Peace and Justice Center encourages student voice

Social justice week at Sonoma State University aims to bring awareness to students on campus about many social justice issues happening around us, not just locally but globally. 

The Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County hosted a discussion for students who were interested in learning more about activism within the community and around the county.  

The Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma county is located in Santa Rosa and offers itself as a resource center to inform, support, and reenergize Sonoma County. The center provides a safe meeting place for affiliated groups and social justice, along with sending out weekly emails about events related to peace. They also publish the Sonoma County Peace Press six times a year. 

Shekeyna Black, the center coordinator for the Peace and Justice Center, was pleased with the turnout of the event and said that the younger generation has such an impact now because they “tend to voice their opinions more and stand up for what’s right.” 

Black went around the room and asked students how they are involved, and many students shared their work in the social justice field, bringing a smile to Black’s face. 

The students were seated in a circle, and in the middle of the circle was a stool with a few jars on it. Each jar represented a different social justice issue. A few of the issues that were represented on the jars were military spending, our environment, housing, education, and healthcare. 

Each student was given three pennies and then were asked to place their pennies in a jar that they felt was the most important issue to them. Most of the pennies were placed in the housing jar, healthcare jar, and education jar. 

“The penny activity was super effective,” said Jessica Ndiritu, a senior nursing major. “Having a hands on activity to show what was important to those in the community is a really effective way of getting discussions started.”

 Kimberly Elizondo, a sophomore sociology major, said she attended the event because she is taking a social justice class and found this discussion to be interesting. 

“It’s also a good place to meet people who also have the same interests as you,” said Elizondo. “It was really interesting to see what everyone values.” 

The event ended with students loaded up with different resources, such as the peace press magazine, the vision and mission statement of the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma county, and a card for the north bay rapid response number in case ICE is in the area. But above all, students left with a new understanding of social justice within the community.