I'm Not Your Gopher: U of M Students Sound Off

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

I’m Not Your Gopher: University of Minnesota Students Sound Off is a project and artistic platform created by diverse U of MN students in the Social Justice Minor (CEHD) at the University of Minnesota to express inequalities, oppression, and violence at the institution.

About the project perspective:

Too often, our University caters to “Gophers” who fit into a collegiate trademark of privilege and colonialism, whilst leaving underrepresented students behind. I’m Not Your Gopher raises the voices and stories of those who do not fit this mold. It is a project for radical and eclectic poetry, spoken word pieces, true stories and rants. It is a project to share the histories and narratives that are repeatedly silenced on our campus. It is a project to share forms of oppression you may have never considered. It is a project to share the dubious side of higher education; not the side centered around mascots, sports and avarice, but on people, lived-experience and mutual learning.

After all, true learning and action is what higher education should be! As the great Paulo Freire noted, “One cannot expect positive results from an educational or political action program which fails to respect the particular view of the world held by the people. Such a program constitutes cultural invasion, good intentions notwithstanding” (1968).

The album title, I’m Not Your Gopher is wordplay, which pays homage to James Baldwin’s unfinished work, Remember This House, made into the 2016 documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro” by Naoul Peck. 

The included curriculum guide includes critical questions to connect dialogue, conscientization (critical awareness of social reality), and decodification (identifying with the album artists allowing critical reflection), with ACTION!

Artists: Lily Briggs, Danielle Cotton, Yadira Damazo Cruz, Baila Elkin, Khadija Hassan, Maleah Martinez, Madison Moore, Atosha Zerbine Rypa, Hallal Tamene, Chloe Wallace, Nate Whittaker, Troy Wildenberg, and John Wilson!

100% of proceeds of this album will be donated to the following organizations chosen by the artists: 

Digital Sales:

CD Sales: limited copies direct from the artists only (list of artists above).

Please note that this project includes a 27-page curriculum guide, CD artwork, and a video (track #14 on the CD is in American Sign Language only).

For more information about this project, contact Nate Whittaker at


"Perspectives" stories are the views and opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect any official position of the University of Minnesota.