Who Belongs? EP 4 - Racial Justice Activism in Europe with Emilia Roig

December 12, 2018

Download an MP3 of this interview.

In this episode of Who Belongs?, Sara Grossman interviews Emilia Roig of the Center for Intersectional Justice (CIJ) in Berlin, Germany. Originally from France, Emilia is the founder and director of CIJ, a nonprofit working to combat intersecting forms of structural inequality and discrimination in Europe. CIJ works in three main areas: advocacy, research, and training, ultimately aiming to influence public discourse and policy-making on issues related to intersectional discrimination.

Learn more about CIJ.

Listen to more episodes of Who Belongs? on this page.

Soundtrack Credits:
Intro song: "Traction" by Chad Crouch
Outro song: "Wide Eyes" by Chad Crouch



Sara Grossman: Hello and welcome to this episode of Who Belongs? Produced by UC Berkeley's Haas Institute, Who Belongs? examines issues of inclusion and exclusion in our society through a framework the institute calls Othering and Belonging.

Sara Grossman: My name is Sara Grossman, one of the hosts of Who Belongs? for the last two and a half years, I've been based in Berlin, Germany, where I've been examining issues of social inclusion and exclusion in the European context. Today I'll be sharing some of what I've learned with all of you as I interview Emilia Roig of the Center for Intersectional Justice here in Berlin. Originally from France. Emilia is the founder and director of CIJ. A non-profit working to combat intersecting forms of structural inequality and discrimination in Europe.

Sara Grossman: CIJ works in three main areas, advocacy, research, and training. Ultimately aiming to influence public discourse and policy making on issues related to intersectional discrimination's. Let's hear what Amelia had to say.

Sara Grossman: Could you begin by introducing the Center and how you came about founding it?

Emilia Roig: And so I thank you for having me. The Center was founded in officially in April 2017. And the idea came about in November 2016. I wasn't a job at the time which was supposed to be intersectional. And I realized like my previous jobs as well, that there was always something missing. And that I couldn't find the intersectional perspective anywhere represented in a political way. And so I decided to found the center. And but from the idea to the full result and to think of what's kind of organization I wanted it to be. And I opted for an advocacy, research and training organization.

Emilia Roig: Simply because in Europe, intersectionality has arrived in academic spheres and also I would say of course definitely in social justice movements. But it's always a perspective that people adopt. In a very superficial way because of a lack of full or in depth understanding of what it actually means and how it can be concretely implemented.

Sara Grossman: I wanna to ask you about something that some text I saw on the website. I'm just as background. A lot of our listeners are in the U.S, so I think they would have a lot of questions about the European context and framework. You note on the website that European legal systems are currently blind towards intersectional discrimination. Can you explain what you mean by that and what that looks like tangibly?

Emilia Roig: Yes, absolutely. So for several reasons. The first reason is that discrimination is understood as a solely individual phenomenal. It means that it represents an interaction between person A and person B or person A and group of persons, but it's mostly seen as something that is, for the most part intentional, aware discrimination, composed of behaviors or opinions in what we want to see as in the legal framework is, are the other dimensions of discrimination. Namely the institutional dimension, the structural dimension, and historical dimension.

Emilia Roig: And so that's the first step. And if we don't recognize those dimensions, then it's really difficult to recognize intersectional discrimination in its entirety. When I say that the European systems are blind to intersectionality it's also, because there's for the second part a very crucial category that is missing, namely the category of race. Because Europe is a marked by...in some contexts like the French context or the Belgium context, colorblindness, meaning that race doesn't play a role in society or shouldn't play a role. And so it's basically missing a step and saying that, okay, race is not a valid category. And, or a post-racialism for example, in the German context where the Italian context saying, race used to be the category, it used to be a valid political category, but now it is no longer the case. Because we are over this system. So because World War II ended and with it, then the concept of race became irrelevant. Which of course is misguided, because race of course is a social construct, of course is not a biological reality, but it's still creates implications. And of course, if many of the listeners are in the U.S, they will totally understand what I say. But here in Europe it's really not...There's no consensus on this. People still consider race to be a biological category that we should get rid of, and something that is shameful.

Sara Grossman: I picked up on something that you were saying about how racial categories and racism is viewed in Germany versus in Belgium versus in Italy. Can you speak to those differences or is this a larger European wide phenomenon of the same kind of attitudes?

Emilia Roig: I think it's the larger European wide phenomenon of the different attitudes to take exactly what you said. Because I would say that...I wouldn't say that there are deep differences between those systems. It's just that for example the French system that is marked by colonialism and that doesn't see its direct involvement in the Holocaust I would say, apart from the short Pétain administration, basically what they would say is that, yeah, the French Republic is built on the ideals of equality, fraternity and liberty. And the thing is that this fraternity thing is basically a universalist value that sees any particularisms as threatening to the nation. And so that's the reason why race is seen as a threat to this unity, which is a utopian unity, which is a unity that de facto doesn't exist, because there is discrimination that there is very strong institutional structural discrimination in France based on race and ethnicity and religion. But race being the more general category for all this.

Emilia Roig: And in the German system for example, there will be, I think a recognition at least in academics spheres and in certain spheres of...in certain political spheres that discrimination exists on the basis of migration or culture or religion. But still they see racism as a system. Racism as a historical political economic system. As a remnant from the past that basically stopped existing or stopped creating a social reality after 1945.

Sara Grossman: So you think this is an reaction to going the opposite way that, when Germany was walking towards the Holocaust, this is their reaction is, okay, 'now there is no race, we're all equal,' but in practice people aren't.

Emilia Roig: Exactly and that's the same as in France. That's basically trying to erase differences. But what we try to do as the Center as well is to show that differences in themselves is definitely not the problem. Differences should be embraced. It should be celebrated. They should be valued in society. The problem is not differences. It's the hierarchization of those differences. And this is where there is a massive misunderstanding, because people try to erase them and be like, no, no, no, I don't see you as Black. I don't see Muslims. So for me, everybody is human. We're all human. Of course we all human. But we are different and that's not the problem to be different or that's not that those differences are marked. The problem is that the hierarchy that is attached to the differences, is most of the time overlooked. It's something that is implicit, and people don't really realize that, that's the problem. And not the differences themselves.

Sara Grossman: Something that I've been wondering, being here in Europe, is how Europe's history of colonialism factors into how Europeans view race. In the North American context. We have such a long history of slavery and Jim Crow racism and that framework. The European context is more rooted in colonialism. And I'm wondering, I know that's a really broad question, but how does that factor into current attitudes around migration and race?

Emilia Roig: Well I think the fact that colonial history of European countries was displaced territorially. You know that it didn't happen on European soil makes a massive difference, because it's easier to distance themselves from it. And to see it as something that is from another time and also from another place. And how it frames migration—I know that many times there were still these colonial idea or these colonial images of having colonized peoples still being attracted to the European culture and still wanting to participate in European life. And that's how sometimes European...or that's how sometimes migration from former colonies to Europe is framed.

Emilia Roig: And that's a massive problem because migration has very different routes rather than just the admiration of a European culture, whatever that is basically. It definitely frames the way...European colonialism is basically...It is impossible to think of migration, to speak of migration, to analyze migration or to even like want to tackle it politically without understanding the colonial past. I'm not sure if I understood your question right or if I answered right?

Sara Grossman: No, that's exactly what I was asking. Running off that. I want to turn the conversation towards language and the use of the word intersectionality. And I'm talking about race in general in Europe. Where is that conversation right now in Europe compared to what you see in North America? Is it still in this colorblind, "We don't see race"....I guess my question is, when you're in these ... when you're talking about race in these academic context or these policy context. How do people respond to this word? Is it something that they're comfortable with or is it a deeply uncomfortable conversation?

Emilia Roig: It's a deeply uncomfortable conversation. And it has to do with the fact that they were still very few people of color in those spheres. And I remember when I was writing my dissertation, it was six years ago, seven years ago, at the beginning. And it was very difficult to speak about race and basically I was constantly being delegitimized by my colleagues for seeing things that don't exist. Or for also attaching things to subjective interpretation of my lived reality. And not seeing the structural aspect of it. I would say that things are changing. It's not such a long time, but things have changed and discourse has changed.

Emilia Roig: For example, there was a conference on race and law in the same research center where I wrote my dissertation and I think seven years ago it would have been unthinkable to have that. Progress is happening for sure. What I also see is that from the grassroots point of view, things are changing tremendously as well. There's like a big wave of empowerment and people of color becoming aware of the systems in which them and their parents, grandparents have been embedded for so long without being able to name it.

Emilia Roig: And I think it's something that is really powerful. It happened to me as well, having this lived reality and also knowing my family's history but not really even being able to connect with other people. It's like more of this collective understanding, being able to put your experience in common with other people. It's like, what the Me Too movement did. It's like, okay. I thought it was something that happened to me personally, but there's so many other people living these and is structural issue.

Sara Grossman: Why do you think this is happening now?

Emilia Roig: Well, I think social media-

Sara Grossman: And in terms of race. Talking about race.

Emilia Roig: Well because the situation is worsening, for one. Because we see that, I don't know I mean we could ask ourselves, what's the egg and the hen basically that's the whole question. But I would say that generally the world is changing, so I'm going from a meta understanding of it, but I see that, the world is changing. And there is tremendous resistance to this change. And resistance come from people who or groups of people...generally humanity as a whole basically resisting change because this is what happens. Change is resisted until it's no longer possible to resist, and then change happens.

Emilia Roig: And so as a resistance to it. I don't know if it's because of the rise of, right wing extremism, that grassroots movements have been more active or if it's because grassroots movement, I've become aware of the situation that was also before the rise of the right wing. Still not good that it happened. But I think what helped it, is our communities that were formed on social media. Content that is more easily available than before you don't have to go to a library and read lengthy texts on intersectionality or feminism or racism and post-colonialism. You can all access it online. You have a lot of videos, a lot of material that is accessible to everyone. And I see, for example now younger generations—if you speak to people in their early `20s, like they know all about intersectionality you don't need to explain because they know how to access it.

Emilia Roig: And then there's more...It's easier to connect with each other as well as social media I guess. And because now the issues are also more obvious. In the `90s for example it was...of course racism was there and there was still a lot of institutional structural discrimination towards people of African descent, North and Sub-Saharan, and former colonized countries. But now you have situations where you have police violence, we have murders by the police. You have really maginalization and oppression from communities living in the so called banlieues in France, for example here in Germany refugees...I would say everywhere you see that those race issues are more visible, they're more accessible to us. And so we can have...It's easier to draw a pattern rather than before.

Sara Grossman: Continuing on the topic of language, I'm curious how—maybe you can speak in the German and French framework—how language itself has hindered the conversation. For example, in Germany, there's the phrase somebody "with a migrant background." Which is a pretty all encompassing phrase and I'm wondering if you can first explain what that means to people that are listening. And also talk of other examples or other ways that the conversation has to be shifted in the context of other languages outside of the English realm.

Emilia Roig: Yeah, for sure. First of all, "with a migration background," I think it came from the realization that we needed to name something there...there was something in the country that needed to be named that it was the fact that it was not only white Germans now, but also Turkish families, descendants of Turkish families. Who themselves became German, and we could no longer called them guest workers or Turkish migrants because they were not Turkish migrants. They were Germans or they had lived here for a generation. They were born here, raised here. And so this is why this with a migration background category came to living and it was with the micro census of 2005 that it came to existence. And I think in France, there was a similar attempt to have it, but we didn't have it.

Emilia Roig: It was called [Foreign language 00:16:14] which is like coming or stemming from immigrations a very similar idiom. I would say that yes, it has hindered the conversation tremendously and is extremely hard to speak about racism because we speak about migration. And it was like the 6 Degrees conference that took place some weeks ago, was about migration, and then it was possible to have an entire conversation on migration without bringing up racism. Because that's what happens when you don't use the language. You can shift the debate to another problem basically.

Emilia Roig: And so of course migration is an issue, but it's a racialized issue, because migration is a racialized and a class issue. Because if you have migration from Sweden or from North America, it's no longer a political issue in that sense. And if languages such as French and English are brought to Germany, it's no longer an issue.

Emilia Roig: It's no longer a political issue rather than if it's Arabic and Turkish or Swahili. That's why we lacked a language and it's been very invisiblizing and silencing. I mean it has had those two effects. And so whenever we try to bring it up, then basically either we were pushed back to migration. Oh, but that's more migration issue, or oh no, no that's more a class issue.

Emilia Roig: When it comes to people who already live here and obviously migration is no longer the issue. Then we will hear, no it's not a matter of race at all, and it's unspeakable. So we wouldn't even say "Rasse" auf Deutsch ['Race" in German]. We would just say, yeah, it has to do with "ethnische Herkunft" [ethnic ancestry] or something like that. Then it will be clear that what's told to us is not the way it's a matter of class.

Sara Grossman: Could you explain what you just said for English speakers-

Emilia Roig: Sure...we wouldn't say "Rasse" in German. "Rasse" is race in German. Because this word in German isn't speakable. It's a word that people when you say it, you feel discomfort in people in front of you physically. You feel that their looks, their body language tells you, just don't say that word in a German context. The connotation of the word race is racism. If he's saying race, you basically solidify a racist biology and racist...scientific racism. And that's very reductive to see this way. Because race is way more than this. It's a political category. It's a construct. And so what I'm saying when I say "Rasse" in German is not...I see people grouped in different categories according to their federal type, and most importantly a certain competencies and attributes that are attributed to their race.

Emilia Roig: What I'm saying is, there is a system that has been classifying people according to those constructed political, social, and historical categories. Which at some point in time had a biological grounding. Even if it's no longer the case, it still produces effects. and Colette Guillaumin, a French intellectual, said "Race doesn't exist, but it kills people," or "Race doesn't exist, but racism kills" basically. And that's exactly what it says. We should move beyond this biological understanding of race because we agree that it's not a biological category. It's been proven scientifically that race does not exist. And so that's not our points, but now we cannot say this word in German.

Sara Grossman: And so how do people talk about race?

Emilia Roig: They don't talk about race and that's the problem. They say even the word racism was completely superseded by the word "hostility towards strangers", "Fremdenfiendlichkeit." And this word was supposed to replace racism. But racism is not hostility towards strangers. I mean it is not only this, it's one part of it, it is one materialization of racism or symptom. But racism is a system. If you speak about hostility towards strangers that in order to combat racism or hostility towards strangers, what you need to do is, talk to the hostile people. And tell them, be nice to the strangers.

Emilia Roig: But anti-racism is much more than this, because we need to tackle a structure, a system that is deeply ingrained in our societies, for now than 400 centuries basically with some set backs and it's not something linear. But it has been, like race has played a role since Columbus set foot on the Americas. And then decided, okay, this is now a new continent and since this interaction happened.

Sara Grossman: Knowing that these are the challenges or barriers that you and other advocates have to face in talking to White Germans or White Europeans about race—and I mean that in a sense that they are still the ones that run the most powerful institutions in this continent—what are your tactics? How do you approach changing the language? How do you do that?

Emilia Roig: What we do is that we constantly remind people. Sometimes I will just throw the word out there. I would say "Rasse" and then people would cringe and I would say, "yeah, I saw you." And that's okay because we're not used to it. But when I sit and I try to deconstruct it, so this is what we try to do. We work a lot at the moment, we're at the phase of deconstruction, mostly. In other words what we do, is try to see or to describe racism as a system. And try to emphasize the two, the three other dimensions of racism, institutional, structural, and historical. That have been completely left out of the discourse. And focusing solely on the individual dimension. And I think that's the first step that we need to do. And in terms of categories, we also need to name Whiteness, so that's something that we do. As a system as well and also say, okay, here there's a majority of White people, so this is something that I would say and people are very, very uncomfortable with this. But I think it works.

Sara Grossman: Something that I've personally been wondering here...In the U.S Whiteness can be a lot of "person with French background or Danish background" or whatever. And in Europe there's almost a biological, I'm French, I'm German, and there is a DNA aspect. That it seems to me to have been even harder conversation to create an inclusive society, "of no, this person was a Turkish background is also French." Seems like it even more difficult conversation. I'm wondering one if he found out to be true and two how do you develop the conversation beyond that?

Emilia Roig: Yeah, that's absolutely true, in the sense that whiteness is attached to nationality, very much in Europe and I think it would say it's true for every single country. Even in the UK, even if they are better than France and Germany and Belgium but still. And I think it's changing with the new generations. These more inclusive definition of being French or being Belgian, being German It's still not the case.

Sara Grossman: In what sense?

Emilia Roig: Well that's because the nationality law is different. Here in Germany it's still a touched to lineage. Jus Sangrinis—the law of the blood basically. It's still what is the underlying system for granting nationality or not. It's changing and there have been the man's to this, but still like that, the system attached to national in Germany.

Emilia Roig: Whereas in French and in France and Belgium, if you were boy Jus Soli, So it's the law of the soil, of the territory. Which means that if you were born in France, you're French. So it's the same as in the U.S. In Italy, that's also the same system as in Germany. And so of course it makes it more difficult to attach or basically Jus Sangrinis, so in the blood lineage a system, it's very clear that Whiteness is attached to nationality and in the other systems it's a bit, it's not as obvious. And it's changing very slowly. I'm not saying that it's changing dramatically.

Emilia Roig: I remember the first time that I called myself French was when I left France. Because when I was in France, people constantly ask me all the time, where are you from? So I was very used to saying like...and I don't have like a very easy family history where I can say, oh, I'm from Madagascar or oh, I'm from Kenya, whatever. It's always like having to say...Yeah, I always had to say, "okay, so my dad is Jewish Algerian and my mother is from Martinique." And it's an oversimplification because on both sides it's more than this. And when I studied in London for the first time it I was 20 and then people ask me, "so where are you from?" I was like, "So my dad is Algerian, my mother is from Martinique," And they'll say, "oh, I thought you were French." And I'd be like, "Oh yeah, of course. Actually, yes, I'm French."

Emilia Roig: And it was the first time that I could say I'm French when people asked me where are you from, without being questioned. And it was something very new to me. And I have that in Germany as well when people ask me where you're from and say, yeah, yeah, I'm French. And some people would, of course, say, "Oh yeah, but where you really from?" But it's something that people can hear because, they see that I wasn't born here so...

Sara Grossman: I wanted to ask what are some countries doing well, where do you see progress happening? Where do you see progression happening and what does that look like on the policy level? And trickling down to the society. Because Europe is a really big, diverse continent and there's lots of different things happening around the continent and I'm wondering if you could put that into context for our listeners.

Emilia Roig: Well I would say that everywhere...The political tensions are so strong, that at this point in time it's going to be difficult for me to tell you, oh, we're seeing a lot of progress in that country, because there's a convergence, makes it difficult for a European country, whatever European country to be demarcating itself from the others.

Emilia Roig: That's why I would say currently the situation is not looking good anywhere. Because even though there are some fringes in European governments that see the urgency of anti discrimination, and we'd have quite an elaborate understanding of what it could look like politically. It's not possible to implement it at the time, because the stakes are too high. And the right wing forces prevents any meaningful policies in that regard to be implemented. Quite simply put.

Sara Grossman: What is a meaningful, intersectional policy look like? Can you give a really concrete example?
Emilia Roig: Yeah. It has to be very concrete because it's always very contextual. It has to be attached to various examples like various factors. But I can take the example of, the anti discrimination of women wearing the hijab in Europe, which is a growing issue right now.

Emilia Roig: And defacto there is a more and more a ban for woman with a hijab to work even though it's not necessarily written laws. But there's a discourse in Europe that's in courageous people who are discriminating against a woman with wearing the hijab, or who have prejudices against them to enforce them by not giving them employment. And so an intersectional anti discrimination policy would, take these very specific case, and do some awareness raising campaigns on this. And also try to change the narrative around Muslim woman. And this would mean that it would be a feminist and anti-racist campaign in that regard. Because if you look at the grounds of discrimination of women wearing the hijab and that's at EU level are quite problematic aspect. Because it's not recognized as, either gender discrimination or a racist discrimination or a breach of freedom of religion. Because in the same situation women without a hijab would not be discriminated.

Emilia Roig: And in the same situation Muslim men, let's say, would not be discriminated against. So it's really like the combination of both identities, of both systems I would say, which create their discrimination. And so very concretely yes there are many different things, that can be put in place. But also like an introduction of a band of discrimination, would be something and also specifically on those grounds. But you see the political tensions I was mentioning...because it's unthinkable to have anything like that at the moment.

Emilia Roig: I could think of another example. The gender pay gap on the labor market. Instead of having a single access understanding and policy measures as to it. Meaning we look at a different pay differences between men and women. It would be looking at differences within those categories. So differences between women. Women with a migration background, women from a lower social economic status with lower education levels, et cetera. And then it's easier to see patterns of intersectional discrimination.

Emilia Roig: And then part of it would be to have a system. Because most of these pay differentials between women or among women happen because the care sector remains a dominated by women. Be it paid work or unpaid work. So would mean that we have a holistic understanding of care and will also have an anti patriarchal understanding of care. Meaning that we would need to involve men in the home outside the home as well In this sector.

Sara Grossman: The U.S. Media covered, quite heavily Germany's intake of migrants in 2015, 2016. And it was all very highly lauded, and people were like, wow, great Germany. Now that these migrants are here, is Germany prepared to make them included in the society? Are there structures? Is their willingness there, what are you seeing?

Emilia Roig: It depends on what...I would say, in the mainstream, no. In the mainstream there has been a massive backlash after the intake of refugees. This is how AFD saw the identity for Germany, which is a right wing, very extremist, right wing party. Which came to existence as a response to this basically. And as a resistance to change. Again, I was mentioning this at the beginning. And I will also say that it's quite reflected in the media. There's no...Or at least the dominant discourse in the media there's no ... There's a reluctance to accept this fact. That now those people need to be in included basically. What I see is that there's also a wider movement, and especially in big cities of people who want to welcome and include new comers.

Emilia Roig: And for example, there was a massive demonstration—Unteilbar demo—the "Indivisible" demonstration which drew 200,000 people. I think it was so really massively families, like it was a very mainstream illustration, which was also its strength. And it shows that a lot of people do not agree with this dominant narrative. There are also a lot of initiatives by civil society even by not radical at all, but just like really civil society, quite consensual organizations trying to facilitate the integration in inverted commerce because this is the discourse here or the inclusion of migrants. There is a conversation happening. I think there's the readiness to talk about it. But when it comes to changing the mindsets and changing the social fabric of Germany, I think it's a very difficult task that will take time and also it would need to really find German identity.

Emilia Roig: So redefining a national identity is a very big thing. And currently there are very powerful forces that are against it. They are really fiercely opposed to it. And the country try to smash anything that is not German White Christians. Yeah, that's all I can say.

Sara Grossman: With this rise of these strong right wing movements, what are you seeing movements against these right wing look like? What are at activists doing? Can you talk about the trends there are counter activism pushing back, what are you seeing?

Emilia Roig: So I see as well a very dangerous consensus in German society to not really name AfD by the name. Namely a racist party, because they've entered the Bundestag, the parliament it's really...Now it's as if suddenly this ideology had become part of German democracy. And it has somehow, but democracy has its limits as well. And in the name of freedom of expression, and also because it's very trivializing the actual threat that it represents. There were some networks of new Nazis that were dismantled in the police and in the military, which is like a massive deal if you think of it. That's so dangerous and well, nobody really talked about it. Why? Because the general population, the majority of them is not really concerned by this. It's not a threat for them. And so we still see that, some people find it really bad because they would rather live in an open society, with tolerant people who welcome differences.

Emilia Roig: But if all comes to worse, they're not really affected by it in a very tangible way, like their life is not at stake. That's what I feel more and more that we rely, I mean, people of Color and all the other people because it's not only people of Color, it's people of Color is LGBT particular communities, it's people with disabilities. All of us are at the mercy of the majority solidarity basically. And that's scary if you think of it.

Sara Grossman: Is there anything that you think U.S.-based organizers can learn from organizers working on race issues in Europe and vice versa? Is there some kind of synergy that you see, do you think needs to happen or some kind of learning that should happen for both sides?

Emilia Roig: What I see for me personally is that every time I deal with a racial justice activist or social justice activist, but I would say mostly racial justice activists from the U.S. Is that I'm tremendously inspired by them and I'm like, oh, this is so good to speak to people who know, who have a culture of racial justice. Who have figures of the past to look up to, to inspire them. They have a real historical movement behind them. And here in Europe we don't. We don't have a racial justice movement. So we're basically building it, looking up to the U.S. racial justice movement, getting inspired by them. But still we need to build our own movements. So that's a challenge. And at the same time it means that from me, I need to be at least once a year in contact with, racial justice activists from the U.S. I speak for myself, maybe it's different for other racial justice activists in Europe. I don't know.

Emilia Roig: And also because "intersectionity" comes from the U.S, So it's...They have the theoretical base that exists out there, like the intellectual production around racial justice issues is so massive that all what we know, we got it from the US. And not all what we know about a big part of it, we get it from there. And also from the French West Indies, from formally colonized countries. If I look Aimé Césaire, or Franz Fanon...they are really well known, world renowned decolonial thinkers. And we have our inspiration from them too. But she looked at the situation right now in the French west Indies. There's anything but a social or racial justice. There's no racial justice movement there.

Sara Grossman: Is this what you're trying to do with the Center for Intersectional Justice is create a European racial justice framework.
Emilia Roig: I think it's, I mean it would be very ambitious to say, but maybe I'm going to risk it and say, yes,

Sara Grossman: Risk it. Go for it.

Emilia Roig: I think yes, I think it's creating a framework for racial justice movement that is intersectional, so it's like calling out our feminist sisters and understand what race means. So yeah, it is about that. It is about creating such a movement in such a framework. Let's say.

Sara Grossman: So I know we only have a few minutes left, so is there anything about the Center that you would want to tell people in the U.S or any information that you want people to know?

Emilia Roig: Well, I would say we're dependent on the support of individuals and it's always heartwarming and uplifting for us to have more people following us. It also didn't making donations to us. So if you go on our website, www.intersectionaljustice.org, you will find a donate button.

Emilia Roig: And also like speak...we have ties with the U.S. For example, CCR, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the African American Policy Forum, we are in touch with Black Lives Matter activist with Women's March activists and all of them are intrasectional, because in the racial justice fears in the U.S, you cannot afford to little group to not be intersectional, which isn't the case here.

Sara Grossman: And that wraps up this episode Who Belongs? where we've being talking with Emilia Roig the founder and director of the Center for Intersectional Justice in Berlin. If you enjoyed this interview and want to hear more episodes of Who Belongs? visit us online at haasinstitute.berkeley.edu/whobelongs. You can also find us on social media using our handle at Haas Institute. Thank you for listening.