Panel adreses importance of social justice

“Social justice is about doing what feels right and rectifying what feels wrong. It makes us sleep better at night and gives us long time peace”, said Chingling Wo, an english professor at Sonoma State University, during the Social Justice Without Borders lecture. 

Five professors from different departments gathered together in the Cooperage on Thursday night to enlighten many students and open up on their thoughts on social justice during the closing event on the fifth night of Social Justice Week and UndocuWeek. 

The professors that took part in the lecture were criminal justice professor Napoleon Reyes, Chicano and Latino studies  professor Ron Lopez, and English professors Chingling Wo and Timothy Wandling. 

The many topics that were uncovered during the night included Muslim bans, racial profiling, homelessness and displacement, lower-income families, the ideas of anti-capitalism, and the agreements with the teachings of Karl Marx.  The lecture was delivered using  powerpoint slides, comparisons, pop culture subjects of today such as Ellen DeGeneres, and the Pixar movies, Wall-E and Finding Dory. 

“When you want to learn about social justice, you need to start small,” said Wo. These five professors did not speak in hopes to force students to become activists, but more so encourage smaller acts that can accumulate to eventually contribute to society by making students and the community knowledgeable about the social injustice acts happening throughout our country. 

There were a variety of people in the audience including community members, children, students looking to receive extra credit or an extra unit, and student activists looking for ways to better their community and better their world. 

The Social Justice Week program is put on by the Sociology Social Justice Club. The purpose of the Social Justice Club is to promote social justice and to encourage community involvement and student activism. 

“The main reason I wanted to join the club was because they are in charge of preparing social justice week,” said Liz Aguilar, senior sociology major and treasurer for the club.  “When I joined I was interested in studying social justice and I feel like it’s important for not only sociology majors, but for all students to understand and be aware of the ongoing issues we see in society.”

One of the things discussed during the lecture was the goal of the Sociology Social Justice Club to improve their Social Justice Week. 

“We are looking to get an IRA grant for the next year”, said Peter Philips, sociology professor and Social Justice Club advisor.. “We need to be able to fund coordinators to plan these events and compensate guest speakers like Ralph Nader from Monday night’s event.”

Austin Barcus, a junior sociology major, was one of the students in attendance and was inspired by what the professors had to say. 

“The lecture had a lot of information”, said Barcus. “I got to learn what each of these professors are passionate about when it comes to social activism or social justice.”

“The change starts here,” said Ronald Lopez. “I encourage you to find a way in your community associations, your churches, your social organizations, to do something about it and make a difference.”