College Council (CC) held the University’s first annual Social Justice Week from March 25-29 to raise awareness of social issues such as race, bullying and sexual assault.
As part of Social Justice Week, Tim Wise, an anti-racism speaker, discussed race relations at the 13th annual State of Race address on Wednesday evening in the Cox Hall Ballroom.
While the State of Race address has taken place at Emory for years, CC decided to host an entire week of social justice events in order to explore important issues beyond race, College senior and CC Vice President Stephanie Llanes said.
In order to address such a wide variety of social justice issues, CC reached out to different organizations on campus and asked them to sponsor events, Llanes said. She said the events were well attended, especially State of Race, which sold out in less than a week.
“I hope that the community opens their minds and takes in information that may not have heard before,” Llanes said.
In light of the recent controversy involving “The Dooley Show” as well as University President James W. Wagner’s Emory Magazine column on the Three-Fifths Compromise, Llanes said she feels the Emory community gained more insight into the social problems on campus through the week’s events. She added that she hopes Social Justice Week will show students that their actions have significant consequences in addition to providing them with different perspectives on various issues.
Llanes added that the events mostly attracted open-minded students with a desire to learn more about social justice issues. Due to this year’s success, Social Justice Week will become an annual event, Llanes said.
Kick-off weekend events began Friday, March 22 with a “meet and greet” with members of the anti-bullying organization “Be More Heroic” as well a panel discussion on bullying.
Additionally, members of “Be More Heroic,” including two performers from “The Glee Project,” performed and shared their personal experiences with adversity on Saturday night.
On Monday, the Residence Hall Association (RHA) sandwich drive, which continued throughout the week, began in the Dobbs University Center (DUC) Coke Commons. The events gave students a chance to make sandwiches for charitable organizations around Atlanta.
The Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention brought Jessica Caldas, a print-maker and advocate for survivors of domestic abuse, to speak to the Emory community about sexual violence on Tuesday. Caldas also how her work with survivors of domestic violence influenced her artwork.
Students also had the opportunity yesterday to view the movie “Coexist,” a documentary about life in Rwanda as the country attempts to find healing following the violence of the 1994 genocide.
Yesterday, Project Unspoken, which has produced a series of videos raising awareness about sexual assault, gave a presentation on sexual violence and rape culture.
Students have the opportunity to learn what to say and what not to say to survivors of sexual assault at one of the many advocate training sessions held by the Sexual Assault Peer Advocate (SAPA).
Next year, Llanes said she hopes to reach out to more organizations on campus to involve a greater number of students.
– By Elizabeth Howell