The New Podcast from Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice
“The arc of the moral universe is long,” Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. famously told a crowd of marchers on their historic journey from Selma to Montgomery, “but it bends toward justice.” These words, inspired by the 19th century Unitarian minister and abolitionist named Theodore Parker, offered hope to the oppressed during the Civil Rights fight, and have continued to comfort the vulnerable beyond the tragically shortened life of its speaker.
The moral universe that Parker described does not find justice on its own, as if a higher power set the autopilot and took a snooze. The “continual and progressive triumph of the right,” Parker said, is only possible because of humankind’s “instinctive love of justice.”
That instinct is embedded in the work of the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), baked into the mission statement that “the pursuit of social justice is at the heart of the School’s knowledge-building activities.” The research conducted at SP2 is invaluable to advancing knowledge for social impact and is especially important in a policy environment that rejects empiricism and fairness as core, guiding values.
Too often this knowledge fails to reach policymakers, practitioners, and the voting public, all of whom need it to make informed decisions on behalf of their constituents, clients, and themselves.
Bending the Arc, SP2’s new podcast, is the latest effort to bridge that divide. Building on the SP2 Penn Top 10 initiative, Bending the Arc highlights areas in which the moral universe is in need of improvement, and the people taking action to make it happen. Hosted by Postdoctoral Fellow Dan Treglia and produced by Podcast Fellows Emily Berkowitz, Blanca Castro, and Alana Peck, the podcast will combine rigorous research with human experiences to distill jargon and data into comprehensible bites: small enough to be digestible, but rich enough to convey the gravity and complexity of these serious, consequential times.