our group finds meaningful  
participation interlaced into the passage as well  those not explicitly mentioned while we are all in   agreement that fully participating and meaningful  participation are not synonymous it can be   inferred that one implied the other moving on  to the next section definition in this section   maria here defines what dignity category means  given what was discussed and changed and it reads  
this is an example of dignity content not only  for its deliberate use of the word dignity but   also for the examples that it gives as to  how people can have their dignity affirmed   these experiences are just some of the  few ways in which it is possible to feel   a sense of dignity maria now shows us how the  new extended excerpt has now provided us with   greater context that represents dignity content  through the examples of dignity being affirmed  
the next section rational tags the rationale  for tags um the consul the consolidator as tags   adds the tags that are most suited for this  consolidation and provides a rationale for   using them in this consolidation maria chose  dignity content and meaningful participation   and provides a rationale for using them moving on  to the next section dignity content um or sorry  
i'm going to talk sorry i kind of skipped a  portion but i'm going to talk a little bit now   about those tags that she used so she used dignity  content and meaningful participation and this is   a rationale for using them that she states this  annotation merits dignity content tag because it   is an instance in which an explicit definition or  distinguishing characteristic of dignity is commun   communicated the sentence that begins living  independently and with dignity points to the  
importance of everyday activities and the dignity  of the human person additionally this annotation   can be interpreted as an affirmation of the right  of every person to have their humanity recognized   with meaningful participation maria says   we think meaningful participation is implied  with dole when dole says participate fully   we take meaningful participation to mean  unambiguously effective involvement in  
socially vital activities structured by social  relations that are reciprocal and dialogical so   with all that rich context context um this process  as we reflect back helped us develop our dignity   lens as young dignity scholars whereas one might  read the term dignity in a court case document   and sim and consider it simply um like a piece  of rhetoric we are thinking about the power  
of identifying dignity affirmed or in dignity  in these social settings and acting upon that   and as a research collective we have bigger plans  to go beyond discussing dignity in a publication   but seeing where the rubber meets the road and  where our intellectual craft meets social advocacy   and these symbolic and digital tools and this  annotation process that we have created our   catalyst to carry out what lies ahead and seeing  education educational dignity manifest in our  
classrooms and with that um what are you thinking  of i'm thinking of a master plan too for that   right because i want to walk out with a  victory in my hand so if i take you back to   um the brown case right and for the obvious  reasons all of that stuff about the obvious   reasons that howard jay graham writes at  the very bottom of the work to do document  
well again their obvious reasons  were that they could not allow   the pro-segregation states to prevail  with the argument that the 14th amendment   was absolutely powerless in desegregating public  schools right what they had to achieve was to was   to summon forth the knowledge and the history  and the intent of the 14th amendment to make   an argument that the egalitarian imperatives  of that grand amendment came into contact with  
public schools in 19 in the 1950s that's what was  at stake because if they could not achieve that   if they could not successfully answer the  questions that the supreme court put forth   then the rationale is there to continue what to  continue jim crow to continue racial segregation   and again you have who knows how many more  years we would have had of legalized of the uri  
segregation and not just de facto like we have  now in many places right but what what are the   obvious reasons for us the obvious reasons for the  dignity lab are that we're making an argument for   a different world one in which educational dignity  the inherent quality its experience and its sense   is that educational dignity can come to  be seen as something paramount to public  
education right something central something  as part of the language of public education   education for us to call it that  has to help the person discover   and nurture and cultivate their song in life if  it doesn't do that we'll have to call it something   else but we won't call it public education  now our work as intellectual crafts people  
it started to blossom in the annotation  ensembles through hypotheses right but the place   where craft and social advocacy meet for us are  in our weekly meetings we call them amendment   fridays and now we're now we've moved to tuesdays  for the summer that's where all of this gets   focused on in those hour long weekly meetings  in which we are rewriting the education clause  
of the state of colorado right now the most potent  tool that we have is the vision that we've been   able to create in and through this amendment  so again now education folks as you all know   at the federal level at the national level it is  not a fundamental right that is a matter that's   left to the states so every state has something  that they call an education clause that governs  
the way that the state that government provides  public education it is the mandate right now in   colorado we have a rather weak one a rather anemic  one and ineffectual that we've had since 1876   and the prevailing language there is thorough  and uniform now that's what the government of   the state of colorado has to provide its residents  a public a public school system that is thorough  
and uniform right now historically what that is  meant in terms of its provision and especially in   the courts the way that they've interpreted when  we've had challenges to the constitutionality of   the public education system in colorado is that  thorough and uniform exacts the legal minimum   right legal minimum there's physical plant  there are books there are operating funds   but there is nothing to be said about the  learning that happens in schools or the not  
or the not yet learning that happens in schools  and it has it has nothing to do with the actual   outcome of schools now that to us seems like  something like an egregious mistake right   the way that education is thought of in the  current in the current colorado constitution it's   thought of more as a governmental service not as  a govern not as a fundamental right of personhood   something that's necessary for the continuation  of peace justice and equality in our world  
now let me give you a sense of what it is that  we've been able to accomplish now if i look ahead   to november october november we'll be going before  the legislative committee of the state of colorado in order to get the language for this new  amendment certified after a 10-day wait   period begins an intense six-month period of  collecting signatures so that we can amend our   state's charter what is it going to be replaced by  we're trying to supplant the language of thorough  
and uniform which is so so susceptible to narrow  readings and it doesn't really hold up whenever   someone wants to put forth a robust reading right  it's too vague it's too ambiguous let me read you   three sentences out of our current amendment to  give you a sense of what it is that we're doing   so thorough and uniform will be supplanted in part  by the following public schools are sanctuaries  
spaces where the inherent and inalienable  dignity of the human person is in violet   spaces where compassionate guidance abounds  guided by the principles of integrity and equity   the state shall ensure that all public school  students have ongoing and diverse opportunities   to meaningfully participate in their education  as a paramount requisite of education meaningful  
participation fulfills the promise of public  schools as havens for learning and growth   crucibles for inquiry and experimentation  forums for dialogue and dissent that is   what we're doing we're making an argument for a  world that is possible a different kind of world   and it's hard for me to think looking back  on it that we would have been able to do this   without hypothesis hypothesis allowed us to  translate intellectual craft into social advocacy  
why did we have to do that we're on the weak side  we're the small ones in the equation of david and   goliath we're david but we're berninis david if  you look at look up bernini's david it's different   than michelangelo's david michelangelo's david  is making the decision whether he should throw   the rock berninis bernini's david has made  the decision as in and is in the process  
of throwing the rock that is what is made possible  for us that's what the dignity lab is about   that's what hypothesis makes possible and we are  happy to share it with you and if and if we can   to clear up or clarify anything that we have  talked about but that's the sort of world that   we're endeavoring to make right and it's me as  part of this group of young people who are all my  
undergraduates mostly right and a few doc students  now thrown in these people who have given their   lives a portion of their lives for this struggle  for educational dignity that i get to be a part   of that i'm lucky enough that i'm fortunate enough  to be part of so thank you very much thank you all that was so great um manuel and freda thank you  um and uh just because we had those technical  
difficulties at the beginning i want to  keep this going on a little bit longer if   you guys have the time i also know that you  may have something else you need to get to   but if you could stay for an extra 15 minutes  that would be great i did see that somebody had   kind of asked about r2l and what that means and  sure it means it means right to learn but maybe   you could speak a little bit more about what's  behind that sure right to learn right to learn and   really that we took that name from there was a  quotation from a from an essay written by w.e.b  
du bois in the late 1940s and du bois was writing  against the uh the house on un-american activities   right he was it was a critique really of what it  is that was happening in the country at the time   and then he has this paragraph that's that's  almost that's almost you know it's prophetic   right it's mystical and prophetic as du bois as  only du bois can be and he says something like   for five thousand years for five thousand years  we have we have endeavored to protect this right  
that you could lose every other right in the world  but if a country if a people doesn't lose this one   they can find their way again what's that right  the right to learn the right to learn which in   that which in essence is a right to correct our  mistakes a right to become a right to transform ourselves uh that really gives it deeper meaning  and resonance and so um it you mentioned also that  
so many uh students had participated in this and  i think that's the part that that really catches   me with this this project is that it's it's  not only you know such a valuable and necessary   uh public works project a kind of infrastructural  public works project that needs to be done but   it's also you know a learning a learning exercise  or it's not even really exercises in the right  
word because it's not just exercise right it's  actually it's activity it's it's real doing   and i'm curious how many students have um you  mentioned a lot of names uh how many students have   participated in this and is it offered to them as  a sort of formal class within the university of   colorado denver or is it like a almost like  a a whole other thing outside the classroom   well i'll give i'll get part of that  answer and then i'd like frieda to to  
to chime in as to what it's like because she  was you know i was the professor and you know   and she's one of the students that that i that i  asked to be part of the group so um so everything   that comes out of right to learn really um  really flows out of a core course that i created   for the university of colorado denver called  equality rights and education so what that class   is about is it's a history of american public  education through the reading of landmark cases  
so imagine students three months out of high  school reading dred scott right alongside one   another right that's what that class is about and  that's where i that's where i kind of you know   that's sort of hand hand-picked you know uh the  students that i thought like you know that might   be interested in something like r2l like the  dignity lab and what uh a member of the dignity   lab diego ulibari he told me that profe i see what  you were doing you were looking for students with  
that fire that had that spark for this kind of  work and i suppose that's what i was doing yes   so maybe frida can illuminate as well as to her  experience as a student yeah can you guys hear me   yeah indeed okay um yeah i mean it's kind of funny  because um with r2l right you talked a little bit   about how students you know is this just like a  was it just a research thing and then it became  
something else right like i don't even know being  first gen and going through my first year classes   um put office class it the title just sounded  interesting and i didn't even know if it was   part of my um major like uh route i being first  year first and i was like yeah i'm just gonna   choose everything that sounds interesting to me  um and i just stumbled on to what a fist class  
and i think um we have some of those folks  too um where a lot of us aren't even in the   education path um like i study political science  and communications i'm doing branding work now   we have people who are doctors now like  act like health doctors um people who are   lima who is uh she's studying architect right  so people who are not on in the lane of like  
education but somehow found ourselves in what of  his classroom and right me being a freshman i'm   like oh this is awesome i was asked to participate  in a research group my first year you know   i'm going to learn how to write it's going to  get on my resume it's going to look fantastic   you know just thinking about oh this is just  what we do in college right um but then i never  
thought that right i vote i've um i already  graduated like a year ago but a lot of us   are graduated we have left the university and  are still part of this research group that   extends beyond the university  and that is because we just   we've just been so drawn to um studying dignity  and actually creating something apart from  
um just writing academic papers um and  it's gonna take a team effort to really   bring this to the legislation um but yeah  like we have folks who are doctoral students   who are parents who take care of family who have  full-time jobs like a big portion of our research   group already graduated a long time ago but we're  still here um why i don't know what did you do  
it wasn't for the money it wasn't for the wages  no definitely for this plus envisioning um what is   possible when you infuse dignity into education  um well frida it seems like it's maybe kind of   radically transformed your path right a  first-generation college student sounds like   you took a class because the title was  interesting and the next thing you know here  
you are you know giving a keynote at some weird  conference that you never heard of before what   uh how how how has this kind of affected  your life plans has it changed your destiny   um not necessarily are here um what i will say is  r2l is kind of like my second job like i have a  
full-time job and it's like my other full-time  job which i love and what i need in my life um   because sometimes your job can't your full-time  job can be all what you want it to be as far as   your values and what you want to work on r2l fills  that and more and i think the way it has changed   me and my life and my trajectory is that once  you i will what we hope is that once you hear  
about educational dignity you can't unsee it once  you hear it once you see it you can't see it right   now you start thinking about am i demonstrating  this in my classroom am i demonstrating this with   others who i'm educating how are we cultivating  a space a dignified space for student learners   like you like you start having those questions and  once you see it you can't unsee it like it's just  
you start creating these questions and that's what  we hope um people will get out of um us presenting   at these conferences um so it just it's that spark  and it's just something that you know we've never   really considered in educational spaces that's  so great so powerful i certainly have been unable   to unsee it as you say um i'm wondering and maybe  maybe profe you might want to take this one on but  
i'm wondering over the past year you know during  the pandemic we've seen such kind of radical   transformations of educational spaces um and frida  if you wanted to take it first i would be fine too   but i'm wondering uh in what ways the pandemic has  affected your work or this project i mean i'm sure   that it's you know you've maybe haven't been able  to come together face-to-face maybe as much as  
as before but has it changed perspective on on  dignity and education in the project itself or   have certain things come to the surface more than  maybe they had earlier because of the pandemic   sure i think i think it would be difficult for  anyone to say that it that it didn't pass through   right that it didn't pass through the the  the filters of their mind um and it certainly   gave us greater reason it stoked our fires  you know which were already running strong  
um and it helped cement where it is that we were  going but again you know like like you know with   the students that we have and and myself as well  you know i think we lived those kinds of lives   right you know so many of us are first generations  and a number of us are also children of immigrants   right um so these these struggles and these  sorrows have been part of our our lives since  
we were children for many of us um you know but  i certainly i think what what what has happened   in the last year year and a half um i think as  far as nurtured us you know um we have we have   the thing is we had an outlet for that outrage  you know and the outlet was to write and to read   because we know we were doing something with this  long term that the victory in terms of you know  
providing an education for people that is in  harmony with their with the with their inherent   dignity that is what keeps us going that's the  horizon point so that's my perspective on it   yeah i mean the sparked a question to me that i  actually never asked because i'm not in school   after like may 2020 um but i'm curious what  i'll say right it's cemented after this past  
year it definitely cemented that we're in the  right direction this is what we have to do with   many students across the country calling for  their you know curriculum to you know represent   what has traditionally been underrepresented  and i'm curious um like ray for a long time   our institution has been like oh yeah you're  a researcher now that's that's cool what you  
guys are doing not too much money put towards  it um you know a good pat on the back but now   i'm curious after you know the year that we've  been through profe have like your own colleagues   or other educators been like tell me about this  educational dignity you know with a more with a   stronger call to action to create um dignified  spaces to show the underrepresented underserved  
i believe so freda i believe that has happened  there's been a an uptick in that and certainly   our our new chancellor has has made promises  in terms of helping to support the group and   we'll see if both promises are followed through  on that's always the uh that's always the ies   that's the detail that we're always waiting for  um we think we're at the right time we're at the   right time but if you look back in history i  can't remember i can't remember a scholarly  
book that talked about efforts to desegregate or  efforts to promote um you know a broad form of   justice in society in which anybody said that  this was the best time to do so there was old   people that always said that no this is the  inconvenient time economics economics are bad   right or the economic times are good why would  anybody care about this so you're left to think   like when is it when is it ever a good time is it  a good time when we're ready and we're ready now
oh i love it that and maybe that's a great a  great way to stop i i we've taken up a whole   bunch of your time um and i really appreciate that  you are um david with the rock poised to throw   i took a look at that picture um when you brought  it up and i put a link into that shot to it so and   it is a really very different statue isn't it um  david a david of action instead of a david of um  
sort of thinking or something whatever he's doing  there standing there with his rock um i really   appreciate both of you coming here and i'll just  um give you the opportunity to uh wish us uh fond   farewell and anything that you want to leave us  with as we go frida how about we start with you   um thank you all for coming i really appreciate  it i think that's it i think profit has more the right to learn dignity lab thanks you for even  thinking about us and considering us to come talk  
with you all we got all kinds of love in the world  for hypothesis and hypothesis folks so anytime   that you all we can be of use to you please feel  free to call on us and thank you so much thank you you
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