Resources on Justice – Diaz Lewis

Open Engagement has invited a group of contributors to make this year’s blog into a timely resource for organizing, moving forward and thinking creatively during particularly unjust times.

In light of our current reality and to align with this year’s conference theme of JUSTICE these blog posts will feature strategies, testimonies, literature, art and instructions as tools for working and living in the world as we know it.

The 2017 blog project, Resources on Justice, will grow over time, be published incrementally and will feature responses from a wide range of participants including activists, writers, thinkers, artists, teachers, arts professionals, community leaders, cultural workers, and more. It is an inclusive and accessible platform to think through the conference theme, introduce dialogues specific to the conference’s host city, as well as instigate ideas that can be applied beyond the context of this conference.

Diaz Lewis – the collaborative duo comprised of Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera and Cara Megan Lewis – create art to prompt social change. After the couple met in 2012, they worked across the divide between Cuba and the U.S. Now based in Los Angeles, their practice as artists and activists is fueled by deconstructing social processes and the symbols and politics behind them. The pair dissect themes such as rhetoric, immigration and property rights from two distinct and often opposing angles. Diaz Lewis were most recently artists-in-residence at the Chicago Cultural Center through the support of the Joyce Foundation. Today on the blog they share with us their Top 5 Resources on Justice.


  1. “Apology of Sócrates” by Plato

When reading the Apology of Socrates one could be led to believe that when Plato developed his famous Allegory of the Cave he was actually describing the struggle of Socrates when he attempted to open the eyes of his greek contemporaries. The Apology gives readers the possibility of understanding the main principles of philosophy and the ideological basis of Western civilization through the eyes of the political struggle of that time and context. With this read one realizes that philosophy, when used right can be as a strong a tool for social change as a riot.

  1. “Before the Law” a parable contained in the novel “The Trial” by Franz Kafka

Before the Law is less of  a short story and more of  a shout for mobilization of the people and the poor. With this paradox Kafka forces us to consider our own societal self-censorship and the chains that keep us oppressed have been locked by ourselves. This is the book that can make you re-think yourself as a political actor for the first time when you are just a teenager. It’s cry for social justice hits you in the heart.

  1. “Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota” Report by Bethany Carson and Eleana Diaz, April 2015.

This report is the most detailed investigation and explanation of the immigration detention system and the business of the For-Profit Prison Industry in the United States.

  1. Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

In this letter King exposes the social context and the ideological walls that made impossible his long deferred dream of Social Justice.

  1. “Un libro levemente odioso,” by Roque Dalton, 1972

This is a book of sarcastic poetry from a revolutionary and politically involved Salvadoran writer who considered Cuba to be his 2nd homeland.