Marcus Franklin on Breathing While Black

Marcus Franklin
ACT at MIT

This fall, ACT is co-sponsoring a lecture series as part of MAS.S63 | Black Mobility and Safety in the US I, a new course taught by Ekene Ijeoma, Director of the Poetic Justice Group at the MIT Media Lab.

On Tuesday, September 29, 2020, beginning at 2pm, Marcus Franklin will join the class, and will be responding to the prompt of Breathing While Black.

Marcus Franklin is an environmental advocate, whose research confronts environmental injustice that disproportionately impacts communities of color and low-income communities in the United States. As a former Research and Systems Manager for the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice program, his work centered on strengthening the resilience of communities of color in response to climate change concerns, such as toxic pollution, severe heat and extreme storms. With Lesley Fleischman from the Clean Air Task Force (CATF), he co-authored “Fumes Across the Fence-Line The Health Impacts of Air Pollution from Oil & Gas Facilities on African American Communities” (2017). This report examines the health impacts on breathing while Black for communities who live near polluting oil and gas facilities. Marcus Franklin holds a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from Cornell University.

In this seminar and studio, Ijeoma will guide students to listen, learn, reflect and respond to issues around mobility (physical, mental, socio-economical, political, etc) and safety for Black Americans through words, images, and sounds that reference social science and anti-racist research. Weekly meetings will be organized around public lectures from guests ranging from designers and urban planners to activists and social scientists, and private individual presentations for the group.

Part of a two-semester course, Black Mobility and Safety in the US is organized into two-week topics around living while Black. The first semester (Fall 2020) will include: birthing, breathing, sleeping, eating, and walking; the second: learning, voting, driving, working, and loving. By the end of each semester, students will have the resources and tools to actively listen and respond critically to issues of Black mobility in the context of their own fields and their purposes.

Register for the lecture.