Dr. Esmorie Miller is a Lecturer of Criminology for LSBU’s School of Law & Social Sciences. Esmorie’s work focuses on racialised youth in the justice system and how criminal labelling undermines their access to normative opportunities.
To start with, can you let us know what you do and why you’re involved in the event series?
I am a lecturer in criminology. My main area of research is youth justice and I engage with a mix methods approach to investigate concerns about racialized youth in the contemporary YJ system. This includes archival, ethnographic, and survey methods. This event attracted me because it corresponds with a theme that informs my research: youth’s needs go beyond crime and punishment. We should be thinking more clearly about access to resources and opportunities.
Your session is titled: ‘Sustainable Routes to Resource Acquisition for Racialized Youth: Between Love, Rights and Solidarity’. What can we expect from this?
The themes of love, rights and solidarity corresponds with my aim to look beyond crime and punishment, and to consider access to opportunities and resources for youth. Love, rights and solidarity each represent a primary institution through which modern individuals access resources—love concerns the family, rights include institutions like the law, but also education, etc., and solidarity is the wider society. As we know, these are also frameworks wherein some like racialized youth struggle. I take the perspective that these struggles occur because of the punitive approach we take with youth, due to the crime and punishment focus. I am using the love, rights and solidarity framework to help map a path for how we might move past crime and punishment, by reorienting the focus on access to resources and opportunities.
Thinking about the events of this year in light of the pandemic, the Black Live Matter movement & the world’s spotlight on system racism, what advice do you have for our students across the LSBU Group and young people generally?
I came across some pessimism in conversations with students. The main current from students has been the lack of structural change necessary to overcome racial equality. One student asked me what difference I think BLM would make. She listed a number of previous movements, including the Black Panthers and wondered why BLM would find more success. I have a long response that I won’t give here. But I suggested that we do have to keep going, evolving our approaches in the struggle for equality. Angela Davis said is well: Freedom is a Constant Struggle. I believe that an important tool oppression is the pessimism and loss of hope of the oppressed. We need to remember this every time we feel like throwing in the tool.
As well as being a lecturer, you also write poetry! What inspires your work?
Our lives are informed by creativity. I am inspired by the people I have spoken to and places I have been. I find it fascinating to use poetry as one of the ways to document social experiences. I think it helps to contextualize the struggles individuals face within the social structures that individuals negotiate daily. This is part of my thinking that our actions are neither autonomous nor uncanny; they are informed by all that’s around us.
What message would you have for our audience regarding the importance of equality when thinking about sustainability & the climate crisis?
We are all in this together. Let’s all stop being selfish. We can’t all afford to buy underground bunkers or escape to Mars (such as that would be given that the Martian air isn’t breathable). Past generations made some mistakes, thinking about technology and progress instead of sustainability. We know better now, and we are in a position to do better. Let’s work together.
Esmorie’s session will take place at 10am on Friday 15 January 2021 under the day devoted to ‘Equality’.
For more information and to register for this event, which will be delivered online, visit the event page.