Bringing Social Justice Conversations Into A Public Forum

A student walking through O’Neill Plaza, the Quad, or Stokes Lawn is likely to have encountered one group of students or another with signs and slogans, trying to raise awareness of issues as diverse as climate change and justice in Palestine. Many of these clubs are relatively small, with a core group of students passionate about the group’s one concern. Last fall, a group of students came together to found the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) in order to create a forum that brings the many disparate social justice concerns into a single conversation.

At a university with a stated commitment to social justice, it is encouraging to see a forum for social justice-oriented groups that often share related concerns. SJC provides a valuable opportunity for the smaller, specific social justice clubs to meet, exchange ideas, and collaborate their efforts. Every other Monday, SJC brings in a speaker from outside the BC campus to share his or her experience with students of a broad variety of concerns. Through both its forum and speaker series, SJC provides a bridge between volunteering, in which so many BC students are engaged, and the discussion of theory and macro-level involvement, which often seems unaddressed outside of PULSE classrooms.

SJC is also effective at mobilizing students and bringing them into larger social justice movements outside the boundaries of Chestnut Hill. Right now, it is coordinating students to participate in the Global Day of Health Rally on the Boston Common. It is significant that SJC assists students in finding occasions to express themselves publicly, because the opportunity for and interest in protest at BC is limited.

Bringing together socially conscious students is a noble pursuit, and it is noteworthy that the SJC has been successful in facilitating dialogue between those students on BC’s campus at a level of important concerns that transcends an individual group’s purview. SJC has unlocked the potential for attracting greater attention and membership to clubs that might otherwise be unable to by connecting the smaller socially-minded groups.

Featured Image by Kin Cheung / AP Photo

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